Frenship HS class of 1954 celebrates 60 years at reunion

Sixty years after graduating from Frenship High School, members of the class of 1954 opened up their reunion to members of other classes who wished to come.

Nine of the original 27 graduates showed up Saturday night for tea and dinner at The Red Zone, where the classmates had a back room reserved for the get-together. Three more former Frenship students also turned out, including spouses of the 1954 graduates.

Many of the classmates have seen each other around through the years. Only three, Durven Baker of San Angelo and Jack and Myrtie Gibson of Lockney, traveled to Lubbock for the reunion.

A program for the event listed eight classmates who have died, as well as addresses for those who could not attend.

Myrtie Gaskins Gibson said the last class reunion for this group was 10 years ago.

Wilma Gayle Igo Burks was not supposed to be a member of the class of 1954 — she was on track to graduate with the class of 1955.

“I proposed, and she accepted, and I said, ‘We’re going to get married.’ She said, ‘I’m not out of school yet.’ I told her, ‘Well, you’ve got a choice,’ ” Joe Burks, her husband of almost 60 years, said.

“Yes, he did,” Gayle said of her husband’s account.

Because she wanted to graduate and to be married, she took classes at Texas Tech while still in high school and graduated in August 1954, just before the couple married.

Gayle said she remembers taking the bus to Frenship every day, but she said she loved her classes, especially home economics with Glenda Drennan.

“I really loved Frenship because of the home economics teacher,” Gayle said. “She was really great. A good lady.”

In 1954, poodle skirts weren’t yet a trend in the Lubbock area, but the girls did wear full skirts that Gayle said called “squaw skirts.” She indicated they came down just a few inches above the ankles.

“Everyone had one, because their mamas made them,” Gayle said. “And shoes that laced up. And Oxfords.”

“We were dressed very nicely. All homemade,” she said.

Also in 1954, she said her parents bought the family’s first television.

Her home in her last year in high school was where City Bank at 5219 City Bank Parkway now stands, she said. It was a farm that was technically inside of Lubbock Independent School District, but for her last semester, her father took them to meet the bus at the Dowd Switch, where Loop 289 and Marsha Sharp Freeway now meet.

She and her husband, Joe, eventually got their degrees from Tech and embarked on careers in education.

For 31 years, she taught kindergarteners, and he taught math and coached football, basketball and track for 43 years.

They even came back to Frenship for a few years. She was a young mother staying home with their three daughters, while he was an assistant football coach and junior high basketball and track coach.

Gayle said she is excited one of her six great-grandchildren will be attending Frenship Westwind Elementary School as a kindergarten student this fall.

“We have good memories (of Frenship.) We had excellent teachers, excellent teachers, straight out of Tech,” Gayle said with a giggle.

Another married couple at the reunion, Jack and Myrtie Gibson, disagreed about whether they were technically high school sweethearts.

“The first evening she rode on the bus, I come up behind her and I popped her in the ribs and said, ‘Move it on.’ And she turned around and knocked me on the floor nearly. And I’ve been trying to get even ever since,” Jack Gibson said.

So when did they start dating?

“The next evening, on the school bus,” he said.

During the next year, the couple had it rough. Myrtie’s father disapproved, but Jack had sworn he would marry her. He waited two years after he graduated, until Myrtie was about to graduate with the class of 1956. They got married May 5 and she graduated 17 days later.

One of Jack’s memories from going to school in Frenship was that first-graders met in a building outside of the main school building then. He called the first grade classroom “the outhouse.”

But Jack said he doesn’t have a favorite memory of going to Frenship High School in the 1950s.

“I enjoyed all of it, myself,” he said.

Myrtie said she enjoyed her school days as well.

Later in the conversation, Jack mentioned he enjoyed taking ag classes at FHS.

“We had a slaughterhouse there and we slaughtered hogs and everything,” he said.

While he was still in high school, he was farming in an area around what is now 34th Street and Indiana Avenue, he said. He is still farming, now in Lockney, where he has about 60 head of cattle, 50 acres of cotton and 240 acres of feed grass.

Jack said he has been looking forward to the class reunion since he got a call about it.

“It’s kind of exciting,” he said.

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