Seems like it was about three years ago I was digging around in one of my standard old junk holes searching for the all illusive but mostly unanticipated treasure. Basically being prepared to find nothing and to be surprised to find something. Enjoying a good hunt and good conversation but both conducted with reserved optimism.
The old saying "one man's junk is another's treasure" can sometimes be true. In this case, I believe it is. Sometimes the hunt for the junk can be a treasure within itself. Sometimes it has to be. But, not this time!
After looking down and all around with no results, a random glance up and a wow factor hit me right in the face. Hanging high upon the wall, I discovered one of those old "yard longs" produced by photographic companies way back in the early 1900's. Classic old black and white photos, approximately three feet long, printed and framed to capture the historical essence a very cool window of time.
The first thing to catch my eye was an old bass drum center photo with the beat of OHS on the front. Studying Oklahoma City history and mentally remembering the way OHS had been inscribed same as, I knew right away this iMage was relative to an early 20th Century Oklahoma City High School.
As with any old iMages such as this one, if you look at it long enough and close enough, curiosity will overtake your sensibilities as you begin to wonder who these people are and what it would be like to stand right there next to them in their window of time. You'll begin to wonder what their names are and who might actually be the leader of this magnificent band.
With such an aged photo, unless somebody took the time to write down personal identities on the back like a normal person should, we'll never know who these mystical musicians are. Treasure hunting frustration now sits in as no one was normal enough to take the time. How could they not know I would find this iMage near one eighty-six years later with a passionate desire to get acquainted with its inhabitants. Why could they have not just made my curious existence a bit easier by jotting down some names so I could relate to these pre-historic band members from the past? Did they not know me and about three other people would care to know?
After acquiring official ownership of this fabulous piece of Oklahoma City High School history, I hung it on the wall along with a daily reminder of the very small next to zero percentage chance that I would ever get to know these young gentlemen of refined music. I have been innovative enough at times and lucky enough at times to discover some personal identity with photos from this era. But, sad notes of hopelessness reign with the ancient beat of that old bass drum.
Where else would there be a minimal chance to identify this unidentifiable and totally forgotten Oklahoma High School Band from such an antiquated era? It would be the only avenue with even the slightest possibility of success. I admit it was a slow, drawn out process but one that turned out to be well worth the effort.
After guessing and looking for yearbooks in the early 1920's for quite some time, I was glad to discover I was fooled a bit as darned if the leader of the band and these fine young gentlemen of music were destined to be found in a vintage 1929 high school yearbook. Such yearbook being an original possession of one Nathan Sherman, III. Couldn't find him within the yearbook but his name was stamped in gold right on the front cover.
After looking for early 1920's and for Oklahoma High School for so long, I was intrigued to conquer my quest in a 1929 Central High School yearbook. Historically, OHS was how the school had been recognized in a 1920 yearbook I had found while looking down the wrong alley of time. After the matter of facts, a quick glance at documented records indicate the school has been been recognized as Central High School since the architects drew it up on paper in 1909.
Interesting enough, I think the forward was specifically written for me and the chosen few others who discover this discovery to be interesting. I share as exactly written. "May this 1929 Annual serve to bridge the gap between the present and the dimming memory of future years, to recall eventful days and old friendships, and to renew within the Spirit and Ideals of old O.H.S." Not for sure how a "dimming memory of future years" works as it sound a bit twisted the wrong way. But, I think they were trying to tell me to revive their spirit at some future point in time. That time is now.
So much for the exciting discovery scenario of how we got here, let's meet these guys who cranked out some sounds back in 1929 for the Central High Cardinals. Being the photo was a yard long, it's understandable the yearbook staff had to break this iMage up into four pieces on two different pages of eighty-four and eighty-five. I'm guessing they knew it would make it simpler for me to share with you in this new modern day bloguMentary form if it was sectioned out properly.
If curiosity can kill a cat, it can also kill a lot of time. But, the satisfaction of discovery seems to ease such cost most would consider a complete waste of time. Defeating the next to impossible challenge of historical discovery can be exciting. Doesn't matter if it is highly important subject matter such as United States politics, or, maybe just some simple fun stuff like this old iMage of a band from Oklahoma's past.
Now, where there's a band, there's got to be game. I couldn't resist checking out the "athletics" section of this 1929 Central H.S. Cardinal yearbook while thumbing through it's vintage one-hundred-thirty-eight pages. Pages that capture some great moments in time and history relative to Oklahoma City and it's people.
The men's basketball program won twenty-one and lost only four with their final defeat coming in the last game of the season against eventual 1929 national champions from Athens, Texas.
The 1928 Cardinals of the gridiron were recognized as a highly successful team in the '29 yearbook. They dominated several teams and concluded a victorious season with a record of 8-2-2. One of those losses came at the hands of the Oklahoma City University Goldbugs who, at the time, were becoming a national powerhouse on the collegiate level. Coach Virgil Jones considered it to be their "most successful season to date since his arrival at Central High School."