Marsha Leibo Pollock and Deborah Mizrahi Katz – Junior High and Beyond

Marsha Leibo Pollock and Deborah Mizrahi Katz – Junior High and Beyond
1955 Landon High School Football Program

1955 Landon High School Football Program

By Laura Jane Pittman
Resident Community News

When Marsha Leibo Pollock and Deborah Mizrahi Katz entered junior high together, the two had already been friends for many years. They recall their remaining years of school to be equally as fun as the first ones.

Their 7th grade classes met in Swaim Memorial Methodist because it had a lot of classrooms. For 8th grade, the two had Mr. Whitson – one of the few male teachers at the time.

“All the girls were in love with him,” recalled Katz. “We were so used to having old maid teachers.”

A combination of Mr. Whitson and the sweltering heat of an un-airconditioned classroom turned Pollock into a daydreamer during school, she laughed.

The two girls, along with their friends, frequently took the 31 Colonial Manor bus to Downtown Jacksonville to go to the movies or shop. At the time, there were separate water fountains for black and white residents, and the bus was segregated as well.

“I was very dark back then because I was outside all the time, and the bus driver would look at me to see if I was sitting in the right place,” said Katz. “I would sometimes sit in the back if I was riding with our maid.”

Their families also belonged to the Beauclerc Country Club (it became the JCA 25 years ago).

“We weren’t allowed at the other clubs because we were Jewish, so we had our own,” said Pollock. “I remember my housekeeper refusing to take me because it was ‘too far.’ San Clerc Road was the end of the city limits at that time, and it took about 25 minutes to get there. The golf course was located where the Villages of San Jose is.”

But most of the fun took place around Landon High School. Football games on Friday nights at the Gator Bowl, fashion shows, class plays and programs were highlights. Students frequented the Hasty Tasty, the Amber House for its hamburgers and the Texas Drive In for its barbecue and lime freezes. On weekends, groups would spin records and hang out in the Leibo’s huge rec room.

“We had to swim sometimes in PE, and we used the pool at the Southside Youth Center, near where the San Marco Library is now,” said Pollock. “We would have to go there, get dressed, swim, change, and get back. And you had to pass PE to graduate. It was strict – we had white one-piece gym suits that we had to keep clean, and our shoes had to be polished.”

Another interesting memory took place during wartime. The students had regular training in case of a military attack. The drills consisted of them jumping under desks and learning what to do in case of emergency.

All the activities made for closeness among classes. Pollock and Katz still keep in touch with a bunch of “girls” with whom they graduated – traveling together about once a year. The “Girls of ’42/’43,” as they call themselves, come from as far away as Texas, Michigan and the West Coast to maintain lifelong friendships and reminisce.

“We just celebrated our 70th birthdays together,” said Katz. “We have so much fun.”


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