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Looking Back to the '60s—Favorite Teachers at Walter Reed

Do you remember any of these teachers?

Back in the '60s when hormones dictated our every move, life could get pretty complicated. Feelings were so strong, and urges took over everything. In junior high, we now had to struggle with pimples, budding breasts, vocal changes and dealing with our budding sexuality.

But, we were also embraced in the fold of Walter Reed Junior High, and thankfully, some teachers made this journey a little easier with their wise ways, patience, encouragement, and love of teaching.

Here are some of my favorites:

Mr. Maley-English

This guy was such a card. Those of you who had him for English probably remember his famed turtle races, his mambo style jig for learning our helping verbs that went like this:

“Is be been am are,

Was were has have had,

Do does did,

May can might,

Could must shall will,

Would should!”

His clothes were rumpled, and sometimes he fingered one of his false teeth, but Mr. Maley was so much fun, and his animated lessons truly took the sting out of learning.

Mr. Mack-Chemistry

Although this guy had the personality of a tortoise, his chemistry class was a whirlwind of fun.  I remember learning about test tubes, beakers, and the purpose of a centrifuge. Remember those random explosions that would take place when various elements were combined with one another?  Even when fires broke out, Mr. Mack was always calm, despite the hysterics that erupted from these mishaps.

Mrs. Bradley-Biology

Mrs. Bradley looked like she had escaped from a convent, but she was very knowledgeable when it came to the finesse of anatomic dissection.  She never winced when she’d dispense those frogs and eyeballs for us to dissect, despite the screams from some of the students, and the occasional hurling.

Mrs. Harrop-Physical Education

Back in junior high, some of the P.E. teachers really enjoyed looking over the stall to make sure you took a shower. Yuck. Mrs. Harrop wasn’t like that. She just stuck to the basics of helping us enjoy PE, and all the benefits of physical activity.  She didn’t have that stiff military persona, and if we were really on the rag, she didn’t make us shower.

Mrs. Thedford-Math

This lady was a delight, with her gorgeous silver hair pulled back into a tight bun. For those of us who found math to be an engaging topic, she was a dream.

Mr. Galindo-Spanish

This handsome man was a real charmer, and what a great head of hair.  I’m sure many female teens were in his radar, although I never heard any stories about impropriety. I do remember learning several basic Spanish phrases that went something like this:

“Ojala que te mejores pronto.” (I hope you get better soon)

“Aqui esta la sal, y tambien la pimienta.” (Here’s the salt, and also the pepper.)

A few years later, I learned some other Spanish phrases, but they wouldn’t be appropriate for this column.


What teachers do you remember and what classes did you like?

Feel free to share your stories right here on the Patch.

teresa mcgrath December 07, 2012 at 08:24 PM
yes betsy, the things we all recall...she had such an impressive amount
Suzanne Waisbren December 09, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Really enjoyed reading all these memories. My favorite teacher at Carpenter was Mr. Malat. I had a major crush on him. My favorite at Reed was the suave Mr. Galindo. I also love Miss Harris, the cute little Southern belle....."The bell is 'fixin to ring." Mary, do you know where in Northern CA Dana lives?
teresa mcgrath December 09, 2012 at 05:27 PM
whoa suzanne, forgot about miss harris....collective memories! i can answer dana too..mary wasn't it point reyes, just north of s.f., or monterey, possibly?
Suzanne Waisbren December 09, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Teresa, was Miss Messler the chubby redhead? She gave me an AUU on one report card because I was caught chewing gum more than once during gym class. Mr. McHarg (a boy's gym teacher and quite a hunk) and Ms. Campbell (a prim and proper English teacher) had an affair going on. I think it was common knowledge. They were such an unlikely couple. They eventually got married and I just heard a couple of years ago that they both retired from Reed the same year, after 40 some odd years of teaching together, and marriage.
Betsy Cutter December 09, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Miss Harris and that beautiful Texas twang and her pretty handwriting. She also made most of her clothes. Mary Louise Loucks and I would see her at the fabric store. Mr. Joella taught me algebra, as did Mrs. Case. I remember that her classes always had to be dead quiet or she's say "I can give y'all more to do if you keep making noise." She was from Kentucky.
teresa mcgrath December 09, 2012 at 05:54 PM
oh yes mary louise loucks....how you recall all our classmates betsy...what a gift
Mary McGrath December 09, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Suzanne, I've sent you an email with Dana's address so you can converse with her directly...have fun!
teresa mcgrath December 16, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Hi teresa mcgrath, Suzanne Waisbren also commented on Looking Back to the '60s—Favorite Teachers at Walter Reed. "Teresa, was Miss Messler the chubby redhead? She gave me an AUU on one report card because I was caught chewing gum more than once during gym class. Mr. McHarg (a boy's gym teacher and quite a hunk) and Ms. Campbell (a prim and proper English teacher) had an affair going on. I think it was common knowledge. They were such an unlikely couple. They eventually got married and I just heard a couple of years ago that they both retired from Reed the same year, after 40 some odd years of teaching together, and marriage."
teresa mcgrath December 16, 2012 at 12:02 PM
hey suzanne, i just copied and pasted your comment, since there was a tech error....yes, miss messler was the former wac or wave redheaded woman who taught us gym ...auu? is that similiar to a poor conduct mark? didn't know about the affair....wild that they were together all those years....
Mary McGrath December 16, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Did anyone buy a ticket to the pool on the roof of the gym? I seem to recall that...
teresa mcgrath December 16, 2012 at 02:43 PM
don't recall that....wow
Suzanne Waisbren December 16, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I have great memories of Kevin. He was such a cute kid, and so nice. We became good friends in middle school. Unfortunately, he passed away shortly after high school. I hadn't thought about him in years until a couple of years ago, when my daughter, in her senior year of high school, had a young teacher with the same last name. When I met her, I asked if there was any relation. Turns out her father is Kevin's brother. Kevin was her uncle, whom she had never met since she was born long after he passed away. She enjoyed hearing all my stories about him and what a nice person he was . She also passed on my regards to her grandma, Kevin's mom, who enjoyed hearing my stories. Regarding Nina. She was killed in a car crash during senior year. I was close friends with her. So sad that these lives were cut short so early.
Mary McGrath December 16, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I think Jody Aucoin, Kevin's sister is on Facebook. Thanks for the memories Suzanne. Hope to see you soon...
teresa mcgrath December 16, 2012 at 07:47 PM
suzanne, yes, kevin was so sweet...that's so coincidental...i'd love to share a story with kevin's kin...he was so shy, and bright....jodi was great too....nina, such a young soul cut short....i recall emailing jodi i think, and andi nissen about chuck nissen...
Jody Cook December 17, 2012 at 01:22 PM
Thank you for the kind words regarding my brother Kevin. I am grateful to know that he is remembered for his sweet nature and eternally sad that he chose to leave us. Thank you all again.
Mary McGrath December 17, 2012 at 01:43 PM
Yes, the departure of our loved ones is something that is always hard to endure Jody. I'm glad to have known Kevin.
teresa mcgrath December 17, 2012 at 02:45 PM
jody, kevin will always be a special part of my life, and it was an honor to serve together as tellers in mrs gray's class ....plus experience the jfk announcement as a whole class...he was so nice, bright, and athletic! i'm sure he is watching over you and your family...happy holidays jodi...
Suzanne Marteney December 17, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Just read this - great article Mary. Kevin was very sweet and cute. Anyone remember Mr. Mortimer? Talk about a hunk! Loved Mrs. Harrop; I worked in the PE office for her one semester.
teresa mcgrath December 17, 2012 at 04:03 PM
forgot about mortimer..he was handsome...harrop sounds familiar...wish we had a skyline to thumb thru these memories
Cathy Caras Nissen December 17, 2012 at 05:09 PM
teresa, this is cathy caras. I don't know if you remember me. I moved to studio city in 1964 and started at walter reed that september. Through life's coincidences and connections, I met Chuck Nissen and we got married in 1988! We are in touch with Andi. I have reconnected with Janine Reep who lived across the street from me. Through Facebook, I am "friends" with Ellen Ginsburg, Nancy Daulton, Pam Burns, Kathy McNeil, Emerick Chow, Phil Alexander mostly. I am also still in touch with Jane Ayer and Elissa Rabellino. We lost Marie Papalexis in 2003. Hi Jody!
Jody Cook December 17, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Thanks again Mary! What about Mr. Bernard? I had an insane crush on him........
teresa mcgrath December 17, 2012 at 05:47 PM
wow, all these crushes....hahaha...didn't mallott have deep black hair?
Jody Cook December 17, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Thank you Teresa, thank you so much. What great times we had at your house and going everywhere and exploring everything! Such wonderful freedom..... Happy holidays to you too.
Mary McGrath December 17, 2012 at 05:50 PM
All these memories! Bring 'em on!
teresa mcgrath December 17, 2012 at 07:49 PM
hi Cathy Caras Nissen, wonderful....please tell Chuck hi, and that i will always refer to him as my skateboarding buddy...what a small world...and andi, tell he hello too...married since '88, wild...i remember most of the names you mentioned, janine, ellen, nancy, emerick, phil, jane, and alyssa ...so sorry to hear of marie's passing...life is precious...a bunch of us are friends on fb also...andy steiner, yvonne barnett westover, donna mann, jefferey leonard, doug dunlap, suzanne waisbren, robbie and daryl armstong, wendy cohen, dennis kirkpatrick, karla messerschmidt, janice gray, linda mcall sellers, suzy marteney, sidney hoblit, gail winter wilson, james debree, richard neidermeyer, mari aranoff, and a host of others...how are you guys?
teresa mcgrath December 17, 2012 at 08:10 PM
p.s. cathy, also betsy cutter, arthur schaak, david dicheck, and a few others..
Mary McGrath December 17, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Teresa is our official pen pal on this site and on Facebook. She really fills in the blanks for all of us. So nice to have you all here, sharing memories, laughs, and triumphs.
teresa mcgrath December 17, 2012 at 09:58 PM
mary and i tag team our collective memories...more names...aglaia cardona, donna temmesfeld, sheri soegaard robinson, martin zimmerman, david gross, kathy vandevoorde keeler, kimberly mack, fred frees, and a host of others...
Lenore Aipa April 02, 2013 at 03:30 AM
Well I accidentally found this page looking for a picture of my childhood friend who's name came up for me....many of you spoke about her here, Nina, our families had been close since grammar school... She did go off a cliff up on Mulholland....some club guy in a Porsche speeding...she had joined the Puffs in NH High and he was in the equal club for the guys...they were the clubs for the wealthiest and smartest kids....I guess not smart enough..seeing the decision that guy made....and for the record and I can't for the life of me believe no body mentioned him, cause he's the only teacher that ever matter to me and many others and that was MR.KENNEDY He inspired kids in WR and even kids who didn't go to WR but somehow met him....he gone too ....HIV I believe....so many names mentioned above I remember the names but not the faces....way to much happened to me after WR anyway....I was Lenore (Lennie) Grant.....all the best.....
Mary McGrath April 02, 2013 at 04:26 AM
I do remember your name Lennie...and I think the Nina you're referring to was Nina Miceli? Her father owned that restaurant off Cahuenga? I enjoyed Mr. Kennedy as well...I had him for choir at Walter Reed. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your memories....

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