Sometimes it's fun to pick a random number -- say 50 -- and go back that many years and see what was on the front page of the Kerrville newspapers.
Fifty years ago in Kerrville, in early September 1963, many of the top stories were oddly similar to stories in recent issues of this newspaper.
Then, as now, the start of the high school football season was big news.
The lead story in the September 4, 1963 issue of the Kerrville Mountain Sun was accompanied by a photograph of the 1963 Tivy Antler football team. The caption read "Ready for the season opener Friday night against Beeville are these eager Tivy Antlers."
The game was to be played in Antler Stadium, then a facility around 20 years old, and a large crowd was expected.
The Antlers' coach, Jody Johnson, was quoted as saying his squad were all good boys, but "they aren't mean enough yet. As soon as they learn to hit hard, we're going to see some real action."
Another page one story cited the enrollment in Kerrville public schools: 2,517. Paul Barr, who was KISD superintendent in 1963, expected the enrollment number to go up as registrations continued for the week. The various campuses reported their enrollments: Starkey Elementary, 376; Tivy Elementary, 591; Doyle School, 85 in grades 1-5; Hal Peterson Junior High School, 599, which included 38 'transfers' from the Doyle School; Tivy High School, 866, which included 34 'transfers' from Doyle.
These numbers are interesting, and tell a story of that chapter in our community's history. For those who don't know, Doyle School was a segregated school for African-American students. In 1963 those students 'transferred' into classrooms from which they had previously been excluded. No one today can deny segregation was a bad policy, hurtful and wrong-headed, but from what I can tell the merging of the two separate schools went better here than it did in other places.
Last week this newspaper reported enrollment in KISD had topped 5,000 students for the first time; local school enrollment remains important news.
Another front-page story reported a goal of $29,950 for 1963's Kerr County Community Chest campaign. The proceeds were budgeted as follows: $8,000 for the American Red Cross, plus an additional $2,000 for the "Red Cross Blood Bank;" $2,700 for the Auld Youth Center; $7,000 for the Boy Scouts of America, but only half that amount for the Girl Scouts; $1,300 for the Kerr County Memorial Library; $2,000 for the Special Opportunity School; $300 for Kerr County 4-H; $1,000 for the "Kerr County Charity Fund;" and $1,250 for expenses and reserve.
Another big story in the 1963 newspaper reported the arrival of a new piece of equipment at Sid Peterson Memorial Hospital. An improved X-ray system was installed which would reduce the amount of time needed to produce X-rays from "45-60 minutes," down to just "6-8 minutes." The machine was called the "Pako Automatic X-ray film processor." I'm sure the improved delivery time of X-rays proved vital for many local patients.
Schreiner Company was also mentioned on the front page, with a report detailing remodeling at their store on the corner of Water and Earl Garrett streets. The story told more than what improvements would be made, though most of those "improvements" were recently "unmade." In the 1963 remodeling of the store, decorative screens were added to the second-story windows, and stucco was added to the Earl Garrett street side of the building. Recently those changes were reversed, as the building was renovated for new uses.
Actually, the big story about the remodeling at the Schreiner store was the fact that its grocery department was being replaced. It was a big deal, since groceries had been an important part of the store's business since the very first day Captain Schreiner opened his frontier establishment.
Lastly, I noticed the announcement of a talk given by Dr. Elton Trueblood, a nationally-noted theologian. He spoke here 50 years ago, at the Hunt Methodist Church, on the "Ministry of the Laity." Dr. Trueblood, who wrote a book on Lincoln I remember reading years ago, spent the following week at Mo-Ranch.
As I study our community's history, I often notice the stories remain very similar year after year. The people involved change, of course, but the themes seem safely constant.
Until next week, all the best.
Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who was talking whole sentences in 1963, sentences which often centered on food. That hasn't changed. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times on September 7, 2013.
You can subscribe for FREE to Kerr History updates by clicking HERE.