Category: Reminiscences

….and other random thoughts.

— by Clint Hughes

As the reunion approaches I get to touch base with people like Peter Robertson, Phil Pool and Steve Maley. It is amazing when you start talking to somebody and the life long connection is still there. Those guys could ALWAYS crack me up! …and they still do.

My dear dear sick sick “walk-home-from-school-everyday-after-school” lifelong friend, Steve Maley, suggested that I should entitle this post, “Is Clint’s Obsession with Coneys Freudian or Gastronomic?” I really did laugh so hard I cried and people in the office were wondering what the hell was going on! Only Maley….my pun protagonist.

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by Julie Price Davidson

In the field of journalism, the deadline is king. This reality came back to haunt me earlier this year when I heard about the death of an Edison teacher. Benson was not just any teacher. For me, she was THE teacher – the one whose influence was real and still remains with me today. Many of my high school memories have faded through the years, but the experiences with Benson remain vivid. She was direct, often confrontational, and always uncompromising in her pursuit of educating her students.

I first met Sandra Benson in sophomore journalism class, and I was hooked. She was unlike any teacher I had ever known – welcoming any and all questions and enthusiastically sharing the knowledge and practical expertise she had gained as a reporter for the Kansas City Star. She was ahead of her time in many ways, working in what was then a male-dominated profession and earning a master’s degree. And that energy and drive translated well to the classroom. She made it fun to learn, giving us an uncensored peek into the real world, which made us feel informed and emboldened.

Benson with her daughter at an EHS excurricular event.

Benson and her daughter Laura at an EHS extracurricular activity.

In the pre-digital era, Benson taught us the hands-on skills of laying out a page with a pica pole, counting a headline to fit, and using a proportional wheel to size photos. We learned the inverted pyramid style of newswriting, how to construct a strong “lead,” and the importance of proofreading (complete with hilarious and usually off-color examples of typos from her newspaper days.)

She was just plain cool – insisting we call her “Benson,” instead of “Mrs.” Benson; letting us sit on the tables as she taught us the art of collaboration; giving us freedom to come and go as needed to pursue a story or shoot the right photo; constantly challenging us to dig deeper; and most of all, treating us like people who could be trusted. Yet, there was never any doubt who was in charge!

Junior and senior years, I had her for both journalism and yearbook. She had instituted the awesome tradition of an early morning “kidnapping” of the new Torch staff members each year, followed by breakfast and her announcement of the new staff positions. A bit shy and somewhat insecure, I had applied to be a section editor as a senior. When she named me the new editor-in-chief, I was completely intimidated. I hadn’t asked for that role and I wasn’t sure I could do it. But in her inimitable way, Benson was telling me that I could and that I would.

I went on to major in journalism and am still working in the field of communications. It’s taken me years to fully appreciate the many life lessons Benson taught me and I had always intended to write her a letter of thanks someday. Then I read of her passing on Dec. 30, 2013. She had served Edison students for nearly 40 years, ending her career as a school counselor. Benson, thank you for caring about young people and for contributing so significantly to my life. And please forgive me for missing my deadline.

With Benson's blessing, the Torch staff had our yearbook photo taken at the Tulsa County jail.

With Benson’s blessing, the Torch staff had our yearbook photo taken at the Tulsa County jail.

Link to the article in The Tulsa World.

A Little Nostalgia for the Old Folks

More nostalgia from the folks at Retrospace, this one featuring the 1974 Sears Fall-Winter Catalog. One thing I do not miss about the 1970s is double-knit polyester.

Click on the image for more.

Retrospace - for all your '70's Nostalgia Needs

A blog called Retrospace is a one-stop shop for all your 1970’s nostalgia cravings. The image above is from an early ’70’s Sears catalog, but the outfits look suitable for an Eagles Pep Rally ca. 1973.

Click the pic to visit Retrospace.

Top 25 Movies of 1974

Mel Brooks had a pretty good year.

(ranked by Gross Box Office)


  1. Blazing Saddles – $119,500,000
  2. The Towering Inferno – $116,000,000
  3. Young Frankenstein – $86,273,333
  4. Earthquake – $79,666,653
  5. The Godfather Part II – $57,300,000
  6. Airport 1975 – $47,285,152
  7. The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams – $45,411,063
  8. The Longest Yard – $43,008,075
  9. Benji – $39,552,000
  10. Herbie Rides Again – $38,229,000
  11. Murder on the Orient Express – $35,733,867
  12. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre – $30,859,000
  13. Freebie and the Bean – $30,000,000
  14. Chinatown – $29,200,000
  15. Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry – $28,401,735
  16. The Great Gatsby – $26,533,200
  17. Thunderbolt and Lightfoot – $25,000,000
  18. Lenny – $23,244,000
  19. Death Wish – $22,000,000
  20. Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore – $21,044,810
  21. The Man with the Golden Gun – $21,000,000
  22. The Groove Tube – $20,447,000
  23. That’s Entertainment! – $19,100,000
  24. Macon County Line – $18,800,000
  25. The Front Page – $15,000,000

How much do you think it will bring on eBay?

I was in Mr. Johnson’s homeroom in 8th grade. The pine step stool was a required project in wood shop, a/k/a Industrial Arts. (Metals shop was the domain of Mr. Whitaker, a new teacher who had so little control of the students that he "left to pursue other interests" after only nine weeks.)

Mr. Johnson, though, ruled with an iron fist, or rather a wood paddle. I don’t have any idea how today’s teachers manage 30 8th grade boys without the threat of physical violence.

The only thing we knew about Charles Johnson was that he was Kevin’s dad. We found out many years later that he was a decorated hero of the Anzio beaches in WWII. No word what ever happened to Mr. Whitaker.

A long chapter in Tulsa’s history is coming to an end. Steve’s Sundry, Books & Magazines began offering its last worldly possessions for sale on Saturday, marking the end of a well-lived life that enriched the lives and minds of thousands of Tulsans dating back to the Truman administration.

When store owner Joanie Stephenson unlocked the door at 10 a.m. Saturday, a lengthy line of customers had formed outside the business, which has been a Tulsa institution since 1947. It has been at 2612 S. Harvard Ave. since 1958. …

Stephenson, the daughter-in-law of store founder Steve Stephenson, who died in 2011, said changes in the publishing industry, a decrease in the number of magazines being printed since the 2008 recession and the rise of e-books were among the factors that made it increasingly hard to stay in business. She said a 2 1/2-year attempt to sell the business proved unsuccessful because “nobody wanted to work this hard for so little money.”

Tulsa World, December 29, 2013

Frank Grimm Story #1

Frank Grimm was an assistant football coach at Edison our junior and senior years. He was an ex-TU football player who originally hailed from Philadelphia; he had a thick Philadelphia accent, like Stallone in Rocky, but that movie was still a few years in the future.

Several of the senior high coaches received classroom teaching assignments at Edison Junior High, and Coach Grimm was no different. He taught four periods of 7th grade geography, down in the prefabs on the far end of campus, before sixth hour gym.

Coach Grimm was a great guy who took coaching seriously. He always called me “Malley”, and with his accent it sounded more like “Maui”. I played the offensive line, as did Mitch Nalley. And then a new assistant coach, Tom O’Malley, became the offensive line coach for our senior year. It never occurred to me that some might find this confluence of names confusing.

During one practice, Coach Grimm tried to set up a blocking drill: “OK, let me have, uh … Randy McNalley!”

Mitch and I looked at each other. Who in the hell was Coach calling into the drill?

It was not until much later that I realized who this Randy McNalley dude was, and how he made such an impression on our coach. After all, Coach Grimm looked at his name all day long, hanging there in his prefab classroom, in the title block of the Mercator Projection of The World — “Rand McNally.”