Apache High School Trip

We went to a beautiful resort in north-eastern Oklahoma, about 220 miles from Apache by yellow schoolbus, a fun trip with stops along the way. The lake water was stunning, clear and cold – as was the beer. Lots of laughter, love and hijinks.

Apache 1973 Annual (6)


Some facts: Lake Tenkiller on the Illinois River in north-eastern Oklahoma. Named for the Tenkiller family, prominent Cherokees who owned the land and ferry that were bought for the project. The lake covers 52 km² and has a shoreline of over 210 km. Situated in the Cookson Hills of the Ozark Mountains of Cherokee and Sequoyah counties.

I fell deeply in love on the shores of Tenkiller Lake – I often do. Late that night she looked me deep in the eyes and said ‘There’s something I have to tell you.’ Uh Oh, I thought, true love and all that, but luckily she said ‘I’m engaged.’ Oh well, I had suffered rejection before and would suffer it again. Already I knew I had the makings of being a bachelor . . . you’re not meant to feel relief when things like that happen.

When Ma Crews Let Rip

I believe (and of course I’m biased!) that people who swear are on average more trust-worthy, so I think Granma Crews made a mistake in the early seventies in Apache Oklahoma when she didn’t buy a fridge from Stanley Wright.

Stan could hardly say a sentence without saying “son of a bitch” “sonbitch” or “sumbitch”. It was his “whatchacallit”. Some people would say “Let’s load that baby up” where Stan would say “Let’s load the sumbitch”. And he was on form the day Granma Crews arrived at his shop looking for a refrigerator.

They had just about clinched the deal when he said his last sumbitch and Granma Crews decided she’d had enough, slammed the fridge door shut and huffed, “Well you can keep the sumbitch!” and stalked out on Stan who was probably left wondering what he had possibly said to get that reaction! And goodness! He had never heard old Ma Crews speak like that before! Wonder what got into her!?


Research also suggests people who cuss make the best friends!

Football Turnaround – So Glad You Could Leave!

I played football in Apache Oklahoma in ’73 for the Apache Warriors. The coaches did their best to bring this African up to speed on the rules and objectives of gridiron. We played two pre-season warm-up games followed by five league games.

And lost all seven encounters! Myself I was kinda lost on the field, what without me specs! So here’s me, myopically peering between the bars of the unfamiliar helmet at the glare of the night-time spotlights! Hello-o! Occasionally forgetting that I could be tackled even if the ball was way on the other side of the field! WHUMP! Hey! Where’d you come from?

At that point I thought: Five more weeks in America, five more games in the season, football practice four days a week, game nights on Fridays. I wanted out! There was so much I still wanted to do in Oklahoma and in preparing for the trip home. I went up to Coach Hulett with trepidation and told him I wanted to quit football. Well, he wasn’t pleased, but he was gracious. We were a small team and needed every available man, how would they manage without me?

By winning every single one of the last remaining five games, that’s how!!

Coach Hulett won the Most Improved Coach Award and the team ended up with one of their best seasons for years!

I like to think the turnaround was in some small way helped by the way I cheered my former team-mates on from the sideline at the remaining Friday night games! But I suspect it was the fire in the belly of my teammates determined to succeed without me!

Success – after I quit!

Coach Hulett


Here’s a video of the 2014 Apache Warriors. Quite a few of the same surnames from way back in ’73!!

Job Titles & Responsibilities

My host Dad Jim was vice-president of the local bank. One morning he and his friend Tom the president were strategising and planning (OK, drinking coffee), in Tom’s office, having got in earlier through the back door (staff entrance).

One of the ladies popped her head in: “It’s opening time and a dog has left a great big “do” right in the entrance. It needs to be cleaned up, please gentlemen”.

Tom looks at Jim: “Well Jim, you’re in charge of deposits!”


This pic is the old Apache State Bank, not Tom’s bank. Also known as American National Bank; The Inman Building; Corner of Evans and Coblake Avenues, Apache

Campout at the Lake

The important preparation centres around the hebcooler:

Farmers are the same the world over: If you go camping, take the kitchen sink and the fridge and the rest . . . Whatever you do, don’t take TOO LITTLE!


Organise the crew. Peggy makes sure she’s well organised, bloody mary in hand:

Glenn & Tammy Payne, Walter & Pug Hrbacek, Odie & Gene Mindemann, Tom & Peggy Manar, Jim & Katie Patterson

OK! Smile Jaynee, Glen, Walter, Pug, Tom (goofing around with his peace sign), Katie, Odie, Gene, Peggy, Jim. Also kids Mary-Kate, Jimmy, Melissa, Jeff, Marsha, Tammy, Clint, who else? Forgot the Mindemann girls and Hrbacek girls’ names . . . . (tried to cheat n look them up in the Apache schoolbook, but I think they were at school in the metropolis of Boone?).


That night the Great Banking Collapse of Apache of 1973 took place:

Banking collapse
Banking collapse

Trouble is, kids don’t sleep in. (Jim had selflessly volunteered to guard all the hebcoolers overnight . . . )


Stunning people, unforgettable times.