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Thursday, July 30, 2009

1947 SLHS Year Book

This is the first Sugar Land High School Gator. The school took pictures of students, teachers, groups, and activities before 1947, but they never collected them in a bound year book until 1947.

1947 Sugar Land Gator

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

San Jacinto Inn

I don't know if anyone else watches the program 'Postcards from Texas' on Channel 55 here in Houston. They have some good stories. Here's one about the San Jacinto Inn. It was a real treat when I got to go there on family outings.

Channel 55 TV Clip About the San Jacinto Inn

Lakeview PTA Follies, early 1960s

I wish I had the exact date on this. It's sometime between 1962 and '64. I think Janice Jenkins Girard (DHS '68) gave me these images. Regardless, I have a video of the dress rehearsal. Bill Little filmed it with his Super 8 movie camera. I've lent it to the City. When it comes back, I'll post it here. Meanwhile, you have the program.

I remember seeing the production in the old auditorium.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Couple of Old TV Beer Ads

Does anyone else remember these beer ads? I do. I think Hamm's was a late-comer to our market. It seems like I first saw these ads in the early 1960s. Lone Star, Falstaff, Schlitz, and Jax owned the market back in the '50s.

Speaking of Jax Beer, here's a commercial I remember pretty well. Mike Nichols and Elaine May wrote and performed it. They used the same skit for other regional beers. As I recall, they did several different animated commercials for Jax.

Downtown Sugar Land in the 1920s

This photo shows the commercial district in front of the refinery. Highway 90A is on the right. It's not paved yet, so this photo was taken before 1927 or '28, but after 1925 since the Char House is there.

I'm amazed at the number of cars in the picture. Maybe there were a lot of out-of-town shoppers that day!

Sugar Land Elementary School Playground, 1959/60

Linda Hagler Mosk lent me these pictures several years ago. They were taken on the playground in the second circle in front of the gym. Apparently, my 4th grade class went on a field trip that day to the San Jacinto Monument. Linda took several pictures before we got on the buses.

The first one shows Mrs. Drew with (from left to right) Bob Munson, Pat Bowker, and Henry Mendoza.

The next one shows my 4th grade teacher, Rita Drabek. I think that is Yolanda Flores in the background. I can't tell who the boys are way in the background.

The next photo shows Janice Jenkins Girard and Marsha Krause Smith. I think they are flashing an ancient gang sign.

You can see our destination, the San Jacinto Monument with Daniel Stavinoha's back.

Here's another gang: Penny Morton, Joan Maresh Hansen, Kathy Louviere, and Yolanda Flores.

We have a few knuckleheads in this final picture. Who knows what they were up to: Sam McJunkin is choking a smiling Alec Horn, while Mitchell Hall is making an ugly face, and John Frierson chokes himself.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Catfish Caught in Oyster Creek Off Main Street in 1942

Bruce received this picture from Ida Marie Seitz Plokuda. She and her brother are pictured with a large catfish caught in Oyster Creek behind their house on Main Street. I'll bet their father caught it on a trot line or hook and line. If the latter, I'll bet it gave him a terrific fight.

"Tomboy And The Champ" with Jerry Naill (1961)

Well, I found it. I wish I could make it easier to play, but for now, click on the link below, then start the clip. Good stuff.

Video Clip of Premier in Houston

A Modern-Day Fishing Picture

I figured I should post a current fishing picture
. Bruce caught this Bull Red over at Crystal Beach a couple of years ago. I think they caught several this size.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I don't know if any of you have been noodling, but my family is a bunch of noodlers from way back. I'm talking about catching giant catfish by hand. PBS has a great documentary about noodlers in Oklahoma. I thought it was well worth seeing. Noodlers wade in rivers searching for holes in in river banks and river beds, where large catfish hide. You put your bare fist in the hole and wait till the catfish bites it and then wrestle it out of the hole. You've got to have tungsten &%$!#s to fish like that IMHO.

Anyway, the branches of my mother's family (Rachuig & Schulz) that live near the Bosque River in Clifton, Texas have noodled catfish since they moved there in the late 1800s.

The first picture was taken sometime in the 1930s. The man on the far right is my great-grandfather, Julius Herman Rachuig. The other men are his sons, sons-in-law, and brother-in-law. There's another picture of the same group with more fish, so that's not all they caught.

This second picture was taken in the '40s. The third man from the left is my grandfather, Herbert Albert Rachuig. I'm not certain who the others are except for the man on the far right. He's my grandfather's oldest brother, Walter Alfred Rachuig, Sr. My aunt says they filleted these fish, covered them in corn meal, and fried them in a cauldron of oil. She says they were delicious.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Curly Fox & Texas Ruby

I remember watching a local afternoon television show on KPRC back in the mid to late 50s. It was called "Matinee" and Dick Gottlieb was its host. They had local talent, which included Johnny Nash, who was just a teenager at the time.

I recall another pair of artists featured on the show, Curly Fox and Texas Ruby. They had a C&W band. Curly played the fiddle and sang. Ruby sang and played guitar. I found some of their work on YouTube and liked it.

Pat Schiller Bono (DHS '65) told me she and Linda Goerlitz Tamburri (DHS '66) were related to Curly and Ruby. Of course, I never knew that.

I'm going to see if Jerry Naill is on YouTube. (Update: I've found a newsreel clip of the Houston premiere of "Tomboy And The Champ" in 1961. See above.)

KILT Jim Wood Show from 1964

Jim Wood Program, 1964

Actually, this one's better than the Weird Beard IMHO. Jim Wood was a wilder nut job. Very funny to me.

KILT Weird Beard Show from 1965

Weird Beard Radio Program, KILT, June 14, 1965

This clip is about 26 minutes long. Songs are excised from this recording (except for the first and last few seconds of each song). There is an ad for The Pink Panther Teen Club. The Triumphs are scheduled to play. There's plenty of news, commercials, and blather from the Weird Beard.

I think this stuff is very amusing.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sugar Land Junior High Girls Basket Ball Team, 1962/3

This is another photo Linda Hagler Mosk (DHS '68) lent me. I'm not absolutely sure, but I think it's a picture of the 7th grade team in the 1962/3 school year. You see several members of DHS's Class of '68. The coach is Miss Swogetinsky. (Thank you to an anonymous girl in this picture for providing the correct spelling.)

I have one more story involving Coach Hightower, which is relevant to this picture. You see the second girl from the left on the front row. Her name was Julia Sowell. (She left after the 8th grade, so many of you probably don't know her.) You probably can't tell from the picture, but she was very athletic. During the 8th grade she set a school record for the girl's broad jump.

At the school's final Spring Assembly in the gym, Coach Hightower mentioned her accomplishment and asked her to stand for applause. Well, right after he asked her to stand, Tommy Chambers jumped up and took a bow, which brought audible snickers from the crowd. He sat down after he got his laugh, and when the swift arm of the law didn't nab him, he seemed to think he got away with a good stunt.

When the assembly was over and we were piling out the gym door and heading back to class, I could see Coach standing next to the door, eying the crowd very closely. Fortunately, I was toward the back, so I saw him eye-ball Tommy and give him the crooked finger indicating 'come here you little moron.' He had a very black look on his face, and Tommy seemed to gulp a couple of times as he moved over to where Coach Hightower was standing on the gym floor.

I got to the spot where they were standing just in time to see Coach put a very firm grip on Tommy's shoulder and wag the index finger of his free hand in Tommy's face. I heard him say as I walked past them, "Tommy, if you ever stand up for a girl broadjumper again, I'm going to make sure you can't sit down for a week." As far as I know, Tommy never stood up for a girl broadjumper again.

BATTLE BALL!! At Sugar Land Junior High, 1962

There is so much I could say about this picture, or more accurately,
the game of Battle Ball.
It was our favorite PE game by far. This picture shows members of DHS's Class of '67 playing. Frank Tanner is the boy standing almost upright with a ball in his hand. You can see Richard Bunting entering the frame at the right. I can't identify any of the other boys.

A full discussion of Battle Ball should be taken off-line, but I'll repeat something I've mentioned before because it's classic. We played Battle Ball for years, thinking the game was perfect. How in the world could you improve on perfection? Well, one day Coach Allen couldn't teach our 8th Grade PE Class, so Coach Hightower (at that time the school's principal) substituted for him. He asked what we wanted to do, so naturally the near unanimous decision was Battle Ball. He said, "OK, but we're going to add a little twist to the game.

"We'll play the game like you guys have always played it, but after the match is over, the last two guys on each team are going to have a shoot-out. The last two players left on the losing side will go over to that wall and bend over and lean against it with their hands, so their rear ends become targets. The last two players on the winning side will get to throw at them from behind that line (he pointed to a line about 20 feet from the wall). Just to make it more interesting, if either of the two players misses, all four have to exchange places."

That was great! It even involved team strategy. I can't remember how it turned out, but I know we never played by those rules again. What a shame.

Mrs. Brown's First Grade Class, 1956/7

Linda Hagler Mosk lent me this picture of her first grade class. You see Mrs. Brown on the right. She was a well-known tyrant at Sugar Land Elementary for many years. This photo was taken toward the end of her career. You see Mrs. McNeil (her eventual replacement) on the left. I guess Darvin Altenhoff (our principal) knew regime change was necessary.

Mrs. Gary's First Grade Class, 1956/7

This is my first grade class picture. You may recognize several members of Dulles High School's Class of 1968. Of course, we've changed over the years, but people are still recognizable, I think.


Monday, July 6, 2009

1949 SLHS Year Book

Bruce scanned the 1949 Gator, which I've posted here. My mother was a senior at SLHS in 1949. Grades 1 through 12 are represented in the year book, so you'll see the later SLHS classes, but you'll also see the Sugar Land contingent of Dulles High School's first graduating class. They are 1st graders in this year book.

We have the 1947 year book, too. It was the first one for SLHS. We'll post it soon.

1949 Gator Year Book

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Front Doors Of The Palms Theater, 1950s

This photo comes from the Seitz-Plokuda family collection. I can't identify the woman at the door. Notice the Sugar Land Gators sticker on the left of the ticket booth. I can't make out exactly what the sign further to the left says, but it's advertising a contest for some kind of product.

(Update) Bruce has identified the woman as Mickey Wanjura. She worked at The Palms in the 50s.

Sugar Land High School Girls, 1920s

This photo comes from the Brooks family collection. The location is the Lakeview campus (just a few feet east of the auditorium), and the date is the 1920s. I don't think you'd say these girls are 'flappers' by any means, but I think they're pretty stylish for Sugar Land. Wish I knew who they were. (Notice how they've rolled their socks/stockings down to their ankles. Boys did the same thing.)

An update: A popular band of the 1920s, The Ted Weems Orchestra, recorded a song entitled, "Collegiate Love." Here is a portion of the lyrics:

I'm the boy from college!

Rah, rah, rah!
Rah, rah, rah!
Now, I'm the boy from college!
Rah, rah, rah!
Rah, rah, rah!
I make the ladies fall.

You wonder how I do it,
Well, if you only knew it!
There's really nothing to it,
And I'll confess it all.

Get yourself a hunk of tin
To take the girlies riding in,
For that's -- collegiate love!

Let your socks hang on the ground,
The girls will follow you around,
For that's -- collegiate love!

Here's a version of the song on YouTube. It's a direct transcription off an original 78, so you'll have to turn up the volume. (I'm a big fan of The Ted Weems Orchestra.)

Locomotive Heading Through Sugar Land, 1940s

This photo comes from the Dierks family collection. I can't identify the boys, but at least one of them must be a member of the Dierks family. They lived on the south side of Highway 90A, roughly where Frost Bank and Windstream are located. You can see Sugar Land School in the background. Of course, you can't miss the steam locomotive headed east toward Houston. I can't remember ever seeing steam locomotives come through town - this photo was probably taken during WWII. (The boy wearing the cap is giving us his best Hunz Hall impression.)

An Ice Cream Treat Sometine In The Early 50s

I'm not sure of the details about this photo. I think it was taken in the early 50s at the shopping center. If anyone has any info, I'll take it.

(I got a note from BJ Binford Pitts suggesting this photo may come from an Imperial Sugar Company picnic. They used to have them at Kempner Stadium and give kids free ice cream treats.)