Dear Girls and Boys:

Tt's been mighty nice getting those V-mail letters from you lately.  Let me see now~it's been some years since you left Wilson.  Most of you asked in your letters how the "Alma Mater" was getting along since you left.  Guess I'd better begin at the beginning.

Remember 1940?  Terrible the things were going on in Europe and Asia.  Terrible things were happening in the United States, too!  As a matter of fact, terrible things were happening in the state of Virginia, in the city of Portsmouth, in a high school called "Wilson."  You guessed it! Another class of Freshmen timidly pushed open the big front doors of Wilson High.  Our class!  Some of us gazed around in a kind of petrified awe, others of us giggled nervously when ever an upper-classman came in sight and some few of us, who felt brave, gave everyone belligerent looks that defied them to call us "Rats."  That first day was a busy one!  We spent hours searching for "the elevator" that some Seniors had told us about.  You know~the same seniors that so generously sold us their seats in the auditorium.  In the course of the year we elected Winifred McAlpine as our class president and soon most of us were wholeheartedly engaged in the business of passing our subjects. Outstanding examples of our freshman fervor, were Betty Jane Hathaway, Mary Claire Jones, June Lassiter and Hart Slater who had the top report cards in their registration rooms.  Even at that time we knew we had an artist in our midst, for Lee Lively was named as one of the most outstanding members of the Art Department.  Of course, there were a few problem children in the class.  I have it on good authority that one member of the group received nine demerits before he knew what "demerit" meant.

Well, by September, 1941, we felt like veterans, and as Sophomores we de-cidej to settle down to business  "monkey business."  It was in that year that our most prominent "class comedians" reared their heads.  And so, with tradi-tional Sophomore sense of humor, many of 'is frittered our time away, for there wasn't anything that we didn't know about!  Luckily, however, some real mem-bers of the intelligentsia were still with us, for it was that year that Evelyn Arm-strong and Russell Cherry joined the "repOrt card toppers."  Tt was in that year also that Jackie Skeppstrom had the distinguished honor of being openly recog-nized as one of Wilson's thirty-nine red-heads.  Then, too, Soph. June Lochenour won the Tidewater public speaking contest and once again winsome Winnie Mc-Alpine was elected class president.  Yes, 1941 was a colorful year~and a tragic
year, for on December 7th, Pearl Harbor was attacked and we saw our schoolmates answering their country's call to arms, in ever increasing numbers.

Then came 1942!  Girls began wearing macaroni necklaces and Glen Miller was riding to new fame on "The Chattanooga Choo Choo." It was in 1942 that "Altavista's gift to Portsmouth," lean Hawley, enrolled in Wilson High.

Yep!  That was really a hot year!  Tt was made ever hotter when the school auditorium caught on fire and was saved, much to the credit of fast thinking fire-men and much to the disappointment of some students who desired a holiday!
By the following September most of us were juniors and we elected June Lassiter as our class president.  How did we know she was capable?  Well, she was the only student in Wilson who understood the rationing system and that was enough proof for us of her capability!

Almost before we knew it, 1943 was upon us and what a year for our class that was!  Isabelle Minchew was made editor-in-chief of TA' Student and that was only one of the feathers which was to adorn our class cap, for some weeks later our basketball star, Aubrey Sweet, was elected president of the Student Council and campaign manager Butch Leary shared in the triumph as well as the entire junior class.

Meanwhile, committees were being chosen and plans were being made for the annual Junior-Senior prom.  Despite the tack shortage, crepe paper shortage, balloon shortage, shoe rationing, the ban on pleasure driving, the manpower short-age, the rationing of certain punch ingredients (and I here refer to canned fruit), and the terrific downpour of rain on the night of May 28th, the dance was a huge success; chairman of the decoration committee, Helen Lawrence, had worked miracles. Then came exams, and we all prayed for passing grades 'cause of course we wanted to pass.  I think I speak for most of us when I say, "We dood it!"

Well, the next September found most of us Seniors.  "Cy" Plunkett was made Co-Captain of the football team and Carolyn Grimes began to wear lipstick!  It was in 1943 that we elected Garland Drake as our class president and "Deep In the Heart of Texas" held the place of honor in the juke box at "Murden's."

September, 1943, also brought tragedy to Wilson, for on the 25th of that month, while playing in a football game, our classmate and half-back, "Buck" Childs received injuries which proved to be fatal.  And so 1943 was swept out to the sweet strains of "Pistol Packin' Mama," and 1944 stepped into the limelight bringing with it Mary Claire Jones's up-hair-do and class rings and Beth Johnson, and Annual pictures and Evelyn Armstrong's sprained knee, and Baby Day and more 1-A Classifications, and calling cards and "Mairzy Doats" sermons, and war stamps, and finally graduation day and  oh I don't know! Just everything that could make a person's last year of high school complete!

Well, Boys and Girls, guess I'd better close now as it's getting pretty late. Write soon.

Return to the Top
Return to the Top
(To the tune of "But Not For Me")

The time has come to leave dear Wilson Hi
Each boy and girl is here to say goodbye.
Goodbye to you, dear one
You brought us friends and fun
And taught us how life's run
When it we try.
We'll miss the work,~we'll miss the friends we knew
The teachers, and the colors orange and blue
So as we leave your door returning nevermore
We sigh, farewell to you!

Jump to Class Song


Any corrections or omissions please submit them by E-Mail
web pages designed and maintained 
by John "Eddie" Lee class of '68
The Class Roster and pictures are as represented in the Woodrow Wilson High School, Portsmouth, Virginia yearbook or annual of the year indicated on the page.  The Roster may not be complete and pictures and names may have been removed by request of the person involved. Also, it does not officially indicate the year of graduation and/or that the party in question graduated.  If you are not represented in your class, you will be added to the last page of the year and you may submit a photo to be added.  All information on these pages came from the yearbook represented and alumni who have passed on information and may NOT be accurate  John “Eddie” Lee ’68.

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Woodrow Wilson
 High School
Portsmouth, VA