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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 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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