By David White
Our family arrived in Midland in January 1959 from Long Island, New York. My Dad didn’t like the politics of New York and felt Midland would be a better place for he and my mother to raise us five kids. This was a decision that I thanked him for many times in the ensuing years. My older brother Phil, younger sister Nance and I started Alamo Junior High. I was in the 8th grade and turned out to be quite a curiosity to my classmates as they had never before met a “yankee” who talked strange and wore odd cloths. You see, my Mother dressed us boys in slacks and dress shirts. At that time, I did not own a pair of Levi’s. After the novelty wore off things became more normal and I met a boy that would become my life-long best friend, Conrad (Cornbread) Dorsey-Bred for short–and my first heart throb–Bekki Maier.
I have a lot of fond memories of my school years in Midland but none top my cheerleading experience. When it was announced that Lee High School would open my junior year, my older brother Phil decided to try out for cheerleading, not because he wanted to be a cheerleader but rather, he was interested in a girl trying out–Shirley Boyd. I didn’t think much about the tryouts until a week or so before they were to start and Phil called me. He said, Gink (that was my nickname) you have to help me out. I just found out that my grades aren’t good enough to tryout and you need to be Shirley’s partner so I can stay in good with her. Well, Shirley was one of the prettiest girls in school so I agreed. Shirley and I worked on our routines for about two weeks as I remember it. The big day of tryouts came and when it was our turn to perform–no Shirley. I was told she was home sick. Wow, not knowing what else to do, I went out by myself and did the routines. I guess everyone felt sorry for me and I was elected. The team was Nancy Smith/John Wade, Carole Scrivner/Jim Bobbett and Shirley Dorff and me. We worked very hard that summer on routines, flips and jumps with Roy Herkimer from the YMCA. We went to Cheerleading camp competition at SMU in Dallas and won Lee High School its first awards. In fact, I think we were the first lettermen for LHS. I donated my letter to LHS’s 50th Anniversary via my sister-in-law Beth White who was a government teacher there for 45 years. It’s supposed to be in a trophy case there somewhere. I plan on looking for it someday. So, my accidental moment turned out to be a lifetime of great memories and friendships.
That first year at LHS the friends I accumulated along the way included Jack (Jake) Champion, Bob (the Rat) Handley, Billy (W.G.) Godwin, Larry Mitchel, Sammy Squires and of course, Bred. We were all non-conformists and got into quite a bit of trouble. The major event that occurred happened late in the year and caused a massive chain reaction. One afternoon as I left school a friend came up to me and asked me for my Zippo. I assumed he was going to light a cig once we left the school property, but NO. As I handed him my Zippo, he pulled his out of him pocket, put on a pair of leather gloves, and with a Zippo in each hand proceeded to beat the crap out of another classmate. I found out later that the guy was messing with my friend’s girlfriend. Next day I’m called into the Asst. Principles office (Joe Ward) and he references the fight and proceeds to tell me that I either pick new friends or I was off cheerleading. Well, being the smart ass, I was I proceeded to tell him where to go (not smart). At that point he kicked me off cheerleading. When the word got out that I had been kicked off the team a massive walk out occurred in protest. Most of the Senior class and a few Juniors simply left school. Next day I was called into the Principles Office (Leslie Hines) and was accused of orchestrating the walk out and was expelled from school indefinitely (I found out later that it was my older brother Phil that was the orchestrator). When I asked him what that meant he told me that the school didn’t ever have to let me in again. Boy was I scared. Fortunately, it was at the end of the school year and they did let me back in. During that summer the boundaries for LHS and MHS were changed and I went to MSH the next year and graduated. Things happen, friends remain and life goes on. I would not have traded any of this. RIP all those that have passed and the rest of you-be safe–Dave.