I don’t know any details about this adorable picture, but my dad, (Billy in those days) is the little guy with the polka dot tie. Too cute! Seems appropriate on the first day of school. Probably taken in Kansas about 1937.
- William Edward Stephenson Hare (1933-1961) – my dad
I just found this fabulous yearbook picture of my great uncle Damon Willbern (1900-1985) at age 16 at Llano High School in West Texas. He looks just like the successful Kansas banker I remember in his last decades. He was married to my Aunt Margie (Marjorie Miller), sister of my grandmother, and I adored them both.
One of my favorite memories of Uncle Damon was seeing him sitting in his Cordoba red leather reclining chair in their house in Coffeyville, Kansas, with his favorite Spanish peanuts, holding a fussy baby granddaughter in his lap. In his gravelly voice, he’d tell this tiny baby, “Give ’em hell, honey!”
From the yearbook I learned that Uncle Damon was born in a place called Baby Head, Texas, now a ghost town. For real!
Until I discovered how many yearbooks are lurking online, I had only one photograph taken of my grandfather, Bill Stephenson, before he was an adult. I knew hardly anything about his interests, activities, or friends and I had no mental picture of the schools where he spent all those years. What an eye-opener three yearbooks have been!
At age 14, Grandpa Bill, who I knew as a gentle, loving man with a very silly sense of humor, looked like a bit of a punk, or at least a surly teenage boy.
Bill, my dad’s father, was born in 1910 and raised in Augusta, Kansas–a middle child with two brothers, Paul and Clark. Paul was eight years older, while Clark was just a year younger, going all through school in the same grade. From Augusta High School, they went on to the University of Kansas together, where they were roommates and fraternity brothers. Clark was the scholar in the family, and Bill always found it challenging to be in the academic shadow of his younger brother.
What tidbits did I learn from these yearbooks?
Grandpa Bill was musical. He played in his high school orchestra, (what instrument?) and sang in the glee club and a special boys quartet.
He was class president his sophomore year and Uncle Clark was class president their senior year.
He played basketball, (top right). He always loved sports.
While Bill always looked serious–sometimes even scowly–Clark occasionally had a big grin in his pictures.
He had a girlfriend! And his best friend might have been Arlice Williams (to the right in the photo at the top of the post), who appeared next to him in many pictures throughout their high school years.
Augusta High School was two blocks down the street from the Stephenson house.
I didn’t dig as much in the University of Kansas yearbook for 1932, but…
Bill and Clark were both members of Alpha Nu of Beta Theta Pi.
The fraternity house at 1425 Tennessee Street in Lawrence, Kansas is the former Usher Mansion, a striking limestone, Italianate structure which has continued to house Beta Theta Pi since 1913.
More grandparents and yearbooks to come.
I’d love to hear what others have found through scouring yearbooks!
This is my dad, on the move early and around the same age as my mum in my previous post.
Born in Wichita, Kansas in 1933, Bill Stephenson Hare was definitely one of the nomads of the family during his brief 28 years. He was about 4 when my grandparents, Bill Stephenson and Jane (Miller) Stephenson divorced and my grandmother remarried to Bob Hare.
And the Hares did move and move. Bob worked for natural gas companies and seemed to pick up and move on every few years, usually to small rural towns in remote places. (Why was that, anyway?)
Young Billy moved from Kansas to Missouri to Connecticut to Waldorf, Maryland (and maybe more in between?) before staying put long enough to go through high school and then college nearby at Johns Hopkins.
Graduating from college and marrying my mother all at the same time, he had also graduated from two wheels to four, and off they went! During the summer of 1955, Bill and Celia hit the road for Anchorage, Alaska, where he had been offered a job. They drove cross country, stopping along the way to visit grandparents in Kansas, see the sights, and start their adventure. More to follow…