Fort Smith High School
Herschel White

One week after we graduated from dear old FSHS, my Mother remarried and we moved to far west Texas. Morton is about sixty miles west of Lubbock. My new step dad and two of his brothers ran a furniture store there, Smith Furniture. His name was Roy Smith and he and Mother were married for over 40 years when he died. I worked (sort of) in the furniture store that summer, and then went to East Texas State in Commerce in the fall. Majored in music on a “dance band” scholarship. Room and board were included, but I moved off-campus almost immediately, rooming with two GI bill of rights guys in their mid-twenties. They had served in Germany in one of the army bands. They taught me some good habits and some bad ones.

There I met my wife, Barbara. We were married at the beginning of our junior year, in September of 1960. I got a band directing degree and then decided I didn’t really want to teach in high school. Two of my professors had gone to the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. and encouraged me to go there for my master’s. So we trundled up there, Barbara and I and our 4-month-old baby, Kennen. Got the master’s in music theory, then I decided I didn’t really want to teach in college in Helena, Montana. Settled for teaching junior high band and orchestra at one of seven junior highs in Amarillo, Texas until I could figure something out. My parents were in Tulia, Texas by then, running, yup, their own Smith Furniture store. A couple of years proved that wasn’t “it”, either, so we picked up Kennen and his 4-month-old sister Amy and moved to Dallas where I made our living playing string bass in supper clubs (duos and trios) and teaching French horn and trombone privately.

That wasn’t it either, but I was running out of careers. I recruited IBM (long story), then packed up Kennen and Amy and their 4-month-old brother Alan, and moved to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. I was a programmer there for two years, then came to Fort Worth as a systems engineer in a marketing office. We lived in Euless, near the new DFW airport, for 28 years. Six years ago we built a house in northeast Fort Worth.

Kennen got a doctor’s degree in clarinet, married a flutist, and they both teach at Central Michigan University, which is a fine place except for its location (too far from Texas). They have two children, Kailey and Kiegan.

Amy was captain of the Kilgore Rangerettes her sophomore year in college, then got a teaching degree and came back to teach English and drill team at her alma mater in Euless. She and her husband, Chuck, have two children, Jenni and Jake.

Alan, our youngest, went to TCU and got his degree in accounting. He is now a partner in a growing local accounting firm here. He and his wife, Lisa, have three children, Jordan (very much a boy), Kyndall, and Laurel.

Seven grandchildren, and that’s probably the crop. What a treeful of monkeys! Except for the kids’ and grandkids’ activities, I’ve been pretty much a stay-at-home workaholic most of these years. Lately we’ve been getting out more, though. Took a couple of cruises, one from Boston to Nova Scotia and the other from Vancouver to Alaska. We could get used to that.

I retired early from IBM in 1993, and then wound up working for Citigroup for 8 years, all in large mainframe systems. Retired from Citigroup in 2002 and am now working for an insurance company called UICI (uici.net, not uici.com) as a systems programmer in the mainframe area.

We play no sports and seem to get as little exercise as possible, but we’re increasingly involved in church activities and I joined the choir last summer. When we finally both retire, I hope to take Barbara on a leisurely motoring tour of the western United States.

Herschel White - 2003