Heart to Heart 165

Hollywood High

I was playing tennis today at Poco Diablo which I do four or five times per week.  I talk a lot and one of the ladies remarked ” did you used to get in trouble for talking so much?  It immediately reminded me of Physiology class at Hollywood High school.  It was by far my favorite studies class.  We had an eccentric teach named Mrs. Vollmer.   She had been teaching there for many years.  She had a young spirit and loved what she did.  I chatted a lot in this class.  She had a rule that if a student was caught talking they had to come up to the front of the room and stand in the corner facing the wall for two minutes.  If a student was caught eight times or more during the year, then their name was engraved on a plaque, which was located in the famous corner.  Naturally I was caught eight times and my name was listed right below Lana Turner’s name!  I used to brag that Lana Turner and I were close.  She was on top and I was below her!

Our school was famous for more than just it’s name.  We were featured a few times in the Reader’s Digest magazine.  The students did most of all the jobs in the school except for teaching.  We answered the switchboard, ran the book store and candy shop.  Cleaned the school and worked in the cafeteria serving.  We had a budget, which I believe was around $50,000 for the year, and we were credited with our work hours to pay for it all.  We also raised money each fall by selling thousands of Delicious apples which were trucked down from Washington state.  The apples sold for twenty five cents each.  You could buy an apple at the grocery store then for a nickel.  We used those funds to finance hospital beds in a local hospital for those less fortunate.  We also collected a couple of thousand Red Cross boxes full of school supplies each year and sent them around the world to countries that needed them.

Each Easter senior class members ushered at the huge Sunrise service at the famous Hollywood Bowl.   About twenty thousand people would attend. In exchange for providing that service; our classes graduated at this prestigious location.  I sang in Boys Glee club back then and I got to perform at the Hollywood Bowl; joined by three hundred other voices.  It was a lifetime memory.  The acoustics at the bowl were such that with just a regular spoken voice; the sound would carry a hundred yards away to the audience. I remember tearfully singing the high notes for The Lord’s Prayer and the energy filled every cell of my being.

It was no wonder that on my graduation day in June of 1958, I cried again.  This time it was tears of sadness because I never wanted to leave this remarkable school.  One final footnote.  I got to be in drama class with Stephanie Powers, Linda Evans and Mike Farrell.  And I was in class with Ricky Nelson. No, I didn’t have the talent or the nerve to go into show business.  However, matriculating there might have been the next best thing.  From my fondest memory heart to yours, Thomas



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