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'Your Memorable Years at Good ol' West End High'

Updated  07/09/19     Email  weonline@westendhigh.com     Contact Me  Here

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Our Memories - Page 1
Updated 07/09/2019


We invite you to share your memories (via email) of good times, funny situations, about friends or teachers, things that happened in and around West End, grade school, places you remember or whatever comes to mind. Some of the memories below were pulled from the Classmate Bio section (a few of these classmates are now deceased). You are sure to enjoy the memories shared below. Check out Memory Lane for a list of places we went and things we did.

Most recent posts and updates are in

I remember Ms Deliska Skinner, who taught art. Now there was a teacher! She taught me a lot about Art by letting me be free to do what was working for me; she was quick to encourage - to push. Did West End influence me? You bet! However, as hard as I tried, West End did not teach me Spanish, Ms. Hilleke and I did not get along that well. My friend Larry Johns and I would not stop laughing - then, Linda Lyle would give us a glance and the three of us could no longer hold it in - laughing out - til we cried. Can't understand why I could not pass that class! I know that it was not the teacher. I still take Spanish lessons. Also, I paid for my green Vespa working at the drive-in theater, and three years at Burger-in-a-Hurry. I hope that the new investments in the area will help improve the old neighborhood.

Shirley Wilder and I, both 8-year graduates of Central Park Elementary, often had lunch side-by-side. And occasionally, she would give me a bite or even swap her Buddy Bar (a waffle shaped cookie covered with peanut butter and chocolate) for whatever I had in my lunch sack, usually a homemade sugar cookie. At the time I thought I made the better bargain as we seldom had store-bought foods! So, wherever you are now, thank you, Shirley, for sharing. One of my favorite memories at WEHS was vocal with sweet Mrs. Davis, our teacher of the all-female vocal class. I sang with the altos, sitting beside Betty Carolyn Duncan maybe three semesters. In the soprano area, Margaret Cobb had her place. Both Betty Carolyn and Margaret had very nice singing voices. To make up for that lack, I added volume:):):). We would sing popular songs; I think mostly from Mrs. Davis’ youth. She had us write the lyrics in a brown spiral notebook which I no longer have. The only song I’m certain was included is Red Sails in the Sunset, one I still enjoy hearing. If anyone still has her notebook or remembers other songs, I’d love to know what you remember. Last and perhaps most meaningful!   When Harry and I married September 19, 1959, I was 16-years old and just beginning the second half of my junior year. Memory, the first of 3, was born October 21, 1960. So the last semester of my senior year was completed exactly a year after it would have been. Leaving the line in the lunchroom the first day of the semester, wondering where I could sit, where I would ‘sort of’ fit in, was intimidating. Fortunately, sweet Gwen Bryars, a friend from Central Park Methodist Church, invited each to join her table with her friends. Sometime we don’t know what our actions mean to another person. I’m sure Gwen had no idea what her kind invitation meant to me. Gwen, I hope you’ve enjoyed and are enjoying a good life. And a very belated huge thank you to you!

A little remembrance for one of WEHS more unique teachers. There probably has been only one time in all the years Mr. Baughan terrorized chemistry students that everyone managed to pass one of his quizzes. We're all sitting there, scratching various parts of our anatomy, trying desperately to figure out just what a molal solution was, when divine intervention occurred. We had a fire drill and all got to stand around outside for about 15 minutes before going back in to finish the exam. It must have been the sun shining on our heads that caused knowledge to grow that time! I went to Hemphill and at Tuscaloosa and 13th was the WE Theater, Donna Jean’s Candy Store, library, Alley’s Drug store and Spivey’s. The theater didn’t have a snack bar, so we first went to Alley’s for popcorn, then to Donna Jean's for a snow cone, then off to the movies: a news reel, cartoon, serial (where the hero always found a way to escape from an impossible situation) and then maybe a double feature. Spivey's had a mezzanine with all kinds of model “stuff.” They later moved across the street and focused on models. In '68, my oldest sister's husband was big into radio controlled airplanes which he was mail-ordering from Mr. Spivey. When they first dated and he first came to B’ham to meet the family, he was more excited about visiting “the temple of modeling,” (his words) and meeting Mr. Spivey. Also, across from WE Baptist, was a hardware store operated by the Brett family, a bakery, an A & P, a post office and a small jewelry store. On Fridays after school, we would stop at the jewelry store for free bubble gum. Across the street was a beer joint, Mickwee’s. I felt like a real adult when I turned 21 and went in for a beer. That part of West End, in retrospect, was a great place to grow up. None of the families had money, so there was little peer pressure. Everything we needed was within a few blocks of our house and there were tons of children around. My mom commented that she and dad came home one Saturday afternoon to find 17 kids on the front porch (about 40’ X 8’) of our 1,100 sq ft house. We had 8 people living in that house, 5 children, my parents and maternal grandmother. Just read through the memories. I especially appreciated the Cantrell comments about chemistry. John and Bill were in the same boy scout troop I was in and the same dorm at Alabama so I knew them quite well. As the chemistry comment went I give it a big amen. I made it through a quarter of chemistry at Birmingham Southern, two chem classes at U of A, made A’s to everyone’s amazement, including mine. But after all the afternoon tutoring we had with Mr. Baughan, college was a breeze, at least chemistry was.

This memory has stayed me with many years and will be appreciated by anyone who ever sat in Mrs. Baughan’s history class. She, like her husband, G.C., the chemistry teacher, was extremely demanding of her students. A friend of mine, who shall remain un-named, habitually came to class on Thursdays, ill-prepared. Mrs. Baughan, having noticed his Thursday morning shortcomings, asked him before the class, "R___, why are you seemingly not well-prepared on Thursdays? He replied that he had to attend prayer meetings at his church on Wednesday evenings and did not have enough time to both prepare the lengthy assignments and serve the Lord. Her reply was classic Baughan. She said, "R____, I’m sure you will make it to Heaven, but you are going to flunk history! Also, I have never forgotten my first day in Mr. Baughan’s chemistry class. He introduced us to his class with these words. “You will make a 100 on every exam in this class, or you will get an F. However, you may take the exam as many times as you need.” And he meant it. He stayed after regular school-hours many times, re-testing and coaching and teaching us until we got it perfect. I learned about such things as midnight oil for the first time. I, like many others, did not appreciate what he did for us until taking chemistry in college. We literally did not have to study chemistry in college. We just attended class, kept up with the current topic, and took the exams, completing them in 30-45 minutes for an A, while others were still sitting there struggling 2 hours later. When I bumped into Mr. Baughan at the courthouse several years later, I thanked him for what he had done for us and he replied, “Bill … or John, whichever one you are … this is  part of the great joy of teaching, to know that you are making an positive contribution to your students’ lives.”

I have fond memories of visits to Mr. Wood's (Uncle John) office and his saying," I know you boys did it, but I just can't prove it!"

Like many others, I remember Ms. Whaley and her peanut circus, Mr. Evans and his 'board of education', Ms. Draper and Ms. Walls from Speech and Ms Sophie Davis from Music. I remember Ms. Davis came to my home room and informed me that she had enrolled me in the choir (without me knowing) and that I would attend. She had me sing my first public solo. Today, along with pastoring a church, I do quite a bit of singing. I have written gospel songs that have been recorded by the Dixie Echoes and the Florida WMU. I suppose my most painful memory is when I heard that Scotty Harris, WEHS grad, had been shot down over Vietnam. Nothing more was heard about Scotty until nearly 20 years later when his bones were returned to the U.S.

I remember that about 3 weeks before Chemistry 2 class was to start, Mr. Baughan advised our class that many of us were not prepared to advance to Chem 2. I think the cut was a strong B, but regardless it certainly cut the C I was proud of. His suggestion to us unprepared ones, was to simply repeat Chem 1 and that all we would need to do was attend class, participate and not take weekly tests; we would then be prepared to advance. He suggested that if we decided otherwise, we would probably fail Chem 2. Not much of a choice, so about half of our class repeated Chem 1, but during this time we came up with a plan ... we would simply take Chem 2 at Phillips summer school and be done with Mr. Baughan's Chem. I was glad that Nancy Spurrier was part of our gang because with Mrs. Spurrier's school influence, what could happen to us? Well, it all turned out very successful, but there were rumors that Mr. Baughan didn't want WEHS to honor the credit from Phillips because he had a firm agreement, a contract with us, to return to his Chem 2 class. I often recall this West End High experience.

Does anyone remember when Tommy Scarbrough put pig eyeballs in Ms. Redfern’s aquarium (he really didn’t know that formaldehyde would kill fish)? I thought Ms. Redfern was going to have apoplexy, but those eyeballs entertained everyone for the whole day! How about Ms. Whaley and her peanuts lined up on the desk and named for students, then eating them when she called on you? What about Ms. Baughan's wart, which she (as a good Christian Scientist believing in mind over matter) adamantly refused to acknowledge as being on the side of her nose? And, of course, we, being teenagers of the '50’s, believed those stories about their marital arrangements and why Mr. Baughan rode a bicycle to work. 

Continue to Our Memories, Page 2, click here

Updated  07/09/19     Email  weonline@westendhigh.com     Contact Me  Here


 Online February 2001     By Cliff Walker     Copyright© 2001-2020