Saturday, June 25, 2011


In the fall of 1961, I entered the tenth grade.  Yorktown High School was a former elementary school that had been remodeled and enlarged to create a new high school in Arlington.  Prior to that, all of the kids in my area went to Washington Lee High School.  My two older brothers and a sister graduated from Washington Lee.  My sister, Linda, got caught in the over crowding issue at WL and was bussed to another high school in the county and missed out on the family tradition of attending WL  Yorktown opened as a high school in the fall of 1960 with only tenth and eleventh graders.

Attending a new school without a lot of long standing traditions made is easier to get involved. Several of my friends and I started a new girls after school club, Amici Tri-Hi-Y.  We did service projects and had social events.  Our biggest event of the year was planning a formal dance with attendance open to the student body.  The dance was held at the "Broyhill Mansion"  The Broyhills were a wealthy family in the neighborhood and their daughter, Jane, was in our Tri-Hi-Y.  I think that it was her grandparents that owned Broyhill Mansion.  I remember little about the place other than it was large enough to accommodate 200 teens in a ballroom with a dance band.

Living in suburban Washington D.C., I went to school with the sons and daughters of congressmen, senators, and top government officials. My friend, Norene's father, was the under secretary to the Secretary  of Agriculture, Ezra T. Benson.  I also went to high school with the son of President Kennedy's press secretary, Pierre Salinger.  At Yorktown, our biggest celebrity was David Glenn, the son of the astronaut, John Glenn.  John Glenn was the first American in orbit.  On February 20, 1962, our entire school listened to a radio broadcast of his lift off and the splash down.  I had a study hall when the life off took place and worked as a aide in the office.  I was one of the few kids in school who actually saw the lift off on television.

Even with having the dreaded, Miss McBride, for PE and health,  I had a pretty good school year.  I really liked my English teacher who was a dead ringer for the popular actress, Natalie Wood.  Good times, back in those olden days of high school.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Like most teenage girls, I had my share of crushes on boys. The majority of the boys that I was sure was the one for me were in my ward.  I had little interest in the boys at school.  Unfortunately for me, very few of the boys that I had a crush on returned my adoration.  This was probably partly due to the fact that I didn't go to school with any of the boys and only saw them on Sunday and at youth activities.

Back in my olden days, girls didn't call boys on the phone.  It was totally inappropriate.  There wasn't texting or emails.  If you wanted a boy to notice you, you had to depend on the interaction that you had at church.  So most of the time, you shyly flirted, hoped that the boy would notice you and pined away for him...waiting.

There was Jay, the blue eyed blonde, that ended up with my friend, Norene.  Freddy was a fantastic dancer and I always looked forward to after Mutual dances.  Larry barely knew that I was alive.  I was successful in getting a date with Jimmy.  But that was only because I asked him to be my date for my ninth grade Prom.

I had a real bad crush on a boy named Jan who lived in another ward in our stake.  The only time I ever saw him was at stake activities, generally Cotillion.  Jan played the trombone in a dance band that often played for our Cotillion dances.  So there he was, in the band and I was stuck on the dance floor wishing that he didn't play the trombone.  I asked Jan to be my date for a school dance in the 10th grade.  But my heart was crushed when not long after that my stake was divided and since Jan lived in Maryland, he was in the other stake.  I never saw him again.

My first real boyfriend was a college boy, John.   His family had moved into our ward while he was away at school.  His sister was my good friend.  We dated for several months, broke up for awhile and then got back together just before he went on his mission and I left for BYU.  We agreed that I'd "wait" for him.  But, I ended up sending him a "Dear John" letter.  I'm pretty sure that I broke his heart.

I met Tommy, a non member, at All State Chorus competition.  He attended a neighboring high school.  Tommy had the role of Birdie in his school production of "Bye, Bye, Birdie". It was pretty heady stuff to sit in the audience and watch your boyfriend up on stage. Other girls in the audience were swooning over him.  But I was the one who was dating him.

There were probably other boys that I had crushes on.  But at my age, I'm doing well to remember these fews

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Today when you get on an elevator, all you have to do is push the button for the floor you want and then stand there while the elevator whisks you to your destination.  When the elevator arrives at your floor, the doors automatically open and then close behind you.

Back in the olden days, when you used an elevator, there was an elevator operator, who wore a crisp uniform and sometimes a small hat, sitting inside on a stool.  The elevator operator had to open the door of the elevator and then, cheerily, greeted you and asked "What floor, please?  The operator closed the door behind the passengers, and selected the floor buttons.  Off you went - occasionally laboriously - to your floor.  Upon arrival, the operator opened the elevator doors so that you could exit.

 Today, you get on an express elevator with a bunch of people that you may or may not know.  Everyone stands there, facing forward, and rarely speak to each other.  With doors that close automatically, you also run the risk of being hit by the doors if you don't move quickly enough or are trying help small kids on and off....a kind of unfriendly experience.

I think it's kind of nice to have someone in an elevator to greet you and to make sure that everyone was on/off safely before closing the door.  Back in the olden days, if you took an elevator on a regular basis, you got to know the operator.  So elevator riding became a more personal experience.

Some times things from the olden days are a good thing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


My father didn't do alot of heavy handed discipline when I was growing up.  I may have had a spanking or two, or perhaps a scolding once in awhile. (Yes, parents did spank naughty children back then.)  But I must have really pushed him to his limit when I was about 14 or 15.

I believe that I had been lobbying my mother to do something or go somewhere and she was saying no...even though, she rarely said no. So, what I wanted to do must have been beyond her comfort level.  The discussion must of gone on for awhile and I got a little mouthy.  My dad was in ear shot of all this and warned me that if I talked back to my mother like that again, I'd get my mouth washed out with soap.
I continued and made the mistake of talking back to my mother again.

My father immediately grabbed me and marched me to the bathroom.  With me resisting, he lathered up the green bar of Palmolive soap that was on bathroom sink. Even though I was by now greatly resisting, he managed to get the soap in my mouth and swish it around a few times.  He told me I had been warned.

I got the message.  I don't think I ever talked back to my mother again.  And...I have tried to avoid Palmolive soap in any form. I think that in the end I ended up getting my way...spoiled little girl that I was.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Physical Education was a required class all through junior high.  I had it every day and never really liked it.  It was bad enough that students were required to change from their school clothes into those ridiculous blue rompers and shower in gang showers, but for people like me who are a little athletically challenge, the class was agony.

P.E. instruction included softball, basketball, field hockey, tumbling, track and field events, tennis and probably several more that I can't remember.  I'm not uncoordinated, mind you.  But spending 45 minutes or so a day trying to keep up on a basketball court where most of the girls towered over me, or making my short legs run fast than they were designed to do, or often being one of the last to be picked for a team didn't do much for my self esteem. And then there was Miss McBride, the P.E. teacher.

Miss McBride was a small woman with long blonde hair that she always pulled back in a pony tail.  I can still see her in her P.E. teacher's white uniform with her long, heavy, pony tail hanging down all most to her waist.  I had her for P.E. every day for three years.  She was unrelenting in her demands that her students would happily participate in every aspect of P.E.  She didn't tolerate a student who complained or tried to just get by.  Unfortunately, I was one of those students.

Miss McBride and I seemed to lock horns on more than one occasion through out junior high.  She must have been pretty exasperated with me by ninth grade when after a display on reluctance on my part, she chastied me with "I don't understand your attitude.  Your sister, Linda, would never act this way.". Ouch. I zinged back at her with "I'm sorry to disappoint you. But, I'm not my sister.".  That kind of stopped Miss McBride in her tracks.  But I was never really in her good graces.

In high school, P.E. was still a required class.  I was not happy about that, but felt like I'd have a better experience with another P.E. teacher.  When I got my 10th grade schedule the first day of high school, my P.E. teacher was listed as Miss McBride.  What??  How could this be??  Miss McBride had transferred to my high school. Had she transferred just to make my P.E. life miserable? I was in for at least another year of P.E. class agony.

Some how I made it through the school year of P.E. with Miss McBride.  It wasn't too bad.  But I never really had any enthusiasm for P.E.

Friday, June 3, 2011


The kitchen in the red brick house was basic and serviceable.  I would guess that it was about 10' by 10' - maybe a little bigger.  The only counter space was in an "L" shape with the sink under the window.  The cabinets were white wood with silver colored pulls. The counter top was a gray marbled formica trimmed with a metal trim...what would be called "retro" today.  We've probably all seen this formica on table tops from the 50s.

The refrigerator and stove were freestanding and against the wall on the left as you entered the kitchen from the living room.  The refrigerator was probably an upgrade from what had been in the previous home.  But frost free refrigerators were not the norm back then.  Frost would build up in the freezer section requiring defrosting of the freezer...a tedious task.  The stove was gas. Occasionally, a burner would go out.  Getting it started again required lighting a pilot light.  The oven ALWAYS had to have the pilot light lit before you could use it.  There was also enough room in the kitchen for a table and some chairs. 

After we had lived in the red brick house for awhile, my mother decided that she wanted to give the kitchen a little redo.  She didn't want to rip out the cabinets, replace the counter tops or get new appliances that would be involved in most updates in today's kitchen. Her update request was pretty basic.  She wanted to change the color of the paint.  And the color she wanted was pink.

I remember that there was great discussion about painting the kitchen pink.  My father absolutely didn't want a pink kitchen.  I'm not so sure why it matter that much to him because he didn't really spend any time in the kitchen.  He had to walk through it on his way to the basement or the back yard.  But he didn't spend any time in it preparing meals or cleaning up.  The kitchen was my mother's domain.

Eventually, my mother wore him down and she got her pink kitchen.  But I don't think that my father was very happy about having to put pink paint on the kitchen walls.