This week, I traveled 50 years back in time as I scanned a packet of Kerr County negatives taken in 1968.
Scanning negatives on my computer is especially fun. Since the image is reversed, where the light parts of the image are dark and the dark parts of the image are clear, it’s often hard to figure out what the subject of the photograph is until it’s scanned. My computer turns the negatives into positives, translating the highlights and shadows back as you’d expect them to be.
I remember many of the folks in the photographs, although I was about 6 years old when most of the photos were taken. I’m hoping you’ll remember a few of them, too.
Most of the photos were taken in the summer of 1968. They range from photos of high school students to a photo of a very lucky parachutist.
A group of civic leaders are seen buying memberships in the Tivy Booster Club. Coy LeMeilleur is seen selling memberships to Kerrville mayor Francis Swayze and Mrs. W.C. Talbert, while Winkie Murray is selling to D.R. Voelkel, then Kerrville’s city manager, and H.H. Weid.
The group was showing off bumper stickers that proudly proclaimed “I’m a Tivy Booster.”
There were several shots of that summer’s plague: a swarm of crickets. There are photos of firemen and helpers using fire hoses to wash crickets down the storm drains of Earl Garrett and Water streets, and of Jake Bierschwale, maintenance director for the Kerrville Independent School District, standing beside a particularly thick group of crickets.
When I was a boy, I remember the late-summer invasions of the crickets. I will never forget the smell.
Photos of pretty girls also were popular. Separate photos of Tivy cheerleaders and Golden Girls were in the packet.
Four of the 18 Golden Girls were shown with the “new sign” at Tivy High School in August, 1968: in the back, Susan Nelson and Maribless Lehmann; in the front, Kay Bennett and Tricia Gwynn.
The Tivy cheerleading squad also was pictured, standing on the steps of the old high school on Tivy Street.
Another photo shows two people very dear to me and my family: the late David McCutchen handing prize money to Irene Arreola, who won $100 at the “M” System grocery store.
As for the very lucky parachutist, it took awhile to figure out what the photos meant.
There are a series of photographs of a man and his parachute near the intersection of Sidney Baker Street and Main Street, one of the busiest intersections in town. In the photos, you can see the high-power lines along the street.
What on Earth was happening for a man to parachute into busy traffic among so many vehicles?
The man’s name was Leo Herrera, and he’s wearing a T-shirt that reads “...State Sport Parachute Club, Inc.” In one of the photos, he’s bundling up his parachute, standing on the curb of Sidney Baker Street.
The Kerrville Daily Times reported in this way: “Leo Herrera smiles with relief as he gathers up his parachute after landing in the middle of Sidney Baker a few feet south of Main following his second parachute drop at Louise Hays Park. Malfunction on the part of his parachute caused it not to open properly, and Herrera had to open his reserve chute to make a landing, narrowly missing some power lines above the street.
“Although he landed on asphalt, he sustained no injuries.”
Over the next few months, I hope to take you on other time travels back to Kerr County in 1968.
Until next week, all the best.
Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who has fond memories of Kerr County in the late 1960s.