As you know, it has been 44 years since we walked the halls of dear old Bell High. But, why at 44 and not, say, the 45th year? You could say, that the 44th year marks when we started our Senior year at Bell. But, Susan and Dane had talked casually about a reunion. Then, a few people came along, volunteered and the enthusiasm kicked in to propel us beyond just talk.
Our school then was a fairly new one. Having been built in 1956, its classrooms and offices were built on one level spread out with breezeways instead of multiple stories.
In 1965, Mr. Newell H. Odell was the Superintendent; Mr. H.O. Dunn was the Principal and Mr. William Gay, the Vice-Principal. The Mustang galloped the nation’s highways, YESTERDAY the Beatles needed HELP! with MICHELLE and the Rolling Stones couldn’t get no SATISFACTION. On our TV’s, the Man from UNCLE was Bewitched by the Addams Family, while Batman was stranded on Gilligan’s Island with Hogan’s Heroes. Movies we watched included The Sound of Music, Dr. Zhivago, Thunderball, Cat Ballou and the Beatles’ Help!
What Really Happened To Our Classmates?
All of us are well past 60 years of age and more of us have reached our "expiration date" than you might imagine. Before it is too late have you ever wondered what was really going on in the heads of those people you knew in high school who you simply assumed were bullies or jocks or cheerleaders or Raiderettes or Band Members or geeks or just ordinary people and nothing else. It actually makes us want to get in touch with people we barely knew in high school just to find out who they were now.
1965 has been described as, "when the bottom fell out. After we graduated, dress codes disappeared. Drugs, other than beer, were totally unknown to us at Bell. We were the last class of the optimistic and functional period."
The conditions the class of '65 graduated in were not as tough as those currently. Back then it wasn't as frenetic. Now there's more of a breakdown of family, of young people unsure what it means to be American. We should be appreciative of the opportunity we got to live in a place like the HEB area.
Vietnam was coming more and more into our consciousness when the US commenced sustained bombing of the North and US combat troops increased from 11,300 three years earlier to 184,300 in 1965. During the course of the war, our classmates David Henry, Dwayne James, Bill Vaden and Kenny Lasater lost their lives in Vietnam.
Some other Milestones included the deaths of Winston Churchill, Nat King Cole, T. S. Eliot and Adlai Stevenson. In February, Malcolm X was assassinated at a Harlem rally. In August, blacks rioted for six days in the Watts section of Los Angeles leaving 34 dead, over 1,000 injured, and nearly 4,000 arrested.
In Science, Arno A. Penzias and Robert W. Wilson's discovery of cosmic background radiation confirmed the "Big Bang" theory. Early Bird, the first commercial communications satellite was launched. Wally Schirra and Thomas Stafford aboard Gemini VI performed the first rendezvous with another spacecraft, Gemini VII, with Frank Borman and James Lovell. Cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov, leaving his spacecraft Voskhod 2 for 12 minutes, becomes the first person to walk in space, while Edward White II became the first American to walk in space on June 3.
Remember those elementary school lessons on the solar system when Pluto was a planet. On August 24, 2006, the International Astronomical Union declared Pluto a dwarf planet and shrunk the number of planets in our solar system down to eight.
In Literature, popular books and authors included Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse, An American Dream by Norman Mailer, The Source by James A. Michener, Theodore H. White’s The Making of the President, 1964 and The Man with the Golden Gun by Ian Fleming.
Other Events That Happened in 1965
In St. Louis, Missouri, the 630-foot-tall Gateway Arch is completed.
Sony introduces it's Betamax video recorder.
The cost of mailing a letter was a nickel, Jack Clark’s hamburgers were a quarter, gas was nineteen cents and health warnings had just appeared on cigarettes. Brooke Shields was born, lava lamps became popular and the silicon chip was invented.