OH, HOW I REMEMBER THE MIDLAND YOUTH CENTER..!!!!

Written by Dennis Grubb

I was a 7th grade student at Alamo Jr.High, and Jay Haney’s son, Steve, and I were very good friends. Jay allowed us to work at the YC in the summer behind the snack bar with the other hired help. Steve made the malts, etc. and I sold and served the cokes, candy, potato chips, etc. I always loved seeing all the pretty MHS girls come into the YC, (as LHS hadn’t been built yet) and I couldn’t wait to get out of Jr. High and go to MHS. My heart always dropped when Lynn Stoltenberg used to come in wearing her cheerleader uniform. She was my fantasy girlfriend and it seemed that every time she arrived, the song “Image Of A Girl” was playing on the old jukebox. What a coincidence? I think Not. (BTW…that song still resonates today). There were others that “stirred my chili”, but Lynn was by far my favorite and was always so nice to me (I promise, she to this day has no idea or would know what an affect she had on me, LOL). We became close friends when I moved back to Midland and I always loved and admired her hubby, Charlie Ray….just a great guy.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend MHS as planned, as I lived two blocks West of Garfield St. on Seaboard St.,(Garfield was the school district dividing line) and ended up going to LHS instead. But, I dated mostly MHS girls, one in particular for several years, Eva Gulbis. (She was a quiet, beautiful and intelligent Slavic girl, who’s family had escaped from Latvia during WW II). ALL of us on the West Side were expecting to go to MHS, but when LHS was built, those thoughts were totally dashed. (CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW HUGE AND STRONG THE ATHLETIC TEAMS WOULD HAVE BEEN HAD LEE HIGH SCHOOL NOT BEEN BUILT?…I COULD SMELL NOTHING BUT STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS IN ALL SPORTS)…that’s how talented Midland’s athletes were at that time!. But, I loved all of my childhood friends who went to various elementary schools and Alamo Jr. High together. Lee High School had plenty of beautiful girls too (the Water in Midland certainly Blessed ALL of our Midland girls, and we boys were so lucky to have them with us in the same town). They are all still beauties to this day!
BUT….The Main Reason I wanted to work at the YC was to watch and learn from the bands that performed there….great groups like The Sparkles, The Classics, The Debonairs, Charlie Hatchett and The Raiders, etc., and even MHS’ own The Cools (who’s members included Dickie Dixon and Jody Givens), and The Chapparrals, (who’s members included Big, Long Tall Sallie Adams, Pete Lair and Kenneth Hancock….FYI..both Pete and Kenneth became members of my first big successful group, The Mystics).  I befriended every member of every group that played there, and to this day, am still very close to those that are still around…Like Sparkles lead guitarist, Stan Smith and the talented Sparkles drummer, Lucky Floyd. Lucky and I see each other often, (as we both live here in Dallas) and on occasion, get together with members of some of the other groups members who live in the DFW area to jam.
At that time in my life I was accepting the fact that I wasn’t going to grow much more in size, so my beloved athletic days were about to become “a thing of the past” (there’s a song there you know,!) and so I took my hobby of playing the guitar seriously and to the next level, I will always give Thanks to all of those musicians I met at the YC who befriend and tutored me along the way. Little did they know that within the next 3 years, I would be in a great band that competed with them head to head, and on into our college years, AND….I FINALLY GOT TO PERFORM AT THE YC ON THAT SAME STAGE NEXT TO THE SNACK BAR! A dream come true!! That accomplishment not only helped my self esteem and purpose in life at the time, but also helped pay my way thru life and college at that time as well. Needless to say, those summers working at the YC Snack Bar were HUGE for me, and even Jay Haney once told me, he was astonished and never realized how important those times there meant to me. I was always grateful for them and him allowing me to do so. Just goes to show……..you never know what’s going to happen in life! So, from there on “I ROCKED”, and the rest as they say, is history!! And I’m here to say…”THERE’S DEFINITELY SOMETHING IN THE WATER”!

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