Beyond Good and Evil

Dr. Ronnie J. Hastings

The 1963 Cisco High School King Lobo Coronation

Among the greatest high school traditions of Cisco High School, Cisco, Texas, is the annual crowning of King Lobo (That Damn Dam Painting! [April, 2013], The Chair/Desk Escapade — Chapter 3 (“…fellows like him could be King Lobo.”) [Oct, 2013]). The tradition is based upon the Junior class having the privilege of “putting on” or producing the Coronation for the Senior class each year. The Coronation was also for the entire school and community, as the court of the elected King and Queen Lobo (identities revealed as the climax of each coronation program) included elected couples from all the lower grades in high school, junior high, and elementary schools (Chapter 3). In the 1960’s the Coronation was held in the community gym at the corner of West 3rd Street and Avenue L, just “catty-corner” from Chesley Field, the football field in Cisco, Texas. Every graduating class, when Juniors, looked forward to an entire week just after basketball season off from school to transform the gym into a “court” according to some theme (like the theme of a Prom) and the presentation of the court “show” on the Thursday night of that week. The Coronation was open to the public and proceeds from ticket sales, conducted by the Juniors, went into coffers to pay for future Coronations. The night after the crowning, on Friday night, the Juniors sponsored a Jr.-Sr. Banquet in honor of the Seniors, accompanied by a Jr.-Sr. Prom, the social all-student highlight of the year. After that all the decorations of the Coronation were finally struck as the final responsibility of the “host” class, the Juniors.

1963 was “our year” as Juniors, being Seniors 1964, to “put on” the Coronation. But, like our class, there was nothing “normal” about the circumstances of the Coronation that year, due to the fact that half the 3-story high school building between W. 6th and W. 7th Streets and Avenues K & L was condemned. Consequently, the student body not having access to the auditorium on the second floor, school assemblies in that school year of 1962-1963 had to be held in the community gym, the site of the Coronation, some three blocks away up Avenue L from the partially condemned building. (The Chair/Desk Escapade — Chapter 1 (The Set-Up) [Oct, 2013] & Mrs. Lois Adling, Mrs. Edward Lee, and the Big Afternoon [June, 2012]) Only one thing for sure this particular school year — no school assemblies the week of the Coronation!

As it turned out, there was also nothing “normal” about the actual week off and about the Coronation that particular Thursday night in 1963. Not surprising for us, the Class of 1964. After all, we were to become the class without a high school building — the class, planned or not, that was to be marginalized, and the class, in the end, that was to be woefully underestimated (The Chair/Desk Escapade — Chapter 1 & “….Chapter 10 both [Oct. 2013]). The success our class enjoyed in our Coronation production paralleled the success we enjoyed as graduates, preventing ourselves from the being marginalized and forgotten. If only the school had paid attention to our King Lobo Coronation production in 1963!

But our class coronation story begins earlier, back in the fall of 1962 or in very early 1963, in one of our “famous” or, according to some, “infamous” study sessions at my house less than one block from the 3-story HS building with its condemned wing and auditorium. (The Chair/Desk Escapade — Chapter 2 (Dramatis Personae) [Oct, 2013]) The “usual suspects” of these sessions were Bill Adling, Bob Berry, Bill Lee, Clark Odom, and I. Occasionally, we would be visited by others, like Earl Carson, but, as a rule, we five were “regulars.” And during this particular session, as usual, we five were drinking Dad’s root beer and playing records on my stereo set in the living room while we studied on the dining room table. (Being the pre-Beatle era, 33 1/3 albums from favorite movies, singers, and documentaries, like “Hatari,” “The Great Escape,” Johnny Horton, “The Guns of Navarone,” “Exodus,” “The Alamo,” and “Victory at Sea” were played; if not the albums, we played stacks of favorite 45’s from the rock-and-roll hit parade Adling and I, with help from Berry, had identified and accumulated over the years — e.g. “Tequila,” “Fingertips, Part 1 & 2,” “Torquay,” “Sal’s Got a Sugar Lip,” and “Church Key Twist.” ) I say “study,” but what really occurred were periods of laughing and joking in between periods of actually accomplishing something on our homework assignments.

With three of us at that time unknowingly being “proto-outliers,” or outliers-in-the-making (We Are the Outliers [Feb, 2014]), at least 3/5 of us often developed a sudden “what the heck” or “I quit” attitude, in order to conjure up even more laughs from the “captive” audience. On this particular night, for Adling, this attitude was particularly serious, probably brought on by the extra-heavy homework assignments of Mrs. Audie Wagley’s American History “Section Surveys;” on this night Adling REALLY did have an attack of “What the heck!” and “I quit!” He left the table and went elsewhere in the house to find other ways to entertain himself, while the rest of us remained a quartet working on homework.

He returned with an old baseball, whose leather cover had been lost and replaced with a covering of black electrical tape, probably one that he and I used playing scrub baseball in my backyard back when we were in junior high (See Ode to William L. (Bill) Adling [May, 2012]). Thanks to my dad’s coon hounds and the family house dog Petey (He had one black eye like the Little Rascals’ “Petey.”), the tape was gnarled and perforated. Adling asked me if he could finish the dismantling of the ball, and I, not wanting to be distracted from our work, said it was OK. He sat down with us to deliberately bother us with his new-found task. We complied, making remarks about his “high standard” of priorities that evening. Soon he was down to unraveling the string around the baseball’s core, loose string accumulating all over his hands. By now Berry (Ode to Bob B. Berry [May, 2012]) and I became really distracted, like science fiction fans having seen “something shiny.” Adling, true to his nature, was determined to finish the task to the ball’s very center, despite the fact the task had become more time-consuming than he had anticipated; he was trapped; he had to finish the task or lose face in front of us. He captured all of us in laughter when he began draping the accumulating string not only on his hands, but also upon his shoulders and his head. Now, that was entertainment that “beat the socks off” doing our homework!

As usual, Odom was first back to his studies, and I soon followed suite. That did not sit well with Adling — it was now a contest for him to keep us laughing or he would have to go back to studying. To get a reaction from me, he wadded up the pile of string, now the volume of a basketball, and placed it on my head, while I was still sitting studying; it was as if I had a wig. Suddenly, it was a challenge to me to see how much I could “take” to break my concentration of studying, and that challenge became further entertaining to not only Adling, but to Berry and Lee also. (It is clear in Adling’s Ode [May, 2012] and in The Chair/Desk Escapade — Chapter 2 (Dramatis Personae) [Oct, 2013] why Adling put the wad of string on my head and not the others’.)

Just as Adling began earlier “hamming” up the accumulating string on him, I now began “hamming” up the “new wig” on my head; I had joined Adling in generating laughs. Pretending to give me a “shampoo” after somebody quipped that my wig looked like I had just had a shampoo, Adling went to the bathroom and returned with a can of my dad’s shaving cream, and I let him apply a generous amount on the wad of string on my head and massage it into my “stringy” hair, shaving cream flying on his hands, my face, neck, and shoulders, and onto the books and notebooks on the dining table. I pretended I had no idea what was going on. He then went into the kitchen and brought back a bottle of ketchup and squirted a blob of it on the string, the shampoo, and my hair, mixing up the mess on my head again into a reddish, pinkish swirl. Ketchup joined shaving cream in being distributed over the immediate area of my studying position.

Future outlier Berry then said what I needed was an egg shampoo! Adling, without a word, returned to the kitchen. He came back with a raw egg; Berry went hysterical; Lee proclaimed he should not do it; Odom watched silently, trying not to smile while shaking his head; I tried to remain as calm as I could, even when I saw the egg. True to “Adling form” (getting the most laughs), Adling held the egg with one hand atop my mess atop my head and smashed it with his flattened other hand! Egg seemed to go everywhere — on my “wig,” on my head, on our books on the table, on the table itself, and on the floor — not to mention the flattened hand. My shoulders, at least, by this time, had been towel-draped by Adling the “shampooer;” however, part of the egg white went in Berry’s shirt pocket and part of the egg yolk landed on Lee’s history textbook!

Before I got to wash my head and before we got the table and floor cleaned up, we had to calm Lee down, which was not accomplished until Berry sent a couple of “cut downs” his way; I reminded Lee about the time back in the eighth grade when we used to fold the pages of the texts and slam the books shut just for the hell of it. Lee finally settled down and returned back to a “happy plateau” when Adling, Berry, and I reminded him dried egg yolk, after the wiping we had done, would not be detected when he turned his book back at the end of the school year. Soon Lee was smearing the yolk over his book page and slamming the book shut on the yellow-mess-on-printed-page. Maybe having to pay for a textbook was a small price to pay in exchange for the laughs he was getting from all of us — with the exception, perhaps, of Odom, who, true to form, stood way away from all the mess and looked at all four of us like we were crazy; in a way, we were — crazy with fun.

Little did we know how important that crazy night was to be in plans regarding the Coronation.

The “Egg Shampoo Study Session” was but a memory in our five collective heads when time came for our class to choose a theme for the 1963 Coronation. Bantered around among those of us who played war games, or those of us who hung out with those who played war games (Avalon Hill board games — See The Flag Escapade — Phase I [Aug, 2013]) was the idea of having a Civil War theme. I was selected as the spokesperson for this theme. The opposing idea was “Alice in Wonderland,” as interpreted by the Disney movie. To quote my memoirs (And God Said, “Let There Be Friends”…..And It Was Wierd [April, 2012]), “The class split immediately, with the guys wanting the Civil War and the girls wanting Alice in Wonderland.” It was the battle of the sexes, CHS Class of 1964-style! It became a matter of pride to those of us of the XY persuasion, our teen-aged brains ignoring the political incorrectness of our position (at a time before we knew what political correctness was). Never the champion of themes based upon their popularity or appropriateness (See Ode to Dr. Bill R. Lee [April, 2012]), I can’t say I’m really embarrassed that I defended the ideas that the girls could be like Southern belles, a la “Gone With the Wind,” the guys could be soldiers, and the court jesters could be slaves or soldiers. And, it is no defense of our Civil War idea to point out we had no African-American students in our class.

So, now, over 50 years later and counting, should any readers require a confession of embarrassment or an apology, let me hereby furnish them either or both. Just as there is no defending the “causes” and symbols of the old Confederate Club and the flags Lee and I ran up on our desks during the eighth grade (Lee’s ode, [April, 2012]), there is no defending pushing a Civil War theme for the Coronation in 1963, midst the growing Civil Rights Movement, especially a Civil War theme with a distinctively Southern bias, given our geography and history. I’d like to think things would have been different had we been in an integrated class with African-Americans among our peers, but that was not the way it was. Nor is citing the fact that the Stars and Bars battle flag was not as overt a symbol of racism back then as it became in the history of the Civil Rights Movement an excuse. To this day I try (mostly in vain) to point out the Stars and Bars is neither the official flag of the Confederacy, nor is it properly any symbol of racism. Adoption of it by such racist groups as the KKK as far back as the Restoration has tainted the flag in an ahistorical way, in my opinion. Sad, but that is the way it is.

When the vote for the theme came, Alice in Wonderland won by a narrow margin, thanks to support not only from the girls, but thanks to the support of Mr. Hathaway, our head sponsor, and to a few “turncoat” votes from guys, most notably that of Earl Carson. True to our childish machismo scruples, we “Civil War-ers” cast a disdainful eye his way, “licked our wounds” from the defeat, and reluctantly threw in our support to the will of the majority. Retrospect came quickly, as we also reluctantly agreed with the rational view that the Disney movie provided us with so many resources, and at so little cost, compared with all the uniforms and dresses to be made demanded by the alternative. But, of course, we would not forget this “rebuff.”

When the time came to select the jesters for the Coronation, what positions would you think appealed to the study session group, less Odom, the most? The jesters, of course! And what idea do you think Adling, Berry, Lee, and I immediately thought to use as our tryout-for-jester presentation? The egg shampoo, of course! It was a no-brainer, a match made in heaven! It was ideal for the four of us, in that we did not have to compete with each other for the position; we were trying out as a group, hoping all or none of us would be accepted.

One of the few times the condemned auditorium on the second floor of the high school was used was for Coronation try-outs, including those for jesters. The four of us found ourselves backstage of the old auditorium with a plan essentially the same as what happened during the Egg Shampoo Study Session, only minus the baseball string. Joining us for jester try-out were Ronnie Rider and Macon Strother, but without a specific plan as what they wanted to do. Therefore, while we waited for jester try-out to begin, we decided to do a “6-man” tryout and let the judges choose from our group effort; it risked some of us not being jesters, but all of us seemed to agree our impromptu plan was worth it; but, it could not be an “all or nothing” situation after all, for no one except the six of us was trying out. Ronnie and Macon were hastily “clued” into our plans, and when it came time to try-out, all half-dozen were ready. Some of us or all of us were going to be the jesters.

Announcing to the judges we were trying out as a group, we all went out on the stage where Adling, Berry, Lee, Ronnie, and Macon formed a human pyramid on hands-and-knees while I stood off to the side pretending to be annoyed I was not included. When they completed the “structure,” I pushed them over mischievously and posed as if proud of myself. The five “acrobats” got up, huddled “angrily” to “decide” what to do with me, and then surrounded me before I could get away. I was sat down upon the floor and “forced” to put my legs “yoga-style” in the lotus position (as I was adept to do on bus trips with the football and basketball team as manager/trainer). Stiffening my arms out to my sides, they lifted me to a spot where Adling was to “operate” on me, the rest lining up to be Adling’s “assistants.” Shaving cream, then shaving lotion, then ketchup, and then, this time, mustard were passed down the line to Adling who generously applied in sequence each to my head, rubbing each vigorously; it was even a more widely distributed, colorful mess than at my house around the dining table! Many of my fellow jester applicants besides Adling and me got a bit of the mess. We were getting the laughs we coveted, from not only judges, but from others out in the auditorium seats waiting to try out for other positions.

Then came the climax — two, count them, two raw eggs this time. I did not have a towel this time, so the egg covered not only my head, but my neck and shirt shoulders as well. At this point, Mr. Hathaway interrupted and stopped us, probably fearing too much “mess” on the condemned stage floor. He announced it had been decided all of us would be jesters, as lots of characters, as indicated by the movie, would be needed, given the plans to stage the “Alice” story as part of the Coronation program. We left the stage in triumph, I “smelling to high heaven” of egg, so no one got close to congratulate me. It occurred to me I needed to get cleaned up, just like the stage. I asked the principal, Mr. Midkiff, if I could go get a bath, to which he agreed. To speed things up, Adling let me walk the short distance to his house on W. 8th St. to use his shower (no shower at my house).

Speeding past the preparation part of working on sets at the school building and transporting them down to the gym for finishing, the part familiar with all Cisco High School Junior classes working on “their” coronation, the “week off” was coming close to Thursday night production. Though we were supposed to go to class as often as we could, I only went to two class periods the whole week. Gene Darr and I worked on drawing characters on the sets from Disney Alice in Wonderland books, and others would paint in our outlines using the color pages of the books. “Parts” for the production had been cast. Various girls would play Alice at different times in the production “script.” “Big” Alice would be Alice Ann (Webb) Holliday, and “Little” Alice would be Kay (Wallace) Morris; other “herald Alice’s” would be the Hart twins, Sylvia (Hart) Hastings and Sandra (Hart) Burkett, and Marcia (Wende), Karen (Moore) Bishop, Becky (Reich) Odom, Colette (Brown), Melody (Morris), and Leannah (Leveridge) Darr. Robert Cole (Ode to Robert W. Cole [May, 2012]) and Joe Torres would be trumpeting heralds, or trumpeters. Pages were to consist of Valjeanne (Loudder), Estelle (Rice), Lanell (Stanford) Bond, Jamie (Rawson), and Betty (Reynolds). There happened to be a popular Top 40 on the airways at the time entiled “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Alice” Kay and her “beau” Earl Carson — the “turncoat” — were scheduled to do a pantomime of that hit during the program. The products of the Egg Shampoo Study Session, the jesters, were Macon Strother as the White Rabbit, Ronnie Rider as Tweedledum, Adling as Tweedledee (To this day, I maintain it was Adling who was Tweedle”dumb.”), Lee as The Walrus, Berry as The Mad Hatter, and I as The March Hare. (As part of our costumes, Lee and I had to have “big feet;” he actually had a pair of elongated clown shoes, and I borrowed a pair of large-sized sneakers from Richard Moore, a big-footed banking colleague of my mom’s.) Not enough credit has been given to the makers of the outstanding costumes of the jesters, featuring cardboard heads that I outlined for cutting and painting — the makers being, for the most part, our mothers.

I was our class President that year, meaning I traditionally would be the Coronation’s Master of Ceremonies.  But, I did not want to give up the opportunity to do impromptu clowning in front of lots of people!  And Robert Mitchell, our class Vice-President, was elected to represent the Juniors in the king’s and queen’s “court,” so, we talked Stan Livingston into taking over the Master of Ceremonies duty. Also, Mark Kurklin and Rodney Harrelson were to run the all-important spotlights to accent the couples of the court, including the king and queen.

Not only did I miss almost all my classes that week, I missed most of my usual sleep, given all the drawing and designing I had to do. Not that it was all work and no play that week; when Mr. Hathaway and any other sponsors had to be gone that week to teach or something, several of us guys would take turns jumping off one of the 4 fifteen foot or so high corner platforms in the gym over a horizontal distance of about 25 feet or so and land on mattress-like mats. We probably are not as tall today as we might have been had we not done that. If Mr. Hathaway found out about these “extra” acrobatics, I’m sure it did not do any possible ulcer he was already developing any good!

It rained a lot that week of preparation, and all of us working on the set got a kick out of listening to the radio hit “Rhythm of the Rain,” whose lyrics would go “Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain, telling me what I fool I’ve been; I wish that it would go and let me cry in vain, and let me be alone again. The only girl I care about has gone away, looking for a brand-new start; little did she know that when she left that day, along with her she took my heart.” And so on……while we literally listened to the rhythm of the falling rain on the gym roof and front porch roof. I was taking a break on that porch one morning of the work week with a piece of white classroom chalk for drawing sets in my hand, twiddling it like a cigarette between my forefinger and middle finger. Linda (Kilgore) saw that and began spreading the rumor that she saw Ronnie Jack Hastings smoking. I’m not sure she was glad or sad when she found out it was a piece of chalk. (Smoking was something those of us of the study group never did, at least not when together.)

A couple of days before production Berry and I planned to recover a little pride from the loss of the theme election. The gym roof was supported by giant, arched steel beam girders. By climbing to the top of the gym’s seating one could reach up and grasp the sides of the bottom of the beams and pull one’s self up and on the beam. In the middle of the center beam we planned to unfurl one of the two 2 ft by 3 ft flags I kept on one wall of my room at home — a Confederate battle flag! (The other flag was a State of Texas flag.) Ronnie Rider was recruited to help us. During a Mr. Hathaway absence, Berry and I made the precarious climb out onto to center of the beam (no net!) and tied securely the rolled-up flag with two strings, one through each grommet eye, ready to be unfurled before the show started on Thursday. But Earl found out about the plan somehow, and, being on the “girls’ side,” decided to take the flag down on the sly so we would not “mess up the presentation.” He made his move at a time I was not in the gym, but as he reached the flag, in walked Berry and Rider. Berry went to one end of the beam and Rider to the other as Earl reached the rolled-up flag. Earl was told not to touch that flag unless he wanted to be thrown off that beam; though he had cut one of the strings, Earl was persuaded to come down, leaving the flag. The cut string was repaired, but Mr. Hathaway found out about the incident (I “wonder” how!) the night of the Coronation just before Berry and I were preparing to unfurl the flag. He talked us out of unfurling the flag before or during the show, so we had to alter our plans.

What has personally stuck with me since the night of the performance was how the Egg Shampoo Study Session emboldened the class clown antics of the friendships of Adling, Berry, Lee, and I and gave us the incentive and confidence to “let it all hang out” before a captive public audience. That night was an unprecedented opportunity for all of us, but, unfortunately for Adling, he could not take full advantage, as he came down with a attack of flu about mid-week. Cruel, bad luck ironically mellowed the performance of the one who single-handedly jump-started the Egg Shampoo bit; it was unfair, in a cosmic sense. Had he felt “normal,” I know he would have channeled the silliness he and I developed back in junior high, just as I did that night, when we were finally encouraged and set up to be the clowns we wanted to be, without the inhibitions of teachers, rules, and “adult” responsibilities:

Before the program began, we jesters were charged to “warm up” the crowd and get them in a jovial mood. In our cardboard “heads,” I, again as the “outcast,” messed up a game of dice played with a huge pair of foam rubber dice usually hung from car rear-view mirrors. Letting me join instead of putting up with my taunts, I began “winning” all the “stakes” — cards from a giant deck of cards that looked a deck designed for the visually challenged. They turned against me, five against one, and I threw the giant cards in their faces. Then, we took turns “directing” the stage band playing mood music, trying to get the band members and director Eris Ritchie to laugh. “Heads off” now, Berry and Lee got down on their knees for me to stand on their backs to reach up and try to grab one of the decorative foil stars handing down from stringers across the width of the gym floor. The program start was delayed for some reason, and we jesters were offstage and out of “material.” So I started doing one-man “stunts” to fill in. (As usual, Lee advised me not to do things impromptu, and I, as usual, did not take his advice.)

Lanell was the herald playing the piano as part of the program, and, now, part of the “filler.” I pretended to put a burned-out flash bulb in my mouth like candy I found atop the console of her instrument. Then, after noting I was getting her to laugh, I noted a microphone cord stream out across the gym floor from the piano area and got down on my hands and knees with my nose close to the cord to follow it “closely” to see where it was going. So concentrated was I on following the cord like a rope in this position, I did not notice I was so close to the microphone stand itself, pulling on the cord enough to topple it over — over right atop my head! I was really in pain, but that was put aside as soon as I heard the roaring laughter of the crowd. I fell on my back with extended tongue, as if knocked out. It must have looked planned!

We made fun off all non-jesters as they came down the mid-gym aisle as part of the program or as high school couples in the court. I acted like I was “seeing double” when Sylvia and Sandra came down to aisle, rubbing my eyes in disbelief; Adling and Rider (Tweedledum and Tweedledee) mocked the “march” of trumpeters Cole and Joe Torres down aisle; I got down and “rolled in laughter” at Sophomore court representatives Leon Bint and Ann (Rutherford), “cracking them up;” Lee and Berry came down the aisle Marx Bros. style, squatting arm-in-arm; just before the king and queen were identified, Berry and I came down the aisle as a “couple,” I being the “girl,” falling flat on my face as I curtsied; when “Prime Minister” Principal C. B. Midkiff (The Chair/Desk Escapade — Chapter 8 (Admission, “Punishment,” and Immediate Aftermath) [Oct, 2013] &  Play Rehearsal Night, With a Side of Greased Flagpole [May, 2013]) came down the aisle, Berry and I gamboled in front of him sprinkling rose petals in his path, and Lee came along behind him, sweeping up the petals with a broom (Florist Mrs. Wilma Waters, David’s mother, had donated the petals from her shop.).

David Callarman was crowned King Lobo, and Nelzane Nixon was crowned Queen Lobo, and we jesters “replaced our heads” and played our characters’ parts in the program, retelling the story of Alice in Wonderland, following an abbreviated Disney script. When all the court and the program began their recessional, glitter was to gently shower down upon the “royals” from above, but, instead, we probably packed in too much of the stuff, and it fell down in heaps and globs, completely drenching the whole throne area. This gave us jesters the opportunity to sprinkle ad nauseum handfuls of glitter upon anyone in the recessional we wanted (What were they going to do, tell us to stop?). I personally recall drenching the heads of Cisco Junior College (now Cisco College) representatives Lynn Hagan and Rosetta (Ingram) Hagan with glitter, and I got so much of it in Sylvia’s and Sandra’s hair, they said they were still trying to get it all out two days later.

As the “head jester” I had control of the mike to converse with the king and queen at the end and dismiss the audience. As soon as I had finished, I nodded to Berry, who scrambled to the top of the seats and onto the “flagged” roof beam. As the audience was slowly leaving or mingling with the program participants, Berry unfurled the flag, Rodney put a spotlight on the banner, and mixed reactions came muttering from those who cast their eyes upward and spotted Berry descending. I pointed to the flag and started singing “Dixie” into the microphone, joined by Adling, Lee, Rider, Macon, and others nearby. Some members of the audience also joined in, as if it was part of the program. Understandably, none of the girls in our class joined us.

It felt as if we had made a “big hit” with our presentation of the evening; after the song, I went up into the stands to where Sylvia’s and Sandra’s family was sitting, and their grandmother called me a “monkey.” Bingo! The jesters had achieved their goal! We had apparently met and exceeded the expectations of the school district and the community, for, the next morning, Friday morning, classes from the elementary schools West Ward and East Ward were bused across town to the gym so they could see a repeat performance of our show the night before, only without the “court” stuff. I thought it was not only gratifying to do the show again — it was also fun. The jesters loved laughs from kids as much as we did from mixed audiences. I do not know of another Junior class whose Coronation program was so good, it was asked to repeat the presentation. Of course, I could be wrong about that.

On Friday night, we had to host the Jr.-Sr. Banquet and Prom at the gym using the Alice in Wonderland set, which required rearrangement, adjustment, and more work. As MC of the Banquet (Sylvia was my date sitting beside me at the head table.), I only remember the success of my best joke: referring to the condemned high school building, I quipped that the Seniors would fondly remember the times in Cisco High School when they sat in class, looking at the walls, and “watched the cracks progress.”

Months later, as our Senior school year, 1963-1964, began, the school administration, in my opinion, had forgotten how well we did as a class presenting the Coronation of 1963. We had demonstrated we could solve real problems, and we could have been instrumental in helping the school district span the interim of our Senior year when we had no high school building from which to graduate — the year replete with unique, challenging problems (The Chair/Desk Escapade — Chapter 1 (The Set-Up) [Oct, 2013]). Instead, our class was relegated to a “cheerleading” role midst the community crisis and simultaneously stripped of its traditional Senior privileges. Perhaps the school had seen us, through the Coronation of 1963, only as frivolous entertainers, whose leadership preferred being jesters over young, serious adults. Tweedledee, The Mad Hatter, the taller trumpeter, and The March Hare combined a year later to remind them how blind they had been.


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