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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bobby Williams, 1935 - 2010

Most old-timers will have heard that Bobby Williams died suddenly this week. Bobby grew up in the Missouri City area and attended Missouri City schools. He was an outstanding football player for the Mustangs, who were Sugar Land's biggest rival. He played for Rice Institute as it was then called. He eventually coached there too, but before that he was head coach at Dulles High School. He was married to Carolyn McCord Williams, a home-grown Sugar Lander. He and Carolyn made their home in Sugar Land for many years. I last saw him and Carolyn at the Sugar Land High School Reunion in June, 2009. I guess you could say he was a Gator-in-law.

For almost a year now, I've been working on a video documentary on Sugar Land High School football in the Kenneth Hall era. I've collected lots of video interviews of players from that era. They all speak highly of Bobby. The City of Sugar Land interviewed him at Kempner Field on the same topic, and they've graciously lent me their video to use in the documentary. I'll use clips in the final cut, but I thought it appropriate to post the full interview now.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Carmen Willey Exhibit at The Fort Bend Museum

I attended an opening last week of an exhibit of Carmen Willey's work at the Fort Bend Museum. I really enjoyed it. I had never been to the Museum and had never seen Mrs. Willey's work. As you can see from the info in the first image below, she's 92 years old and a long-time resident of the Richmond-Rosenberg area. She still draws and paints. Her work is terrific IMHO - especially her watercolors. In fact, she gave me the two drawings you see below. The first is a pencil sketch of Sugar Land sometime in the 1970s (I think). The second item is a pen-and-ink drawing made from the pencil sketch. I will frame them and hang them in my office. Many thanks to Mrs. Willey for the gifts.

I've provided a link to the Museum's Web site. If you're close to Richmond and want to soak up some local history, visit the Museum which is very near the Court House.

Mrs. Willey has had an interest in local history for many years. In 1964 she was part of a three-person team that filmed local historical sites within Fort Bend County. The film's title is "The Old 300 Trail." It's a little over 16 minutes long and has a narration. Here's a newspaper article covering Mrs. Willey's life & involvement in the film.

The Museum is selling copies for $5.00. If you're interested and want more info, call the "Exhibits & Programs" phone number: (281) 342-6478. I hope the Museum won't mind, but I've posted a very short clip to pique your interest. I chose a short segment showing the Nibbs-Fields
home on the Schumann property west of Sugar Land. Some of you may recall the old red-brick building. Like many things, it's now just a memory.

Link to Fort Bend Museum

Dixie Carl Berger (DHS '65), Virtual Wall of Vietname Veterans Memorial

Diane Broughton Lundell (DHS '65) sent me a note saying she found Dick Berger listed on the Virtual Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Margaret Schumann Keith (DHS '66) sent me a note about him several months ago, but I had trouble confirming his entry because I didn't have his exact name. Anyway, I'm glad we've found him. I had no idea he died in Vietnam.

Here's a link to his entry on the Virtual Wall.

Jerry Naill, Dulles High School's First Pop Star

I posted an earlier entry on "Tomboy and The Champ," a movie whose cast included Jerry Naill (DHS '64). Here's a link to the entry on the movie's debut in 1961.

I found a link to one of the songs he sang in the movie - it was titled "Barbecue Rock." Here's a link to a sample of the song - you may need to click on the mp3 file if it doesn't start automatically. Annette Williamson Wise (DHS '64) has given me her copy of a record (45 rpm) Jerry made in the early '60s. The songs are "Bring My Sweetheart Back To Me" and "My Heart Cries Out." I'll try to get it digitized and posted on this blog.

Jerry is still a recording artist. Here's a link to his blog. This site has a good bio, so I won't spend any time on his background.

Steve Shelton (DHS '63) sent me a note a while back asking if the Dulles Band didn't have a near-miss appearance in "Tomboy and The Champ." He thought there was some location filming in Katy when the band was at the 1960 marching contest. A few band members were filmed (informally) as part of the background, but their 'scenes' were left on the cutting room floor. Do any band members of that era remember this?

(Update) Carolyn Earnest Watson (DHS '66) sent me this note. "
Hi Chuck, I am Carolyn Earnest Watson. I graduated from Dulles in 1966. I think my info concerning Jerry Naill and the filming of the movie in Katy is correct. Jerry was in the 8th grade and I was in the 6th at the time. We were having the UIL competition that day and Paula King and I were entered in Spelling (we brought home the Blue Ribbon!). After our event we all wandered over to the movie filming location. I remember that Jesse White (Cagey Calhoun and also the Maytag Repairman) was there chomping on his big fat cigar. The film director took several shots of the crowd of onlookers walking toward him. I want to say that Jody Frierson actually was seen in the movie. It was quite an exciting day. Hope this helps some. It's nice to know that Jerry is still singing and writing."

Imperial Sugar Television Ads, Late '50s & Early '60s

TracyLocke, located in Dallas, was the advertising agency for Imperial Sugar back in the stone age. I found 6 television commercials they created for Imperial in the late 1950s & early 1960s. I don't remember these commercials. I don't think Houston stations ran many Imperial commercials. The only one I vaguely recall had an animated stick figure (my brother recalls his name was 'Impy') who said "It's quick dissolving!" as he jumped into a glass of iced tea.

A couple of these ads promote Imperial cookbooks. My mother handled their cookbook campaigns in the late '50s & early '60s. The My First Cookbook ad may date from 1959. (There were additional campaigns in the 1960s.) The Aunt Cora's campaign dates from 1963. I remember those campaigns well. You wouldn't believe the volume of requests Imperial received.

Undated Commercial #1

Undated Commercial #2

Undated Commercial #3

Undated Commercial #4

My First Cookbook Commercial

Aunt Cora Cookbook Commercial

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Demolition of the Imperial Sugar Refinery, Sugar Land, Texas 9/14/2010

My brother Bruce took a short video of the demolition of the Imperial refinery, which resumed a few days ago. Notice the activity behind the black pickup truck in the far background.
There are two yellow Caterpillar booms working.

I've included 6 still photos that show a closer (and later) view. (Bruce & his daughter Lauren took them recently.) They may help orient you as you watch the video. Also, check the comments he appended on this blog entry.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Stuart Clarkson, Assistant Football Coach at SLHS

I never knew Stu Clarkson's story until Jon Pitts (DHS '61) told it to me a few years ago. Clarkson died on the sidelines in Hitchcock, Texas as Sugar Land played Hitchcock on October 25th, 1957. I found an account of the story in The Houston Chronicle. It says he was dead on arrival at Alvin Memorial Hospital in Alvin. The last image shows a plaque dedicating the scoreboard at Kempner Stadium in his honor. I never really looked at the plaque although it's been there since October, 1958.

Kempner Scholarship Award, 1959

T.C. Rozelle saved a copy of this speech, which Bob Armstrong gave as he presented a Kempner Scholarship to Miss Charles Ray Foy in 1959. Miss Ford was in the graduating class of M.R. Wood High School.

Notice that Donnie Sampson was awarded the first Prairie View Scholarship in 1957. Bob mentions him in his address.

Blair Construction Company Office, 1954

I got this photo from the Chuzzy Jenkins family scrapbook. It shows a photo from The Texas Coaster announcing the new offices of Blair Construction Company in Sugar Land. The date is May 6, 1954. I'm not exactly sure where the building stood. Maybe someone can refresh my

(Update) My brother Bruce has done some research. He thinks the location may be the southeast corner of Brooks Street & Highway 90A. (That's the old location of the old Texaco station and roughly where the car wash stood until a few years ago.) The house in the background looks like the last one on the east side of Brooks Street after Highway 90A was widened to 4 lanes in 1947. He also found out that the Varnaus lived in that house until 1949. We assume this is Bytherd & Bennie Varnau, Sr.

Mrs. Varnau Gives Dulles HS Homemaking Awards, 1967

I got this photo from Janice & Nancy Jenkins. Their father (Chuzzy) saved it in his scrapbook. (You can see him in the background.) I'm sure many Dulles HS alumnae treasure fond memories of Bytherd Varnau.

Belknap Realty Opens Alkire Lake To Residential Development

How times have changed!

(Update) I got the following note from Marsha Krause Smith (DHS '68). Many of you will remember that the Krauses lived out at Alkire. Here's what Marsha said: "
One note about the Alkire Lake article - it didn't "open" the Alkire development - sounded more like it was the last bits available. We moved into our house in September, 1954 - Mother & Daddy must've bought the lot a year or two before that (allowing for the construction time). The Kamps had already moved out there. Mother & Ruth were room mothers at the West University school where Sandra & Charlie went. At the end of May, Mother made the comment "see you in September" or something to that effect, and Ruth said that they were moving to Sugar Land. Mother had Daddy drive by where the Kamps were moving to (on the way out or back from Pappaw's, in Beasley) and Mother said, "This is where I want to live". They had been saving their $$ so they bought a lot for $5,000 and then had the house built. "

(Update) I got the following note from Jackie James: "Alkire Lake was opened much earlier than 1954. My parents bought their lot in 1947 and we moved into our home in late 1948. They bought the property from another Sugar Lander (I'm trying to think of his name) so the property had been opened up before 1947 I would presume. I believe that we had neighbors already there as I don't remember construction going on and I was eight years old when we bought the lot. The Geisslers were our neighbors to the west and Minnie Ulrich had a house a few more lots west of ours but I don't remember when her's was built."

Chuzzy Jenkins Leaves Gator Football in 1954

I'm grateful to Dot Hightower and her daughter Scotty for giving me this scan from their family scrapbook. As you'll see, it's a newspaper article announcing Chuzzy Jenkins's departure as head coach at SLHS. Dugan Hightower followed him as Gator head coach.

The article is not quite correct. Chuzzy didn't enter the insurance business. He went to work for Cost Paint & Lacquer Company in Houston. He returned to Sugar Land and became a teacher, coach, and eventually principal in FBISD.

(Update) I got a note from Leon Anhaiser (SLHS '57) pointing out an error in the article. The Gators didn't abandon the Notre Dame Box. They continued using it through their last season in 1958. I knew this from watching game film I've posted earlier, so I wondered if going to the T Formation was a failed experiment or never happened. I'm going to talk with Leon and other players about this soon.

Jack Neal

I got this photo of Jack Neal from his younger son Henry. He didn't give a date for this photo, but it must have been taken when Jack was in high school or college. Many of you will remember Mr. Neal as the science and ag teacher at Sugar Land High School in the 1950s. Those of you who are my age will remember him as our 8th grade science teacher. I had forgotten he worked out at the prison farm between stints as a school teacher.