Mustang Roundup
Alumni Edition

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The East High Alumni Page June 1, 2000

New Color Scheme

The East High Alumni Page has introduced a new color scheme for many of its pages. The new colors make the page much easier to read. Some report it makes it easier to print since they don't have to select the make the text black and to exclude printing of the background.
For a couple of months before the change was made, alumni were allowed the chance to view a sample page and express their opinions on the proposed changes. Only a handful did, but no one objected and most were pleased with the new idea.
As difficult as it was to reduce the coverage of our school colors, the new look was posted April 29 on all of the Class Directory pages. Since then, additional pages have been converted to the new scheme. While we continue to review the alternatives, the home page is not currently scheduled for conversion.
Alumni opinions of the changes are welcome.

Artifacts Wanted

The East High Alumni Page would like to become a repository of East High memorabilia. If you have artifacts of East that you would like to donate to us, please let us know. The older the better. We are particularly interested in Annuals (yearbooks), sound recordings of faculty and school events, pictures of events at the school, video recordings of events at the school, and student telephone directories. Currently of great interest are any audio recordings of East's first principal, J.P. Snider. If you have a recording or know of anyone who does, contact us. We'd like to hear from you also if you have any of the memorabilia which we seek. You may contact us via e-mail at

Counting Mustangs Here are the statistics of how many new alumni profiles we added in the past few months:
March: 13
April: 19
May: 5

New profiles are tagged as such for about a month on our alphabetical listing page.

Vital Statistics

Since our last publication of this page, we have received notice of the following:

the death of Jeffery D. Davis ('77);

the death of Chris `Mack' Edward Stevenson ('82);

the death of Eleanor Gates Wyatt, mother of Millicent Wyatt Montgomery ('59)

the death of John Philip Cottam Jr., son of Nancy Ezell Cottam ('59)

the death of Mrs. Margaret Hawthorne Maiden, mother of Doug Maiden ('61), Wiley Maiden ('63), Martha Maiden ('68), and Margaret Maiden ('71).

The East High Alumni Page maintains pages for alumni obituaries, hospitalizations, and a sympathy page for alumni who have lost family members.

Congratulations to
Class of 2000

The East High School's 49th commencement exercise is being held today, June 1, 2000, in the East Hall of the Memphis Cook Convention Center. Our congratulations to the graduates.

The Mustang Roundup Alumni Edition is published on an ad-hoc basis on the World Wide Web by The East High Alumni Page ( and is an independent Web publication. Neither the Alumni Edition nor The East High Alumni Page is officially associated with East High School or Memphis City Schools.

Mustang Roundup
Alumni Editon

An on-line publication of The East High Alumni Page
Editor: K. Welch

Annual Pictures of some of those referenced in the article
View from '52

Mr. J.P. Snider
Principal (1948-1964)
A very nice man.

Miss Rose Parkinson
Elementary Principal (1948-1972)

Mrs. Dudley Shumaker
She used to have parties in her house, Hi-Y parties.

Mr. Earl Spiller
He was a super guy.

Mr. Kenneth Holland
He was the coach.

Mrs. Marjorie Holland
She was tough.

Mrs. Lilburne Vollmer
Weren't we lucky to have a person like that who cared that much.

Miss Elizabeth Wills
I really liked her.

Mr. Ronald Collins
We used to hang out at the Home Ec. class and get food.

Mr. Kirk Fordice
Kirk was talking about how many times he'd been in there and had little chats with him [Mr. Snider]...

Mr. Paul Lazarov
... had a Crosley [automobile].

Mr. Jim McCormick
...was the equipment manager.

Mr. Melvin Tedder
He was quite a golfer.

Ms. Anne Thomas
does a lot of TV situation comedies and she's been in a lot of major movies

All of the above pictures from the 1952 Mustang unless otherwise noted.

In this Edition
A View from '52
Summer Reunions
East Atrifacts Sought
Famous Alumnus' Book
Page Colors Change
Vital Statistics

For current updates, see the Alumni Edition Top Stories & Updates at the top of the home page and check the East In the News page. Alumni Edition Archives

A View From '52
Recollections from members of the
Classes of 1952 and 1959

A few weeks ago a representative of The East High Alumni Page was privileged to sit down with two East High alumni from classes of the 1950's. Bill Valvik, now living in California, was graduated from East in 1952 and was senior class president as well as member and officer of numerous school organizations. His sister, Kay, got her East diploma in 1959, was a cheerleader, member of the student elected Hall of Fame, and member of several campus groups. In March, 2000, when Bill was visiting Memphis again, they talked about our school, fellow students, and faculty.

Perhaps this can begin a series of interviews with alumni and former teachers/faculty published here. We think sharing the memories is not only fun, but valuable perhaps in remembering that while we weren't perfect and that some important values were taught to us during our high school days.

The transcript of our conversation with Kay and Bill has been edited for the purposes of this article, including giving the opportunity to the interviewees to review and revise their remarks. Various East Annuals, or yearbooks, were consulted during the visit and you'll notice references to pictures being made.

We hope a little bit of the enjoyment experienced during the visit can be captured and shared with you through this article. As you'll learn, many of the most memorable events were teenage high jinks, things we might laugh about but also know they may have been things we should not have done.

Bill Valvik ('52) Kay Valvik ('59)

Bill Valvik: Those were fun years. They were. I'm often asked, 'what do you think were the best years of your life?' I still say my high school years. So many kids hate those years, you know. They don't even want to be reminded of them and they don't even come to reunions.

Alumni Page: They were not my favorite years. I didn't do my homework very often and I was not a good student.

Kay Valvik: If you were not a good student, you did not enjoy high school. You had to be a good student.

Bill: That made the, that made a big difference.

If you are a current student in high school, please take note of that wisdom, hard learned by many of us. Not only will being a good student help you in your career, but it will reward you with good memories and good friends for the rest of your life.

At one point, our conversation turned to the initial principals of East High, J. P. Snider, and East Elementary, Rose Parkinson.

Kay: The faculty [of East High when it opened], as it turned out, was hand picked. We didn't have enough sense to know that.

Bill: Snider had been the principal of Snowden.

Alumni Page: Mrs. Parkinson was the [elementary] principal, at least during my time, they said like 23 years when she retired, and that left one year out. Do you remember anyone [else] being principal the first year?

Bill: No.

Kay: She was called the assistant principal though when we were there but we understood she was principal of the elementary. They may have given her that title [full principal] so she could get additional pay or something.

Bill: [pointing at a picture of Mrs. Flaniken in an annual] You know what, that lady was secretary over at Messick.

Alumni Page: Mrs. Flaniken?

Bill: She sure was. She wasn't at East [when I was]. Shumaker was. Mrs. Flaniken came from Messick. She was at Messick when I was there. Mr. Grinter, Thomas Grinter was the principal and she was his secretary.

Kay: I worked in the office [at East] for a while.

Bill: Yeah, She was at Messick, I'll be darned, I didn't know she had come to East. How interesting.

Kay: I didn't know that.

Bill: Grinter, and Anne Hunt was the vice principal, assistant principal [at Messick], she was, they both were mean. They paddled boys in those days. Grinter had that paddle in his office. Old Anne Hunt, the assistant principal, she was tough and mean. They were more scared of her than him.

Kay: A change to Mr. Snider.

Bill: Oh yeah. Mr. Snider was so easygoing. Such a nice man. I worked in the office. They had students working in the office. Mrs. Dudley Shumaker was the secretary. She was the Hi-Y sponsor. She worked with us in the Hi-Y. We used to go to Pickwick weekend outings. They'd rent a bus and a bunch of us would go to Pickwick.

Kay: Some sort of a camp.

Bill: They had a camp over there, that's right. Yeah, Camp Pickwick I think was the name of it. She used to have parties in her house, Hi-Y parties. I think she just lived up the street on Poplar. She had a daughter in Gail's [Valvik] class.

Kay: And bossy, she [Mrs. Shumaker] ran the school. You didn't want to have to go to ...

Bill: She told those teachers what to do and kept the kids in line. Kids would get sent to the office and Shumaker took care of them. I mean she put them to work. They had them doing something. You get your books out and get to work, whatever, you know.

Was he [Snider] from Virginia, was he born in Virginia?

Kay: Yes.

Bill: That's what I thought. He had a neat accent. A beautiful accent.

Kay: "Aboot" [About]

Bill: That's right, "Aboot, oout and aboot" [out and about]. And he spoke excellent, beautiful English. I loved to hear him talk.

Alumni Page: I wish I could get a recording.

Bill: What made me think of that, I spent a lot of time around the office and got to know him pretty well. You know, felt comfortable around him, I didn't really know him. Very nice man. My dad thought a lot of him.


Bill: Midland is halfway between Central and Southern.

Kay: Midland was the dividing line.

Bill: Yeah, that was the East High - Messick dividing line.

Kay: On one side of Midland went to East and on the other side went to Messick. ... Daddy had such a respect for education. And he knew they [East High] had all the newest ...

Bill: That's what he wanted, for us to get a better education.


Classes at East began in September, 1948, even as the last bit of construction on the building continued. While East was a premier school in the Memphis City School system, the first school costing more than 2-million dollars, not everything was handed to East was brand new. The Valviks reflected on that as they discussed athletics.

Kay: We used to have a bonfire before homecoming game, a big bonfire.

Alumni Page: Where was that.

Bill: Over on the athletic field over there. We had a good boosters club then, the parents, in fact, the parents bought us all these parkas. We did fund raisers. They bought our uniforms. We didn't have uniforms. You know, we had cast off uniforms from Central. We played in practice uniforms in the early years, well our first year. They bought brand new helmets. Plastic helmets were just coming out. They were still using leather helmets. And some of the guys with the bigger heads still had to use the leather helmets. But those plastic helmets were just being introduced to collegiate and high school football. We got those early on. I remember all our practice stuff was cast off. Holland scrounged from every high school around here and they gave him stuff that had patches on it and holes in it. Then I think we may have gotten jerseys but had to play in these old pants. Maybe the second year they got good, nice uniforms.

Despite used uniforms, it wasn't too long before East was leading the way in styles.

Kay: We were the first cheerleaders to have monograms. My senior year we had under those old gray wool jumpers we wore a white shirt that had roll up sleeves with a tab that came up and buttoned. And on the tab it had "EHS," and it was the first monogram, the very first thing anyone ever had monogrammed. But, boy, they went crazy after that. Went crazy!


Bill: This is Melvin Tedder (class of '52 - now deceased) again [pointing at picture]. He was quite a golfer. We had a good golf team. I think they coached themselves. I don't think there was any coach that played as well as they did because most of these kids were from families that belonged to the country clubs and played golf all the time. These kids were brought up with a golf club in their hand.

Jim McCormick was the equipment manager. Jim had polio when he was a youngster and he limped. But he wanted to be involved with all the sports activity so he was equipment manager. He was a real nice young man.

Alumni Page: Those guys did a lot of work.

Bill: They sure did. After we went home he was back there cleaning up and doing the laundry and all that stuff. All his work was behind the scenes. You never really saw what he did but he worked hard.


Bill: I remember wearing corduroy pants, they whistled, you know. Whistled as you walked down the hall.

Kay: We wore long skirts.

Bill: Oh yeah!

Kay: And the skirt and socks had to meet, you know. You didn't see legs. Except at pep rallies. They still give me a hard time about that. They vote on it. The boys used to sit down on the floor and they'd vote on which one of the cheerleaders had the best legs.

Bill: We didn't have an auditorium when I started. We met in the gym. That's what they used for the auditorium. Sat on the floor. I remember sitting in the bleachers up there.

Kay: Originally they didn't have those stands that pulled out that were on the north side of the gym. They had added those by the time I was up there. I can remember having kids out there at pep rallies.

Bill: On the far side they had some permanent, I mean they weren't pull out, bleachers on the north side. I think they took those out at certain times of the year. Only during basketball season did they have them in there. I remember the stink bombs. They used to set those off at basketball games. Those old green bleachers on the far side, somebody would set off a hydrogen sulfide bomb under there. They'd call the game, everybody would bail out until they found that thing.

Kay: You know, East High had the first bomb scare. The original bomb scare.

Alumni Page: I remember the big one we ended up going home on, but was that the first one?

Kay: Yes. I was in biology, I think. And they would not even let us go back in to get [our things]. That was the first bomb scare in Memphis [schools].


Bill: You have one guy on the Class of '51 page, Harold Petty. And his sister, Shirley, was in my grade. In the early '50's a lot of the high school kids got talked into joining the Army National Guard that used to be at the fairgrounds. It was an artillery unit. It was a big deal, they could earn a few bucks, weekend drill, it was a good way to earn a few bucks. The Korean War came along and they pulled those guys in. They were 17 and 18 year olds. I think it was his senior year which was '51. He didn't graduate because he got called up and went to Korea before he ever graduated. He never did get to graduate with his class, he was in Korea. There was another guy, I guess he was in the same class, Jack Payne, I think was his name. Harold and Jack were in that doggone Guard unit and they got snatched out of high school and sent to Korea. Dirty pool as far as we were concerned.

Kay: I can't believe they'd pull them out of high school.

Bill: That unit went. They thought they were cutting the fat hog, you know, making that money, go to drill once a month, and they got nailed.

Kay: You know they could have let them finish school and then take them.

Bill: Right, yeah, that's what they should have done.


Bill: Back in those days we had the Cotton Carnival. They took one ROTC member from each high school. They had the royal guard for the King and Queen of the Cotton Carnival. Well, Kirk [Fordice ('52)] got to go the first year, I got to go the second year. That was wild, I tell you. They had so many killed [in the Korean Conflict], so many burials coming back. They didn't have an Army unit here, maybe they did at the Army Depot, but there were so many military funerals that they recruited the high schools to do the ceremony. We had an honor guard, we had a firing squad. Kirk was the commander, I was on it, Charlie Kerr was on it, Paul Lazarov, I think, there was about 10 or 12 of us. That was fun because we got out of afternoon classes. The funeral would be at like one o'clock and at three o'clock we were supposed to meet them at the cemetery and do the flag folding and fire the three volleys. We did a good job of it. It was very professional. But it was fun because we could get out of school an hour early, like 2 o'clock, to go to the cemetery. And sometimes it was even a morning funeral, that was even better. We didn't bother to go back all day, you know.

Kay: You were a bad, bad boy.

Bill: Some of the guys. We fired 3 rounds and they'd give us our 3 bullets. Like Barney Fife, you know. Some of the guys wouldn't fire. They'd save their number two's, see. And then in ROTC they'd load one of those things up and fire one off sometime. Yeah, they'd hang on to those doggone blanks.

Alumni Page: What kind of weapon did you all use?

Bill: They were those, ought three's I think. They were bolt action. We were using M1's for drill, but this was some other bolt action. It was done in unison. It was done by timing. There was a command, but you went through several motions on that command. But you'd eject one and chamber a new one. It wasn't very long after World War II. People were still very patriotic.

Kay: I've seen some of these ROTC units in the Veteran's Day parades or whatever and the competitions that they have. The ones that care about it really work at it just like they did in our day.

Bill: There was an annual event at Crump Stadium where all the units had competition. Also we had an annual inspection in the spring every year. That was a big, big deal. We had to get out there and parade, and the band played, and all that. Well, when it was over with, we got out of school for the rest of the day, in our day. If you remember, across the street over here there was a drug store.

Kay: Bobbit-Doerr

Bill: The day that we got out early for the annual inspection, the Sealtest Ice Cream Truck was parked outside the drug store. [One of the guys] and one or two of his buddies lifted one of those great big drums of ice cream out of the truck, strawberry I think it was, and took it over to [his] house. We all went to [the fellow's] house for ice cream.

I was with David Pfaff and David had his father's car. He was an instructor up in Millington, he was a civilian employee out there, and he'd commute with someone else and David got to drive the car to school. Well, coming out of [the] house David wasn't looking on his side, he was looking this way, and he scraped the fender of the car on the brick of the house. I mean bashed it in. Oh he was sick. And we tried to figure out what to do so his dad wouldn't find it. We took it up to Town and Country, T & C was our hang out in those days. You remember that, just this [east] side of the viaduct on Poplar? That was our drive-in hang out. Anyway, across the street was a body shop and we knew the son of the owner. We took the thing up there and said, "hey, is there any chance you can do something with this." He said, "oh yeah." He knocked that thing out in a couple of hours and had it painted. And David took that thing, the paint was still wet, and parked it. His dad never knew he bashed in that car. Yeah, they fixed that for us. His dad never knew that he backed that thing into the side of [the] house. So when he did it, the guys that were still in the house were laughing, I can remember they threw the windows up and they were rolling out the windows laughing.

Kay: Oh yeah, it was funny when someone else did it.

Bill: This brings back a lot of memories.


Bill: You know they started with the Class of '51 putting up pictures [a composite of the class].

Kay: It's still over there in a back room.

Bill: Is there any other class ever been posted?

Kay: I don't think so. It's not in the library, it's in the back room.

Bill: She was with me when I we saw it. I thought it was their intention to put it up as reunions were held.

Kay: I thought they were just going to put them around the school originally. I think they had several in the library at one time. I don't think it was just that one.

Bill: But they've taken them down? It was on the wall in '92. And I think we were told "yeah, we intend to put all the classes up," but they didn't, they didn't get around to it, I guess.

Yeah that was my reunion, you went with us. We were in Mr. Snider's office and Kirk was talking about how many times he'd been in there and had little chats with him, with J.P.

Kay: You know that portrait of Mr. Snider that hung in his office, Mrs. Vollmer gave that picture to his daughter.

Bill: Oh really. That was a beautiful picture.

Kay: Apparently they had taken it down and had it stored in a closet and she gave that to his daughter. She got all the trophies and gave those to people that were associated with the winning of the trophy.

Bill: It's better than what would have happened to them.

Kay: Well certainly, they were just going to throw it away. Weren't we lucky to have a person like that who cared that much. And gave [The East High Alumni Page] all these annuals.

Bill: I'm trying to remember who taught Home Ec. It was somebody that taught something else. Whoever this Home Ec. teacher was, it was Gail Boyd's class. We (Ronald Collins and I)used to hang out at the Home Ec class and get food. They would cook things. Like I can remember they were learning how to make tossed salad. They had a great big bowl of salad.

Kay: Learning how to make a tossed salad!

Bill: Ronald and I got salad. I bit down in there and I got a hold of a clove a garlic. And boy, it just about, you know mom never used garlic, I didn't know what I had. I pulled that out and the teacher said, "oh, they were supposed to rub the bowl with that not put it in there."

For many of us, our appreciation for East, the faculty and staff grows through the years as we realize what they did for us. It wasn't always those in the spotlight either, the coach, the principal, or the like. The special people at East went much further than that, as reflected in these recollections of the school custodian, Mr. Earl Spiller.

Bill: He was a super guy. Mr. Spiller. He did a lot for a lot of kids.

Kay: He had a house on the property.

Bill: Yeah, right, the school district furnished the house.

Alumni Page: It was there until they put up that Vo-Tech, I think. That's when they tore it down, when was that, '76?

Bill: I think someone in our class was telling me about, whatever it was, this person remembered what he had done for him.


Kay: He was a good man. And Jake Schorr was his right hand man.

A lot of you who live in Memphis may be scratching your heads, knowing you've heard the name Jake Schorr in recent years. That's right, it's the same Jake Schorr who has owned popular downtown restaurants, the North End restaurant in the Pinch district near the Pyramid being one of them.

In previous discussions with other alumni it was related that public transportation and simply walking was used a lot to get around because a lot of students didn't have access to a car in the late 1940's and '50's. But the Valviks remember a lot of cars belonging to students at East.

Bill: and new cars, convertibles, lots of convertibles.

Kay: New money coming out after the war.

Bill: Remember the Crosley automobile. It came out right after the war [World War II]. It was a tiny little car. It was called a Crosley. And Paul Lazarov ('52)] had a Crosley. One day they decided to play a trick on him. I guess it was parked out front. Three or four guys picked it up and they carried it down and set it outside of Mr. Snider's door. Took it right through the [front] doors. And they put another one up in a tree. Somebody else's wound up in a tree out here. It must have been one of these out front. Got it up in the tree! Jimmy McCormik, remember Jimmy, a lot of kids had cars, a lot of kids from wealthy families. Their parents gave them cars. More than I realized in those days. A lot of them had cars. Jim McCormick bought Miss Wills (faculty member) old Ford, she had like a '37 Ford or something. I mean it looked like a little old school teacher had driven it to and from work, you know, one of those. It was a beautiful car. He bought that thing and drove it around for years. Miss Wills was an English teacher. I really liked her.

Both Kay and Bill spoke highly of East's first coach and his wife, Kenneth and Margerie Holland. In addition to athletics, Coach Holland taught social studies. His wife thought English and was a guidance counselor.

Kay: Margerie Holland was the cheerleader sponsor and taught English. She was tough.

Bill: [pointing at picture of facluty member Mrs. Vollmer] She [Mrs. Vollmer]was at our reunion [in 1992]. Gloria Hendrics, she was there. She came with Mrs. Vollmer. They drove together. I guess Vollmer drove. And he was there, Mr. Siler was there. That was it. Those four were there. The Hollands were invited and something happened, one of them got sick, they live in Oaklahoma, and they just couldn't make it.

Kay: Now they came to that 40 year reunion, the East High 40 year reuion, not a class reunion. He told tales on those boys. He was football and basketball coach.

Bill: That's right. And baseball. He coached them all. I mean he was THE coach. He was the only one.

Kay: He was a good basketball coach.

East didn't have Elvis as a student, but many of our graduates have excelled in their chosen fields. One can immediately think of Cybill Shepard, Cedric Henderson, Kirk Fordice. Some excel in the public arena yet their names remain less well known, as Bill proved with one example.

Bill: I'm going to show you one I bet you've seen on TV and in movies and you'd never know it was this gal. This is Ann Thomas. Her name now is Anne Haney and she does character acting. She was in Mrs. Doubtfire with Robin Willaims. She was the social worker in Mrs. Doubtfire. I saw her just a couple of weeks ago on some on some show, too. She does a lot of TV situation comedies and she's been in a lot of major movies. Big in movies. ... She didn't come to our reunion but she'd sent a letter or something--had a whole list of credits, you know, of things that she had appeared in. It was really interesting. I was fascinated. But she was a thespian in those days. I bet it's on here. Does it say it on there? Journalism. Oh, look here, "senior class ambition: to be a journalist." She didn't turn out to be a journalist.


Alumni Page: Is that a flat top you have [in a yearbook picture]?

Bill: Oh yeah, absolutely. That was a big thing.

Kay: We were watching the old [home] movies we had transferred to tape, we were laughing about that crew cut.

The East High Alumni Page is very grateful to Bill and Kay for letting us visit with them about their East High experiences. We hope to visit with them repeatedly over the years, and with others, to learn more about the East of yesteryear.

Alumnus Reviews Famous Life
in New Book

Entertainer Cybill Shepard ('68) has written a book about her life. Cybill Disobedience was published in April. Cybill does not discuss her time at East to a great extent. The book largely details her life as a young child, then her career as a model, actress, and singer. Another prominent subject area throughout most of the book is her romantic relationships.
Shepard has a Web page with information about her from which her book can be purchased, The book can also be found in most U.S. bookstores and in public libraries.

Summer Reunions

Of the three major class reunions scheduled for this year, two remain to be held this summer. The Class of 1970 gathers June 23 and 24 in what promises to be a series of outstanding reunion events. Details for class members are available in the The East High Alumni Page's reunion section at
Later in the summer, the Class of 1975 gets together. August 4 and 5 are set for the class parties. Contact information is available on the reunions page.
In April, the Class of 1960 held two days of reunion events.

The next full page edition of the Mustang Roundup Alumni Edition will be published on an unscheduled basis. We are currently trying to publish it quarterly, which would mean the next edition would be September 1, 2000.

Return to The East High Alumni Home Page