Monday, 23 December 2013 16:18

Santa Fe High School 1953-55

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“Beer, Beer, for Santa Fe High”

 Santa Fe High School 1953-1955

By Arthur Scott

(Note: Content is copyrighted and may only be used ith author's permission.)


    Bueno  chicas, chicos, damas y caballeros; let me tell you estory de dias  antiguos. May be true –may be not. In any case no names have been changed to protect the innocent.

    First I want to set the location. Right smack-dab downtown! SFHS encompassed the block bounded by Lincoln, Federal Place, Marcy and Grant streets. The front entrance and principal’s office faced Lincoln Street. Across Marcy Street from the main campus was the auto-mechanics shop presided over by Mr Jack Boulton. Also across Marcy Street were the Little Chef Grill, Hyde's Bakery, and Boyle's florist (required for proms, snowball formal, etc). Just down Lincoln Street was BatRites Grocery store. All of which served as emergency back up when school cafeteria food became unbearable or sort of handy places to meet shortly with girls at noontime.

    The school was comprised of three connected buildings. There was a two-story building facing Lincoln which, in 1955 was still unnamed and known as "The New Building." The buildings ran east and west, connecting to the Sena Building and  culminating with Seth Hall which included the gym. The school was designed by Meem so of course most was fake adobe, pueblo style. The central area of the lot facing Marcy Street was student and faculty parking.



 Santa Fe High School 1954



    At this time there were only two primary high schools in town, St Michael’s and Santa Fe High School. Santa Fe High was the “Demons” and St. Michael’s were the “Horsemen.”  To this day, I find it difficult not to precede the word “Horseman” with an impolite Spanish or English adjective. 

   The Demon fight song, “Beer, Beer, For Santa Fe High,” was sung to the Notre Dame fight-song

melody.  It began in the early 1940’s, as I remember from my older sister’s school days, and lasted until the 1960’s when it was deemed inappropriate for a public high school.  It went something like this:



Beer, Beer, For Santa Fe High


Beer, beer, for Santa Fe High,

        Shake those cocktails up to the sky,

Send old Morehead after gin.

              But don’t let the gosh darn Sweeny in,

           We may stagger but we’ll never fall,



   As an adolescent boy in high school, my brain was compartmentalized into three major and one minor areas. The major areas were reserved for cars, girls and beer. The brain activity and order of importance of these three areas changed from moment to moment. The minor area of my brain was reserved for classes, teachers, working/money, and everything else in life.

     I don't recall who was principal at the time. I do remember being sent to his office once for some minor infraction. After sitting in fear in his outer office for what seem like years, I was called into the big office. I told him the Mrs. -- sent me to see him. He said "Take a quick look. I am in a hurry. And don't do it again." His sense of humor must have struck a chord because I was never sent to the principal again. Teachers that I can recall include Misters Wilson, Thomas, Robbins (could draw a perfect circle on the board in geometry), Capshaw, Burgess, Powell, and Reel. And Mrs. Daniels, Horsey, and Dinkle.

    My nemesis was Horsey. My senior homeroom teacher.  She took an instant dislike to me and anything that went on it was "Pete see the guidance counselor. Pete see the principal and on and on." Her perception was bad. I was a class cut up but never did the things of which I was accused. In spite of her I have been able to get an engineering degree, do some graduate work, serve in the military, become a registered Professional Engineer in NM, and work as an engineer/hydrologist for the USGS for 37 years. Surprise!

  Cars were a good thing in high school.   Allowed one to date girls, go skiing, go to work and other important adolescent things. Back in the day drivers license were issued to fourteen-year olds. I went through that scary coming-of-age process and set out on a quest for a car. First job was a grocery sacker at the first supermarket in Santa Fe. It was Piggly Wiggly on the north side of Cordova Road. Also delivered the Denver Post on my bicycle. I soon saved $75, bought a 1936 Chevy four-door sedan, and was on the road to independence. This car was "the drive-in beast!" Santa Fe was becoming a city and we boasted two drive-in movies, the Pueblo in Teseque and the Yucca on Cerrillos at the edge of town. With this car I could load four in the trunk, buy a ticket, and park. Then magically the rear seat would fold down and six of us enjoyed the movie or whatever for the price of two. It wasn't about the money but rather the challenge. This car had one (?) minor fault. On a 1936 Chevy the headlights were mounted on the side of the hood. Occasional bump caused the right light to rotate ninety degrees and point at the ground. Required car to stop and person riding shotgun, male or female, to  exit the car and rotate the light into a forward position.

   Poor car met it's demise on a tri to the ski run. Four of us guys went up on a Sunday. We went up early and pretty much broke trial going up.  Spent the day skiing, harassing Texans, and aggravating Ernie Blake. By the time we were ready to leave, the snow plow had plowed the road. Hit a false edge and the car plunged over the side of the mountain headed a thousand feet down to the Plaza.  Luckily our descent was stopped by a 6-inch aspen.  We were well covered by snow over the hood. We as invincible teenagers thought it was funny. We forced a front door open and crawled backup to the road. A car of nice Texans stopped for us and gave us all a lift to my house on Washington.  A call to a local tow service (Clarks?) and they would retrieve my car for $75. The steering worm-gear had been stripped so it became one of many cars in their junkyard. Next came a 1941 Plymouth, then a metallic-blue 1940 Ford convertible which eventually ended up with a Mercury engine,  lowered rear and dual pipes: and finally a 1946 Chevy convertible which lasted into college.

   Of course all this extravagant living cost money. Gas was running $.35 a gallon. cokes were a dime, Coors or Canadian Ace were six for a dollar, and movies around $0.35 to $ 1.00 depending on seating choice; balcony or rockers at the Lensic.  Besides the two drive-in movies (closed in winter) we had our choice of the Lensic, El Paseo, or Burro Ally all on San Francisco street downtown. And for some period the Santa Fe Theatre on Cerrillos road located at what was at one time the Ford dealer, Sanco Motors. To support these I worked at a variety of jobs while in school and during summers. Some of my careers included grocery sacker, paper boy, and the longest was dog groomer helper for Claude James and her girlfriend "Happy" Krebs. Their place was "The Clip Joint" on College and Alameda in the two-story building across the street from the Orchard Court. Next door, in the same building, was Hillyer's Market. Run by Bob Hillyer, his older brother (and butcher) John and their dad. I worked there or about three years.

   Social activities, after school and on weekends,  covered a large part of town. In addition to movie dates there was always "buy you a coke?" at Capitol Pharmacy or Zook's Pharmacy, Both on San Francisco street and with soda fountains over crowded with raging adolescent hormones on weekdays after 3:00 pm.  These were common meeting grounds for students from St, Michael's, Santa Fe High and Loretto.  Just as a side note, no one in those days ever heard of Frito pies. At nighttime things were different and we hung out at either Chuck's Drive In on Pen  Road or Bert's Drive In on Cerrillos Road. I think it was sold and later became Ingram's Drive In. Both had car hops that endured unending harassment and they must have been the original trainees for sainthood. Both were also equipped with jukeboxes and outside speakers. 

   One more that was somewhat exclusive after the Yucca Drive In movie let out was a truck stop at the edge of town called the Ly'n Brag Cafe. Clientele were an interesting mix of high-school kids, cowboy wanna-be's and truck drivers. One of the main attractions were the pin ball machines.

   Now a bit about the sociological aspects of high school in the fifties. The ritualistic paring of boys and girls went in progressions from going out, dating, and finally true love forever--going steady. Generally each of these stages lasted a few weeks after which there was an ugly breakup. Now as I look back a true preparation for real life.  The relationship status spread through school with out the use of cell phones!

   In addition to the hangout places mentioned above, two others were important to the sociological development. The dirt roads around old Ft. Marcy overlooking the city and Rodeo Road also gravel.

These were to Santa Fe as Mullholand Drive was to Los Angles.  These were the arena for one of te most prevalent sport in high school called "necking." This was second only to being general adolescent smart-asses.

   There were two "semi-formal" school dances each year. These were the Junior-Senior Prom and the Snow Ball Formal. This meant boys wore suits or sport coats and ties. Girls wore long' somewhat low-cut, dresses with multiple petticoats.  There was also the Sadie Hawkins dance.  Girls invited the boys. Dress were costumes taken from the Li'l Abner comic strip. This is where we found out which girls liked us or not. All school were held in Sweeney gym in Seth Hall.

   For boys prom time was fraught with anxiety and stress. First there is the decision of whom to ask. It has to be the prettiest girl with who you have a better than fifty-fifty chance of acceptance.  Also she needs to be  free or seti-free of a boyfriend bigger than me; which in my 120 pound frame was just about every male in school. After the decision was made, it took several days to gather enough gumption to ask in fear of rejection. After a cheerful acceptance, next was the chore of asking what color dress she was going to wear.  What the hell is "dusty rose?" Then a trip to Boyle's to order an affordable and appropriate corsage. Then a decision about a single or a double-date with your buddy. Now a required reservation for dinner. Back in the day, the El Gancho Inn on the Las Vegas highway was THE place.

The big night came and off to pick up my date. Next came the mosy scary time of all--meet the parents. What took place next exceeded any inspection I endured during two and a half years in the Army and would put today's Homeland Security to shame.  Finally, assuming one passed the inspection, was the pinning ceremony where the guy was expected to pin on the corsage  without being guilty of inappropriate touching or sticking a pin into flesh.  Most of the time the motherly protective instinct took over and she took the pressure off. And away we went.



          1954, me top right, mi prima center bottom


               As I remember we all got along pretty well considering our student body was composed of  three  ethnic groups; Spanish, Angelo, and Native American. Of course when heated words were exchanged two more were added; Gringo and Mexican.  Some of the school was divided into two groups known as the pachucos and the stomps.  These were not gangs as are now prevalent in schools throughout the country but rather non-organized kids wearing particular dress and full of adolescent swaggering. The stomps dressed in cowboy hats, boots, levies and license-plate sized belt buckles.  The pachucos were all Spanish adopted the dress of a Los Angles group. They wore peg-leg black pants, a thin white belt, and black shirts with pink trim.  Each group had a great deal of animosity toward the other. I only remember two fights in high school.  No guns, or oter weapons. A few punches in the school parking lot and broken up by Gunn or Powell. And adolescent honor was preserved.

               Unknowingly school did help me choose a career. By virtue of clothing, I had drifted into the stomp group.  My goal in life was to become a professional rodeo rider.  A group of us hung around the Sheriff's Posse stables. The caretaker that lived there just happened to be dating my older sister. He was an ex rodeo rider who had gotten his foot hung in a stirrup after being bucked off and then subsequently kicked with every stride.  After a lot of plastic surgery, he retired broke. You think we would have been smart enough to find a winner as a coach. Naw, he was our hero.  Jerry aught us to braid our own bull rigging. He rigged up a 55-gallon drum by welding in four eyes at the corners.  This was suspended from the stable rafters, four stout guys to jerk the ropes, and it out preformed any mechanical bull made today.  My riding debut occurred at his home in Pecos, Texas.  There was a small arena operated on Saturdays. I paid for a bare back bronc. Borrowed a rigging, and shaking entered the chute. Old horse took one jump and I was air born. The landing hurt considerably.   I paid again with the same result. And that, mi amigos, is when I decided to go to college and become an engineer!



Read 5393 times Last modified on Friday, 27 December 2013 21:57


  • Comment Link Mike Lord Tuesday, 23 January 2018 04:29 posted by Mike Lord

    Damn, I miss you, Pedro

  • Comment Link ed Saiz Tuesday, 24 December 2013 03:35 posted by ed Saiz

    ARTHUR: Great story, My time was 1960 (graduated)

    Car was a 1948 Chevy owned jointly by me and a friend,
    while attending Harvey Jr. High, across the street from
    SFHS. Most weekends were dances in Chupadro,N.M.
    I do remember the Pueblo drive-in movies.


  • Comment Link Allan MacGillivray III Monday, 23 December 2013 23:11 posted by Allan MacGillivray III

    My man!! All the same in "62" cept we had the "Demon Den" off Rodeo for extra curricular activities, tambien.

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