Written by Max Berry

Jefferson, Texas 75657

I really enjoy reading the ‘feel-good’ stories on this blog; of people growing up in Midland back in the 50’s and 60’s, and I am envious.  Unfortunately, I did not get to grow up there.  My parents divorced when my biological father returned from the war.   I was 5 years old.  My mother re-married a year or so later.  My step-father was an oil field roughneck, and when the rig moved, we moved.  I had attended 7 different schools in 7 different towns before landing at San Jacinto Junior High in 1955.  I never really got involved in extracurricular activities in high school, because I worked in the afternoons after school to support my real bad habit of putting gasoline in my junked out old Chevrolet.  After high school, I went into the service, and when I got out, I met this cute little school teacher from East Texas.  (Why a sweet Christian girl like her would take a second look at a heathen like me, I’ll never know, but I am sure glad she did. Poor thing – has had to put up with me for 55 years, and counting.)  We got married in 1965, and had one daughter.  (I made sure she went K-12 in the same school district so that she could nurture life-long friends like many of you; and she did.)  I went on to get a mechanical engineering degree, and spent most of the rest of my career in project management and construction in the refineries around Port Arthur and Corpus Christi.

Dubious Claims to High School Fame:

  1. One of several kids in the Class of ’59 that had his Polaroid photo thumb tacked to the office wall of the MISD Truant Officer.
  2. One of several kids in the Class of ’59 that assisted in hauling a commode up onto the roof of the school building, and setting it on the ledge above the main entrance.  (It set there for several days before the school authorities noticed it.)
  3. Only kid in the Class of ’59 that had his driver’s license revoked during his senior year for being handed 13 traffic tickets in twelve months.  (Having to let your sister drive you to school, in your own car, makes you have suicidal thoughts.)

Make sure to visit Part 2 of the story here:


Read Part 1 here:


A friend recently (July, 2020) asked me to elaborate on the three items listed above under DUBIOUS CLAIMS TO HIGH SCHOOL FAME (should be SHAME).  I have done so, and if you want to waste the next five minutes of your life, read on.


In spite of what people may think, I was not a ‘truant.’  I really liked going to school.  I was not any good at it, because I pranked around too much, but I liked the camaraderie, and I liked watching the girls.  But I had a co-worker who was a truant of sorts, and who, by the way, was supposed to graduate with the Class of ’57, but didn’t.  Through no fault of his own (yeah, right!), he ended up on the Truant Officer’s ship list.  One day, after my last class, I was on my way to work.  I saw my friend walking down the hallway, and I asked him where he was going.  He said the Truant Officer (TO) sent a note to his class saying he wanted to see him.  I had nothing better to do for the next thirty minutes, so I went with him.  Come to find out, my friend had missed the previous day of school, and the TO wanted to know why!  My friend said that he had bought a barbecued chicken at a quick-stop store, ate the whole thing, and it had given him a severe case of food poisoning.  So the TO called my friend’s mother to verify his excuse.  She said he had been running at both ends the previous night and most of the next day, but got over it by evening time.  Kind of made the TO mad, that he couldn’t stick it to my friend.  So he looked at me, and asked what I was doing there?  I said, “I don’t know, and I’m leaving.”  He said not until I get your picture and name!  So my photo ended up on the TO’s office wall, and I WAS INNOCENT, TOO!

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