By Pat Story, Special to ETR
Painting the water tower, toilet-papering teachers’ houses and stuffing a dead bat in one of the teacher’s desk drawers hardly scratches the surface of the pranks the Class of ’61 laughed about at their recent 50-year reunion.
Three of PTISD’s distinguished alumni come from the Class of 1961, and another four classmates have/had careers working for the school district. Thirty-two of the 72 graduates still live in the Longview area. Thirty-six classmates attended the reunion banquet, and a number of them offered a short tribute to 13 deceased classmates.
Moore said many would be getting together again this fall for the homecoming dinner with all PT alumni.
“A lot of us attended last year,” she said. “The Educational Foundation and Alumni Affairs have given our class another reason to get together (between reunions) as well as the opportunity to see alumni from other classes.”
The Class of ’61 was the smallest class of that decade and probably the closest-knit recalls Jackie Dean Wood, distinguished alumni of 1997 and a former mayor of Gladewater, Texas.
“We stand by each other and we continue to back our school,” said Smith who served for a number of years on the Board of Directors for the PTISD Educational Foundation.
Admitting he was one of the wilder ones, Butch Domino from Louisiana, stressed the fact that the students had respect for the teachers and the school back then. Pine Tree offered a quality education, he said.
Domino said his Bastrop H.S. class has not had many reunions, but he may go this year for the first time. His loyalty lies with Pine Tree, and although he didn’t graduate from Pine Tree, he said, the class is like a family to him.
Former PTHS principal Wallace Bardwell even remembers some of the pranks from the Class of 1961. He taught the students U.S. History and government that year and recalled the night that some of the boys put his Volkswagen on the porch of the auditorium. While he didn’t remember the details, Jackie Wood did. “About six of us guys picked Mr. Bardwell’s car up by hand and sat it up on the porch blocking the auditorium door,” he said. “Those in the senior play were inside practicing and we watched from a distance to see what they would do. They couldn’t figure out why they couldn’t get the door open until they walked around to see the car sitting up on the porch.”
Students reminisced about attending the movies in the 60’s when Longview had 3 downtown indoor theaters and 3 drive-in movie theaters. Wood said he remembered going to the Village Theater in Greggton (West Longview) when he was in first and second grade. “I would take 20 cents with me. My ticket cost 9 cents; I spent 1 cent for gum and 10 cents for a drink.”