December 18th, 1953. Third grade. Lamar Elementary . Age 8. Sammy, do you recognize the little guy in the suit coat ??? Hint: look in the mirror and smile. That’s me with the mussed up hair. We’ve been great friends for a LONG time, Sammy.
Bottom picture is December, 1954. 4th grade, age 9. That’s in my back yard on W Illinois St. My sister Barbara (age 12) is King of the snow mountain. That’s me on the end, and my best friend that year in the middle. Bob Stanley was pretty big even then. He later moved over on A Street, a long bike ride, but we stayed in close touch through 7th grade before drifting apart – even went to a few of each other’s Little League games. Bob was a big time home run hitter, kind of like our own Dr McElligott.
1st Grade, Sam Houston Elementary — Moving to MidlandOctober, 1951. I was happily attending 1st grade at Jefferson Elementary in Casper, Wyoming. My parents informed me that my Father was being transferred by his employer (Atlantic Refining Company) to the “huge” oil town of Midland, Texas. (A current google search reveals that 215 oil companies had offices in Midland at the time) At age 6, about all I understood was that I didn’t want to move. I can remember landing at the Midland/Odessa airport Terminal in that DC3 propeller driven plane – and all I could see was flat and barren and desolate looking. (And little did I imagine that in about 4 or 5 years I would be climbing on the Terminal water tower, scooting through a big drainage pipe under the runway, and hunting jackrabbits in those barren fields.) Casper was green and had a mountain at the edge of town. I was scared. Turned out moving to Midland was one of the best things that ever happened to me.Houses were hard to find then (Midland has always been boom or bust), but my parents found a little 3 bedroom, one bath home at 2605 W. Illinois, about 1 mile West of downtown. They got me and my sister Barbara enrolled at Sam Houston Elementary (Barbara was in the 4th grade, I was in 1st grade). Jesse Barber became my “best friend” and quickly showed me the ropes – ie. how to get out of storytelling time and going outside to the playground.Midland was really growing rapidly at the time, and I had thepleasure of attending 3 different brand new schools during the next 12 years (Lamar Elementary, Alamo Junior High, and then Midland Lee High School my Junior year in 1961). My parents lived in the same house from 1951 until 1969 when I got out of Marine Corps boot camp, then as soon as I finished my leave and headed for my duty station, they retired to Fort Walton Beach, Florida – quite a pleasant change. I bring this up because, even though I lived in the same house my whole time in Midland, I often changed schools and went through the “trauma” of starting over. This too proved to be a good thing.Sam Houston Elementary in the 1st grade, Lamar Elementary in the 2nd and 3rd grade, West Elementary in the 4th grade, and back to Lamar in the 5th and 6th grade. Totally different people at each school, so I got to know people who lived all over town. Again, a good thing. In later years, I came to realize that friends who didn’t move to Midland until they were in Junior High or later didn’t have that wide base of friends and acquaintances like I did.Midland always seemed like the same town to me – wide streets and a “safe” feel. I guess it really helped to grow up with the city as it boomed. The population was a little over 20,000 when I moved there in 1951, and grew to over 60,000 by the time I graduated from Lee High School in 1963.
By Charles Hall Hey Wemus, these pictures might bring back fond memories of us growing up together, playing together since we were about 6 or 7, and NO I don’t still have the face guarded white football helmet with the green stripe. 😂😂. I don’t know where you were on this day, but these were taken in my back yard during the BIG SNOW of December 1954.
I know Randy Hill was your Fraternity Big Brother at Texas Tech. I’m sure you miss him !
Top picture: Randy’s Mother Jane Hill kneeling, my Mother standing, my Sister Barbara kneeling in front of me, Camilla Hill on right end, and me and Randy holding the HUGE snowball (I’m obviously the shorter one 🤪). Bottom photo, the same crew but I guess my Mom was taking the picture.
Scott Rogers looked through his picture file and sent me a copy of this photo, even though I wasn’t in the picture and didn’t make the team until the next year. Thank you, Scott !! If anyone has any other pictures of this era, please send them in.
I got to know most of these guys the next year, and here are some first names and comments where I can. (For frame of reference, Scott Rogers was in the 3rd grade, John Moore and John McElligott in the 4th grade, and Eric Moore in the 6th grade.)
I have been assigned the task of writing about Little League Baseball, and why it was so important to those of us who played, and why it still matters today – well over 60 years later. The only way I know to explain it is to tell the story of my journey – from the perspective of a 10 year old – through trying out, learning, practicing, making life-long friends … and a couple of high spots and low spots. It’s a long story, so I will break it down into a few segments, by age.
Boys of Summer, Little League Baseball – Chapter #2 The Second Year by Charles Hall
As I continue on with Chapter 2 of Little League Baseball, I’m trying to explain what it was like from my point of view … inside of me. And I feel that most of my friends felt almost exactly the same way I did. Some could make it to the “A” Team on natural talent. Some (like me) had to work harder. But we all felt a real sense of “team”!! That meant that you became as good as you could be, and played as hard as you could for your teammates. I emphasize how important it was to all of us. I can think of very few “funny” stories, but it was the most fun time of my entire life.
I’m now heading into my final year in Little League Baseball, age 12, and I easily made the “A” team. My team, the Mac’s (red uniforms), was part of the Western League. The other 3 teams were the Pirates (green), Sheriff’s Posse (gray), and the Sports (blue). The league had some really good up and coming players, such as Dwayne Casbeer, Tommy Casbeer, Lanny Freeman, Bucky Kimble and Terry Schreiner. But I thought our team had a chance to be the best, and for the first time I was really thinking about winning, as opposed to just playing hard and having fun.
It’s now April, 2020. Corona Virus shutdown. I live on a ranch about 10 miles outside of Kerrville, TX. My wife and I may live out in the sticks, but we have paved roads all the way back to our home site – about 280 homes on 3000 acres. It’s really nice and peaceful. I just finished mowing the yard, then pressure washed all our decks – in the hopes that someday soon we would be able to resume our great social life with friends here on the ranch and have some visitors. So I sit down on my front porch, about 150 feet from the road to relax for a little while. My mind took me back to peaceful times growing up in Midland, Tx. I started thinking about the blog book to which a bunch of us were contributing stories. Suddenly my daydreaming came to an abrupt end.
I can remember the joy of finally getting my drivers license. I really enjoyed my Cushman Eagle motor scooter, but I was ready to move on to a car. Several of my friends were a few months older than me, and got cars sooner than I did – so I learned “cruising” early on. (Think about the movie American Graffiti with Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss etc. 1958 Chevy Impala, 1956 T-Bird, 32 Deuce Coupe. Driving a certain loop for hours, stopping at the hang outs for cokes and cheeseburgers and french fries. Seeing all your friends and meeting new ones.)