Friday, May 4, 2012

Of Celts and Saxons

Celts, 1962-63
Saxons, 1962-63

A couple of years ago I was fascinated to read a thread on the message board for my high school at about a club that once existed at the school in the early-to-mid 1960s. It was called the "Celts" and reportedly was more a pretext for drinking beer and getting into gang fights, and for otherwise engaging in various antisocial behaviors, than the "service club" it was advertised to be.  When someone posted the school's 1963 yearbook, I got a better sense of the guys who were in the Celts, and I was mildly surprised to find that there was another, similar club called the "Saxons" (see attached screen shots).  It isn't clear to me whether the Saxons were hell-raisers like the Celts, or if they were the latter's "good boy" counterparts and rivals.  I used to work with Ken Fisher, a one-time Saxon, at the temple on Wednesday third-shift; however, Ken is no longer working on that shift (although his wife is still the "sister" shift coordinator twice a month) and I haven't seen him in some time.  (By the way, I don't believe that Ken, now a retired FBI agent, was a member of the LDS church when he was in high school.)  The fact that there were "Saxons" as well as "Celts" points up the tribal origins of the club names, suggesting a sort of war-like disposition; one wonders if "Huns," "Vandals," and "Visigoths" were already taken.

Anyway, I'm still intrigued to know that the school once officially sanctioned these clubs, provided faculty sponsors, and even gave them each two pages for photos in the school annual.  It's notable, however, that the school's 1964 yearbook, which is also uploaded to, contains no mention whatsoever of either club, although both evidently continued to exist at the school for several more years; clearly, they fell out of favor with the school administration in the interim, and one can easily imagine why.  By the time I started attending the school in the mid-1970s, the culture had changed significantly.  Various students still drank a lot (in addition to smoking mucha mota) -- and there were still divisions between "jocks" and "heads," despite some blurring of the lines between the two -- but the idea of formally organizing a "thinly disguised gang" (as one poster called the Celts on into an exclusive "boys' service club" would have been completely unheard of in my day.

(The family of one of the Celts pictured in the 1963 yearbook, Darrel Truelock, used to live four or five houses up the street from us.  I don't remember Darrel very well -- he would have been a couple of years older than my oldest brothers, Roger and Robin -- but I do remember his younger brothers, who were closer in age to my brothers Jeff and Kelly.)