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jwphillips2

Nude Swimming at Johnston JHS

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Funny how this is burned into one's memory...from another '62-'65 nude Johnston Jr High survivor.

Everyone who called me a maniac here at work (their numbers are legion) about this subject has read this part of of the forum because they just couldn't believe it. I said "Look, I'm not saying we had catered orgies, I'm just letting you know that what really happened may not agree with your knowlege of history". That's what makes life so interesting! Nude DANCING would be different.

Edited by jwphillips2

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What happened to the former building?

They tore it down as the construction around it was occuring. If you go to the school now (and if memory serves me correct) the open space that is in front of the school is the is part of the site of the original building.

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With all due respect, that sounds like an urban legend.

No urban legend about it. My husband attended Johnston MS and yes indeed, they swam nude. :o;) In fact, when he told me about it, I accused him of making it up. Frankly, I was quite appalled by it, even alluding to the idea that the swim coaches must have been pervs, but he assured me it was totally accepted by all, no parental or student complaints, and apparently no untoward 'incidents' were ever reported. A different time indeed......

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What's wrong w/ being nude? It is how God made us isn't it?... shouldn't we be proud of that and not try and hide his great work??

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Yup, i went to Johnston in the early sixties, for 7th and 8th grade, and boys swam in the nude. Oddly enough, it didn't even seem especially weird at the time, certainly not like it would be nowadays.

I swam there the 1st semester of 7th grade. At one point, someone crapped in the pool. I am not making this up. This is too weird for me to make up. Someone looked over, and there was a floater, a big one, looking like a Baby Ruth, floating in the middle, there. We all howled and pointed, and every one got dressed, and no one swam for about a week, while Coach Capers and Coach Macy questioned each of us individually. When it was my turn, I went in the coach's office, and Capers looked me directly in the eye and said "We already know who did it. We just want to see if YOU will tell the truth about it." Truth be told, they never knew\ who it was; I don't think any of us did.

Lots of people blamed Dorfburger (name changed), who was the school "victim" at the time. Poor b&stard was always getting pushed down the stairs, or knocked into the wall, or his street clothes thrown in the shower during gym. You saw him crying some where or another every week that first semester. Since he was in that swim class, everyone immediately started pointing at him and ridiculing him, laughing "Dorfburger did it!". I often wonder what happened to him today, 45 years later. Probably today he's a loan officer somewhere, turning down loans of people like those who used to hound him. More power to you, Dorfburger, wherever you are.

The coaches were straight ahead guys, from what I could tell. Disciplinary pops, from Capers or Macy, were to be avoided, if at all possible. They could give no more than three, but you did not even want ONE. No thank you , sir. It wasn't going to kill you. They were merely applying the board of education to the seat of knowledge. You could hear the pop through the door of the coach's office, so if we knew someone was getting pops, we'd gather on the other side of the door, and listen for that muffled "WHOOMP!!!" One may not have liked Capers nor Macy, but they got respect, unlike most teachers today.

I am glad to have found this thread, so I too can show some people, who flat out did not believe it when I told them about the nude swimming. I was beginning to think I hallucinated the whole thing..

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LOL. Good post Stu. I don't really remember the nude swimming but I do remember getting a lot of swats from the coaches. Especially Capers and Macy. Did my drivers ed with Macy in his Mustang. He was quite a character. Used to tell us stories how he escaped Poland during WWII.

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What's wrong w/ being nude? It is how God made us isn't it?... shouldn't we be proud of that and not try and hide his great work??

Hey, if God wanted us to walk around naked, we would have been born without clothes!

oops....wait a minute...

never mind.

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I don't know about y'all, but out in the neck of the woods we grew up in, we swam naked all the time, we didn't even own swim trunks. If we went to Galveston we wore homemades to keep from going to the pokey. What's the big deal, skinny dipping has been around since the beginning or time. Just don't see the issue. Junior High back then isn't like it is now days. Kids were still kids back then. Nowadays kids grow up too fast or at least they think they do. Some really do. My wife has had some of her fifth graders come up pregnant, never heard of such a thing back in grade school. Shoot if you got to kiss a girl by the 6th grade in the 50's you were Hugh Hefner! Things just aren't like they used to be.

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Here's something for all you Greyhounds. I STILL have two of my directories (don't have the 62-63 edition)

If anyone is interested, I can also scan some of the pages (not the student lists, but I'll scan faculty and other info.)

60-61.jpg

61-62.jpg

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I like that overview of the original campus on the 61-62 directory. An addition to the 2 story wing on the north side of the campus was added around 1966-67, correct? That's what I was told by one of my teachers who was a student around that time.

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I'd love to see some more of those directories Alpha. 62-63 was my first year (I'm still a young man), but I bet most of the faculty was the same.

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I'd love to see some more of those directories Alpha. 62-63 was my first year (I'm still a young man), but I bet most of the faculty was the same.
  • Like 1

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I don't know about y'all, but out in the neck of the woods we grew up in, we swam naked all the time, we didn't even own swim trunks. If we went to Galveston we wore homemades to keep from going to the pokey. What's the big deal, skinny dipping has been around since the beginning or time. Just don't see the issue. Junior High back then isn't like it is now days. Kids were still kids back then. Nowadays kids grow up too fast or at least they think they do. Some really do. My wife has had some of her fifth graders come up pregnant, never heard of such a thing back in grade school. Shoot if you got to kiss a girl by the 6th grade in the 50's you were Hugh Hefner! Things just aren't like they used to be.

Right on, Mark! When I was in the 6th grade in the mid-40's, makin' out was holding a girls hand, or really makin' out for a 6th grader was putting your arm around her at the Saturday movies. We got an excuse to kiss when we played "spin the bottle". The times... they have really changed.

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Info from 61-62

Info61-62.jpg

Wow, thanks for posting this. John Brandstetter was also principal at the school I attended in the late 70s, almost 20 years after this picture was taken. He was Dr. Brandstetter by then, having acquired an Ed. D. at some point in the interim. He lived to the ripe old age of 90, passing away in 2005.

John Brandstetter obituary from Houston Chronicle archives

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Right on, Mark! When I was in the 6th grade in the mid-40's, makin' out was holding a girls hand, or really makin' out for a 6th grader was putting your arm around her at the Saturday movies. We got an excuse to kiss when we played "spin the bottle". The times... they have really changed.

Just because you weren't getting any doesn't mean other kids were less sexually active in the 40s than they are today.

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I lived in my dad's hometown (San Antonio) for a few years. It really is a small town--Two older women I met, hearing my family name and history, telling me about how my father (the 5 foot 7 'shy' skinny mechanic) loved 'em and left 'em.

In 10th grade.

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No problem, here they are:

Faculty 60-61

Faculty60-61.jpg

Info from 61-62

Info61-62.jpg

Faculty 61-62

Faculty61-62.jpg

Hummm. A lot of those teachers were still there in the 69-72 era.

Williams was still principal when I was there. Duff sounds real familiar..

I think he might have been at Westbury when I was there.

When I was there, a Mr. Anderson was asst. principal.

He had a real deep voice.. "Peeeoooople" was usually

one of the first words out of his mouth.

Quite a few of those teachers were still there in 69-72.

Some I had forgotten all about.. IE: Mr. Melanson.. I'll never forget

that guy.. Was real hairy... :/ With a little more, he could

have been in the Planet of the Apes movies.. lol

I notice Munson ran the band in those years..

When I was there, Munson had gone on to Westbury, and

Ken Mueller was band director. I had Munson when I went on to Westbury.

I dunno if they had nekkid swimming when I went there. I really can't

remember, as I didn't go swimming too many times there..

But.. I don't remember going nekkid, so we must have had suits

I guess, or I just forgot about it. I was a track and cross country

boy back then, so I was off running most of the time..

We won both City and State two years in a row when I was in 8th, 9th

grade. First under Coach Macy, and then with Coach Walker

who came in after Macy left, or got fired or whatever..

I remember Coach Macy and Sanderson got into a fight, and

Macy was fired I think. :/ I forgot what happened to Sanderson.

He might have stayed, but I forgot..

MK

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Just because you weren't getting any doesn't mean other kids were less sexually active in the 40s than they are today.

Just because I wasn't getting any when I was 11, doesn't mean I didn't know what was going on then or later.

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From my days in HISD as a teacher some names sound familiar...Mr. Melanson's wife taught at Fondren JHS in the 70s and 80s and they lived down the block from my family in Bellaire in the 50s-60s he also drove a school bus to JJHS( they are both still alive and I see them occasionally), Oliver Littlejohn went on to be Stadium Director at Butler complex and his wife was secretary to Principal ZT Madeley at Fondren, Jim Ashmore went on to be Athletic Director for HISD in the 80s. There are some other names that I feel certain about but NOT that certain so I'll shut down.

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I had Miss Alsobrook for history and remember how patient she was with us hoodlums. I marveled at her description of Texas City blowing up in 1947 as she was in Houston when she heard it(!).

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[iE: Mr. Melanson.. I'll never forget

that guy.. Was real hairy... :/ With a little more, he could

have been in the Planet of the Apes movies..

I had him for mechanical drawing. I remember him for his influence and his strong cajun accent. I later took mechanical drawing in college, and even later took computer assisted cartography, remote sensing, GIS, and now I teach Geographic Information Science at the undergraduate and graduate level, a five course Remote Sensing GISystems, Geovisualization sequence. I was the one that finally chased the drafting boards and pens out of the department, replacing them with computers.

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I also went to Johnston 63-66 and we absolutely did swim nude. I had moved from a very small Tennessee town and found this to be "big city weird." Guys would try to "goose" each other. I hated it. The reason for it that I heard was that guys would leave wet swim trunks in the gym lockers and that would really be a mess. As it was I remember using the same gym clothes all week. After playing football or whatever outside in Houston weather they absolutely were soaked and reeked by Friday. It just wasn't cool to take home your gym bag every day.

I also had Coach Macy for behind the wheel driver's ed - in his red '66 Mustang GT convertible. People cannot believe we got to do that! When we came upon roadwork he would coach us not to hit the "Indians."

Edited by Westbury69

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Did any of you guys catch the article in last Saturday's paper? I went to Johnston at the same time as the author. Great article although he speaks of a man that swam naked at Johnston in much earlier days. I didn't think Johnston was even built until the late 50's.

Chronicle article

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Did any of you guys catch the article in last Saturday's paper? I went to Johnston at the same time as the author. Great article although he speaks of a man that swam naked at Johnston in much earlier days. I didn't think Johnston was even built until the late 50's.

Chronicle article

I suspect David Kaplan is the same guy who started this whole conversation a long time back. Countless kids who went to Houston schools in the 40s, 50s and early 60s had no problem with swimming in the nude at junior high school, and if they did have a problem with it they kept it to themselves, and they don't sit around whining about it now the way this guy Kaplan is doing.

I'm sorry he was embarrassed, but he needs to get over it. Good grief.

Edited by FilioScotia

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I suspect David Kaplan is the same guy who started this whole conversation a long time back. Countless kids who went to Houston schools in the 40s, 50s and early 60s had no problem with swimming in the nude at junior high school, and if they did have a problem with it they kept it to themselves, and they don't sit around whining about it now the way this guy Kaplan is doing.

I'm sorry he was embarrassed, but he needs to get over it. Good grief.

As I went to Black jr. high and Waltrip sr. high in the mid to late 1960's, swimming naked in the pool during a P.E. class was a mandatory thing, to learn how to do some basic swimming. I particulary didn't like it, but as it was "required" I did it and got over it.

I do remember 1 time where the boys were in the pool and the girls P.E. class started to come in with their coach. About a half dozen girls came in and then were quickly ushered out again. They had swimsuits on.

I bet those first few girls got a peek of the guys that were hanging on the diving board. :o

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I suspect David Kaplan is the same guy who started this whole conversation a long time back. Countless kids who went to Houston schools in the 40s, 50s and early 60s had no problem with swimming in the nude at junior high school, and if they did have a problem with it they kept it to themselves, and they don't sit around whining about it now the way this guy Kaplan is doing.

I'm sorry he was embarrassed, but he needs to get over it. Good grief.

David Kaplan is a good guy. Very architecture-savvy, and IIRC, the owner of a small and contextually appropriate new house in the East End. I don't know about him starting the discussion but I'll bet he was aware of it. I am frequently amused by how often it happens that stuff discussed on HAIF turns up later in the Chron.

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David Kaplan is a good guy. Very architecture-savvy, and IIRC, the owner of a small and contextually appropriate new house in the East End. I don't know about him starting the discussion but I'll bet he was aware of it. I am frequently amused by how often it happens that stuff discussed on HAIF turns up later in the Chron.

Whether Kaplan started this discussion or not, my point is that as an adult who is no doubt in his 50s, it's long past time for him to get over the things that embarrassed him when he was a kid.

Earth to Kaplan: It was NO BIG DEAL.

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We never had swimsuit issues, the pool at Deady was broken, the whole time I was there, and probably many years before that. Only the swim team saw the pool at Milby. They wore swimsuits for yearbook pics. That's all I know. :lol:

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Whether Kaplan started this discussion or not, my point is that as an adult who is no doubt in his 50s, it's long past time for him to get over the things that embarrassed him when he was a kid.

Earth to Kaplan: It was NO BIG DEAL.

You don't get to tell other people what's a big deal and what isn't. And I'm not sure why you want to. Does it bug you that it was a big deal to someone?

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Whether Kaplan started this discussion or not, my point is that as an adult who is no doubt in his 50s, it's long past time for him to get over the things that embarrassed him when he was a kid.

Earth to Kaplan: It was NO BIG DEAL.

I thought the thrust of the article was mostly that it was a historical footnote which seemed both quaint and surprisingly forgotten. And how normal it seemed at the time and how strange it seems today. The whole embarrassment about nudity issue is pretty much a given in junior high for almost everyone, it doesn't require swimming. I wonder how many junior high schools/middle schools even have a swimming pool. I've never seen one.

There were lots of mortifying things that happened to me in junior high. I don't know anyone who remembers that time fondly. Being well and truly over it and apparently being a functional adult doesn't mean that I can't remember plenty of that stuff even now. I don't see how DK is any different.

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I thought the thrust of the article was mostly that it was a historical footnote which seemed both quaint and surprisingly forgotten. And how normal it seemed at the time and how strange it seems today. The whole embarrassment about nudity issue is pretty much a given in junior high for almost everyone, it doesn't require swimming. I wonder how many junior high schools/middle schools even have a swimming pool. I've never seen one. There were lots of mortifying things that happened to me in junior high. I don't know anyone who remembers that time fondly. Being well and truly over it and apparently being a functional adult doesn't mean that I can't remember plenty of that stuff even now. I don't see how DK is any different.

My reaction to his article was different from yours. For me, he came across as still a bit traumatized by the experience, and bewildered that he can't find anyone who can explain why it was done.

Admittedly, swimming pools are probably a thing of the past at many public schools. Liability insurance costs alone would seem to militate against them. ALTHOUGH, a good many high schools have them. Recall a student drowned in the pool at Westside High School just last month. And that's a fairly new school.

Edited by FilioScotia

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For me, he came across as still a bit traumatized by the experience, and bewildered that he can't find anyone who can explain why it was done.

That's just good journalism. I can't honestly say I remember swimming naked, although I undoubtedly did. Not sure if my memory's vague because it wasn't that big of a deal or because of all the chemical enhancements I took later in the 60's. Probably the latter.

I still thought it was a great article.

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Hummm. A lot of those teachers were still there in the 69-72 era.

Williams was still principal when I was there. Duff sounds real familiar..

But.. I don't remember going nekkid, so we must have had suits

I guess, or I just forgot about it. I was a track and cross country

boy back then, so I was off running most of the time..

We won both City and State two years in a row when I was in 8th, 9th

grade. First under Coach Macy, and then with Coach Walker

who came in after Macy left, or got fired or whatever..

I remember Coach Macy and Sanderson got into a fight, and

Macy was fired I think. :/ I forgot what happened to Sanderson.

He might have stayed, but I forgot..

MK

I ran track and played football at Johnston. Walker coached track and 7 grade football during my 7th and 8th grade year and he then went to Wheatly to coach track. He was the best coach I ever had. I won district and city in the 100 and 440 relay under Coach Walker while at Johnston. I also played 2 years of football for Coach Ahr and Coach Johnson. Coach Ahr was a little wierd but Coach Johnson was great. Coach Fisher coached the Varsity basketball team and I think he is the Principle at Foneville now. Then there was coach Tucker. Coach Macy came along my 9th grade and was a total jerk which was a big reason why I quite track right after I won district. I had to for go going to the city track meet but it was worth it.

Edited by redraider

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I was there from 60 to 63 and took swimming lessons during pe class in 1960. We wore bathing suits.

ETA: I just remembered this. We not only did not swim nude, but we didn't want to strip down in front of each other to put on our bathing suits. In those days, girls still wore full petticoats. We would move the petticoat to our necks so that way we could put on our suits without anyone else seeing us.

Oh, Alpha, thanks, no one believes me now, but not one girl ever saw me in my underwear, much less nude! We used the multiple, flouncy petticoat shield for changing into our gym suits as well. I attended Pershiing Jr. High from 1953-1956 and never took swimming. I do recall those girls who did swim were required to take nude communal showers and the rest of us twittered they must be lesbians to flaunt their nudity like that. But in the pool, they always wore bathing suits.

There was a rumor that the boys swam nude and one day, a girl decided to check it out. She stealthily sidled up to the pool door only to find it locked tight, leaving our questions unanswered, but suspicions running higher.

As for the controversy about silly modesty, that came into play, but seriously, most kids of that age simply were not that proud of their bodies and feared negative comparisons. I would think the guys would suffer from that especially, worried about size of equipment in front of the "big" boys.

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I appears that nude boys nude swimming was the norm nationwide, and not swimming with bathing suits. The stories at Johnston I think help confrim this. I grew up in Dearborn Michigan and we had nude swimming also required at all junior high schools and high schools. Infact I found out that one of the oldest pools in Dearborn, started nude swimming classes in the 6th grade and was first opened in the mid 1920's. When I started at Stout Jr. High in the early 1970's we had our first nude boy's swim classes starting in 7th grade. At our school it seems that we were taught to believe that swim suits were not needed. I discovered a University Pool in the Tri State Region (Ohio, Indiana, Michigan) that had a private all boys swim club for 6th grade to high school age boys that had required nude swim practices still in 1992!!!! The boys, in fact, preferred swimming nude and did not want to join any other team. Somewhere around 1980 it seems, there was an abrupt change nationwide and about 99% of the nude swim teams and nude swim classes were discontinued. I am not sure what prompted such as dramatic shift as now it is described as illegal, immoral, perverted,and even gay. It is this polical shift of attitude I believe that is preventing nude swimming from making a come back at our public and private clubs and pools around the United States today. It does not seem as if we have any nude boys swimming teams now days. I also do not know why the girls were required to wear swim suits. It seems at least that it should have optional for girls to wear a swim suit, if in fact, clean water, less chlorine, and personal hygiene was the public health reason behind this idea. It is still common these days for public pools to be closed down for health reasons because the swimmers do not take a soap shower and are still wearing the same clothers they were just running for an hour in. Now that is what seems creepy to me.

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All I know is that we were still showering after every gym class in the sixties. I went to a school that didn't have a pool, but I can't imagine that it would have been any kind of a big deal. I, personally, don't think the world is that much different in terms of "people". What is different is virtually everything is known and publicized in this day. I can assure you that, being a middle school teacher, there is no innocence left but at the same time I can't imagine nude swimming now. How the world has changed.

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