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You may remember this guy as John Coberly.
But now we know him as John E. Johnson.
 
 He'll tell you why.
 
 
 
 
John's Marlborough graduating class - 1949
 
 
 
 
 
 
John's comments about his life
 
 
 
 
When I dropped out of Southeast the second week of my junior year, I had just turned seventeen and decided to join the Navy.
 
I was almost a year older than my classmates because when I started first grade in Kansas, I had to be six in September when school started.
 
They wouldn't budge, so I was nearly seven when I started school.
 
John E. Johnson is the name I had to revert to when I  joined the Navy. That was because  Owen Coberly, my stepfather,  never legally adopted me.
 
So, you can see why I could never be located, concerning previous reunions ... suggesting that anyone might have been moved to do so.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This high school drop-out managed somehow to become a superintendent of schools in a Chicago suburb. I think most of it was all due to a solid foundation of great schooling and important social values that were dropped on me as a kid.
 
Of course I fought it all the way.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My typical "school day"
 
I remember I used to duck out of school quite a lot during my Freshman year. I didn't want to miss Band or ROTC, so I usually slipped out just after lunch.
 
I'd catch the streetcar and head downtown to the main library at 9th and Locust. The truant officers would never think of looking for a kid in the library, for heaven' sake.
 
A really cool librarian caught on that I was there way too often during school hours, so she took me aside one day and said she'd not report me if I would read some of the books she'd give me.
 
I really got all tied up in the ancient Greek and Roman stuff. Read Plato's Republic, Five Comedies of Aristophanes ... lots of classics from that period.  Often we would discuss what I had been given to read.
 
Sensational!
 
Apparently John did go to his shop classes.
 
 
This is the bracelet he made at Southeast and has kept all these years.
 
So, when it turned out that I was about to get an "F" in Miss Latshaw's World History class, she kept me after school one day to inquire as to my frequent absences, and to share her consternation that I really could have done better, had I applied myself.
 
I told her about my hide-out, and although she was skeptical, I told her that I had been studying Greek and Roman history at the library. She made me a deal. "You come to this room next Saturday morning at 9:00 and we'll have a talk."
 
Well, talk we did. I think we discussed the Greeks and Romans for three hours.
 
Back then I knew all the Greek Gods, their Roman counterparts, major buildings, wars, and the lot. She said, "A great deal happened between the Golden Ages and the Second World War. You would know, had you been in class. I am impressed with what you have learned, though." 
 
She gave me an "M" with some stern advice about how to achieve academic success. What a lady! Best teacher I ever had.
 
This Southeast High School drop-out has often thought of those two great people and their positive influence on my life.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John's Views on Dating in High School
 
Dating in the 1950s Dating in 2004
 
 
Those were the days when you had a date, you were a hero if you tried to touch the wire in the bra.
 
Those were the days when your parents told you not to date anyone you'd not want to marry. So no one you really wanted to date would go out with you.
 
Those were the days when getting a beer was just as important as getting a date. If you could get a date and get the beer ... that was heaven. You could touch the wire in the bra!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
John at 68 John and his son Cam
John drove this beauty to the 2004 Reunion
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Final comments on life today and 50 years ago
 
I remember when it was all the rage to play odd man, matching quarters. Jerry Husband and I used to team up on unsuspecting guys and split the take later. I think he's still out in California, but I haven't seen him since I was in the Navy and he joined the Marines.
 
Remember seventh grade? We ( the guys ) thought Barb Fuller was the spitting image of Jane Russell in "The Outlaw."
 
 
Getting old is NOT for sissies!
Still groove on the gals, horses, fast cars, and loud bikes! Am still pretty sharp on the trap field, but it doesn't take the place of ... [deleted]!
 
All of the above comments were in various emails between John and Shannon Jones.
Some comments have been edited for brevity and to maintain a PG rating for this presentation.
 
 
 
 
 
 
John at the 50th Southeast Reunion - 2004
 
 
 
 
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