1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Herman "Suicide" Foster
Graduate: 1944


In August 1943, a group of boys started collecting gasoline by draining the hoses at night into mason jars. By the time they had about 2 gallons collected, they hatched their plan. They went up the hill above the high school to Barbara Riggs's home and poured the gas down the storm drains. Then they went down to the river and when they could smell the fumes, they lit a wad of newspaper & shoved it up into the drain. Of course this was timed to happen as the movies had let out & folks were walking home. The resulting boom blew all the dust & leaves out of the manholes onto the streets & cleaned out the drains all the way up the hill to the high school. There was a streak of flame like a jet engine exhaust that reached halfway across the river. But I didn't do it!

In the spring of 1943, I'd hitchhiked from the prison to school & got there early. During the night somebody(s) had put a cow and chickens into the main hall. When I got to the door it was to find Jim Weikle trying to clean up the mess that had occurred when the water fountain had been stopped up to allow about 5 gallons of water on the floor and the cow mess & chicken feathers made it horrible. I seem to remember Mr. Weikle using some almost profane language. He had a heck of a problem, for you can lead a cow up stairs, but cows don't want to go down stairs. He got about 7 of us boys to help him push, pull & drag the cow down the stairs and out of the school. By that time the buses had let off all the town kids who thought it was awful. It was known that the cow belonged to the Fawcett family, but who it was that put the cow in the school was & is a better kept secret than the Manhattan Project secret was. To this day no one will admit they had anything to do with it. But I didn't do it! I had been at home on the prison grounds locked in.

Herman "Suicide" Foster

- Catching the campers coming back from the movies and waylaying them with green apples?
-Learning to do 360s on the Alta Road?  A 180 wasn't so hard, but a 360 was a very hard feat especially when you were trying to stay on the pavement.  (this was the straightest stretch of road we had)  I remember Grady Eades was the best.  This training was beneficial when I did a spell as the ambulance driver for Alderson.
-Pepsi & Pete the Pepsi-cola cops?  I remember a night when there was a dance at the high school gymnasium and all the young people of Alderson were there.  Pepsi & Pete came up in their pick-up to observe the dance floor.  While they were inside some boys got the bright idea to pick up their truck and slide cinder blocks up under the axle.  Then the Kaptis girl was enlisted to go inside and tell Pepsi & Pete that there was a fight at Moochie Tyler's beer joint.  Then she told the kids what was taking place outside.  Everyone came running out.  ( I always think of 2 Barney Fifes running out the door with their hands on the gun on their hips).  Pepsi & Pete jumped into the truck and cranked the engine and floored it.  They went thru all 3 gears just sitting there.  Then the fat cop who owned the truck jumped out and ran around the truck 2 times shouting, "My axle is broken".  With that the people who had come out to watch had a big laugh and the boys pushed the truck off the cinder blocks and Pepsi & Pete went roaring down the hill to stop the "fight" at Moochie Tylers.

Football Game Memory
1943: the game was Alderson vs. Lewisburg Background: Curtis Mann had gotten hurt the week before and was on crutches with a bad ankle.  The coach moved me from the inside end on a wing formation to outside tackle (the position Curtis Mann usually played).  I was playing against a man named Ott on defense.  He was about 6' 2" and 220 lbs.  I was 6' and 150 lbs.  Normally when the ball was snapped I would do what Coach had taught us to do... hit hard and low.  Ott was so strong he would grab  me by the shoulder pads at the collar and by the seat of my pants, pick me up and break me across his knee.  If he missed my shoulder pads he'd grab my helmet and put a knee in the right side of my face.  Remember our helmets were re-inforced leather with no face protection & we wore no mouth guards.  Ott successfully jarred my right kidney loose that night and the right side of my face looked like hamburger.  For me that was a tremendous learning experience.  I found that my great-grandfather's statement about the civil war was still meaningful..."he who lives to run away, lives to fight another day".  In a fairly close game we did win.   At one point during this game Coach took me out for a few plays then sent me in with a new play.  I was so befuddled when I came into the huddle and gave them the new play that when asked what the score was I told them we were tied.  Maybe that was the inspiration for the next 2 touchdowns we got that night.

Favorite Teacher: Lyle Herod who taught biology and science.  He taught us how things worked in nature.
Favorite after school past time: hunting and football.
Worst Chore:  cleaning out the barn.
Meanest Teacher : Mr. Zomzalee ,  who was from Brooklyn, New York.  He taught English for 1 year at the high school.  I don't think he understood us at all and he was prone to violence.
Remember 10 cent lunches prepared by Mrs. Steele and the home-ec students.  Remember Spanish rice with Tabasco Sauce?
Winter 1936 and the river froze then it snowed.  Some boys got the horse drawn snow scraper down on the ice and cleared snow so we could skate.
Stella Nelson  - taught Algebra, Math & Geometry.  In later years in my career I learned to appreciate the geometry she had taught me.  She had a way of teaching & if you didn't pay attention she would encourage you with a  thick strong yard stick to ensure you would pay attention.  Fortunately it was never applied to me, but I thought she would break Jake Fleshmann's back beating him so hard.