Three years ago, I created the Myers Park High School Class of 1964 Facebook page with the Field of Dreams belief that if I built it, they would come. A few, perhaps anticipating our 50th reunion, joined; but overall, there was little activity, until a couple of months ago. Then, the requests to join started coming and along with them, exciting news that the reunion was being planned. Please join us on our Myers Park High School Class of 1964 Facebook page. It’s a great place to share memories and get reacquainted with your classmates.
I suspect that many of our classmates do not remember Carroll; and if they do, they probably remember him only as a rather overweight, awkward youth not much involved in student life. A rather different “Cal” or “Calvin” Walker emerges from a reading of Charlotte Magazine’s posthumous profile that consumes 12 full columns of its February 10, 2010 issue; it’s an amazing read. http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/February-2010/The-Last-DJ/ ; see also Mark Washburn’s column in the April 25, 2009 Charlotte Observer, page E-1 (no link available; email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like a copy). Indeed, to many Charlotteans, and even New Yorkers, he became a kind of folk hero.
I was friends with Carroll in the eighth grade at AG based on a mutual interest in amateur radio, but I do not really remember Cal from high school days, though certainly he was one of our classmates. Nevertheless, over the decades that followed, he and I would cross paths here and there. Most memorably for me, in 1998, Shelley and I were motoring along a seemingly endless stretch of featureless two-lane hard top in eastern Wyoming, hoping to find a gas station at the only dot on our road map within range, a crossroad called “Mule Creek Junction.” We had a shortwave transceiver in the car, but that day the amateur radio bands seemed almost entirely dead. I heard only one station; he was in conversation with a Canadian ham whom I could not hear at all. I decided to give a call at the first opportunity. When the operator gave his station’s call sign, “K4NTY in Charlotte,” I recognized it instantly. Cal and I spent nearly an hour catching up, reminiscing both before and after the 10 minutes required for Shelley and me to refuel at Mule Creek Junction’s only outpost, a combination country store and gas station.
In midlife, Carroll was an astonishing success (read the magazine article!). But he never married, and when he passed away in 2009, he left no living relatives and no estate to speak of. Indeed he was being scheduled for burial in a pauper’s grave when a former neighbor, his good angel, took charge and had him properly interned in the plot he himself had purchased and paid for years earlier at historic Elmwood Cemetery. She later arranged for the memorial service at St. Mary’s Chapel on the old Thompson Orphanage site at 3rd Street and Kings Drive.
More than 70 people attended. A number of Charlotte’s well-known television and radio personalities, and professional musicians, past and present, were in attendance to honor Cal’s memory. Some of the most moving remarks were offered by Ms. Hattie Leeper; you might remember her as WGIV’s “Chatty Hatty.”
Submitted by Ken Cannaday in memory of Carroll Chapman Walker, August 9, 1946 – April 20, 2009.
Okay, fellow '64 Mustangs, the next time your children or grandchildren think they know everything, ask them to define the following ten things:
and for extra credit - locker loops
I believe that Miss Baker was the person we dedicated our senior annual to, so I'm sure many people, including me, held her in high regard. She had a deep love for her subject matter (English) and had a profound effect on me and many other (at the time) mediocre students because her enthusiasm somehow made everyone want to learn and remember poetry (who remembers, Oh, gather ye rose buds while you may, time is but a flying) and memorize a stanza from The Ancient Mariner (The ice was here, the ice was there, the ice was everywhere, it crackled and growled, and roared and howled like noises in a swoon)? And better still, her dedication to teaching all of us how to write a theme (who remembers writing what you are going to say, making three clear distinct points, and then summarizing what you had just written?). Because I didn't run with the intellectually elite at Myers Park, it was "uncool" to verbally express platitudes towards any teacher, much less one who made you learn poetry so I'm taking this opportunity to give a shout out to Miss (I think that's right) Baker. As I have subsequently learned, many other of my classmates (including Ron McManus) felt the same way. Miss Baker was not a strict disciplinarian, she didn't need to be. She earned her respect the old fashion way - she earned it. If I recall correctly, Miss Baker lived with her mother, which many people knew, but I don't think many people knew that she also taught as an adjunct at CPCC. I remember seeing Dr. Lewis at our 30th reunion and wondering why we didn't ask any teachers to attend as well. So here's to hoping that if any of our teachers might still be alive that we reach out and invite them to our 50th.
I think all of us had Miss Whitley in math. She was the strictest teacher I ever had, but she's also one of my favorites. As I remember, she rented a room in someone's home on Beverly Drive near MP Pres Church. She was from Marshville and I heard she returned there after she retired and took care of her parents.
In 2008 not long before Daddy died, her obituary was in the Observer. She still lived in Marshville. About a year later, I happened to have the local news on and they reported that a former mayor and councilwoman of Marshville had been arrested. That got my attention because of Miss Whitley. She had been arrested for forging the will of her husband's aunt on the aunt's deathbed. When they said the aunt was Ethel J Whitley, that really got my attention! Apparently Miss Whitley's estate was worth a couple of million dollars, and the niece-in-law wanted all that. So she wrote a fake will in her favor and faked several signatures on it, including Miss Whitley's. I checked the internet once to see what happened to the niece In law, but nothing but her arrest was ever reported.
Who would have thought there would have been that much drama surrounding quiet Miss Whitley?
Jenny Fallis Widmer