As a student at Hyde Park High School in Chicago, we prided ourselves on the fact that Aviator Amelia Earhart and Comedian Steve Allen had gone there. The other day, I decided to do a little fact-checking and yes, Wikipedia confirmed that the illustrious Amelia Earhart did walk those hallowed halls and graduated from there in 1916. She continually mystifies the aviation world who are determined to find out what happened to her and Noonan on that ill-fated flight.
We also, bragged about being ranked as 17th in the nation back then, during the volatile 1960’s. Amid the war, we had state-winning cheerleaders who reminded us that SUCCESS, is the way to spell success at Hyde Park High. That mnemonic devise still rings in my ears and has sustained me over the decades.
We also had many local greats that graduated from Hyde Park High such as Herb Kent, the Kool Gent. He reminded me that I was indeed a boss feznecki, (a good –looking girl) when I was going through the insecure pre-teen years. He interjected these hilarious stories with his silky-smooth voice as he played the latest hits on the radio.
We had great leaders and teachers who led the young charge such the memorable Timuel Dixon Black, my cousin, Johnella Wells and the tiny sheriff/ assistant principal, Ms. Stacker. (We all feared her and we often went in the opposite direction if we heard she was in the hallway.) Others such as Ms. McElroy (English), Ms. Marva Lee (PE), Ms. R. Johnson (English), Mr. Schwab (Science) all dot the lengthy list of teachers who guided us, admonished us, and steered us towards the finish line.
Brian Doyle wrote, “A great deal of who she really is are stories we do not know, stories she may or may not share, stories perhaps even she does not know the meaning and shape quite yet. People are stories, aren’t they?” (Martin Marten) Thus, I share this story of some of the experiences from a place that truly shaped me in multiple ways. Hyde Park High helped me build upon a good foundation and walk on into the future singing the Beach Boys, ‘Good Vibrations!’
November 27, 2021