Thursday, June 28, 2007


Cooper and Linville - Relationships with Lowell Wiggins

Cooper - I always thought Wiggins was a really good guy, because whenever somebody called the school to hire a kid, he always sent for me and Don Ossinger. Some people said we looked alike, so maybe he thought we were both Don and didn’t really direct the favoritism to me, but I don’t like to quibble when someone gives me a gift horse. Now I know that a lot of bad kids like Linus didn’t like him because he was in charge of discipline, but to be a discipline problem somebody had to let you in their group and nobody ever did. It is hard to get caught doing stuff if you have to do it all by yourself. Actually, it is hard to think up stuff to do. I didn’t even know the Moose Traps existed.

Linville - I must admit we thought Lowell Wiggins was a twit but, he had a job to do and you may as well pick someone nobody likes anyway to administer the discipline. The last thing on our minds at lunchtime was eating. One day during lunch hour, Winschell and I were nosing around nooks and crannies which were generally off limits to students. We stumbled onto some passageway that led up to a trapdoor which, in turn, led up to the area above the roof of the auditorium. It was a huge dark attic of sorts and we lit matches or our lighters to find our way around up there. We got quite disoriented at first but, before panic set in, I said, "Follow me, Winsch! Stay close and don't step between those joists 'cause it's about 40 feet down to the seats." (I liked hanging with Winschell because he always let me be the boss.) We formed the Dark Dungeon Club and dues were your lunch money. Some guys couldn't afford it, (they preferred to eat lunch instead,) so we swore them to secrecy before letting them resign. I finally got us across the entire width of the auditorium ceiling and discovered a narrow opening above the attic wall between the studs, just barely big enough to slide our skinny asses through into a room which looked like an unoccupied faculty office of sorts and was kept locked from the hallway. We could open the door from the inside but we peered through just a crack before we exited to make sure no faculty members were snooping around. After that, we started charging kids two bits to take the tour with us. I think we had damn near $50 before we got caught and they were waiting for us in the room we used to exit through. Wiggins wanted to expel us for a week. I thought, oh shit, my dad isn't gonna like this! I think Leonard Johnson intervened and let us off if we promised to keep our noses clean. Johnson was one hell of a guy. We were lucky to have him. Anyway, Wiggy is offering you a godamn job out of one side of his mouth and kicking my skinny ass out of school with the other. What a two-faced jerk! I bought my red basketball shoes at the book store with some of our proceeds. They sure looked good with my red junior high basketball uniform. I think Winschell bought us some cigarettes and French fries after school with his share. We were hungry having been too busy for lunch.


On Mac Malone

Ken Linville - Mack Malone was my mentor, my baseball coach, my teacher in many things. If only I could return to those days to let him know that the things he was trying to cram into my immature, know-it-all, teen-age brain were life’s lessons and that if I had heeded his wisdom then, I’d be a better man today. There I go again; too soon old, too late smart. I have written of him on our website back in some of the vignettes, I think.

My first contact with this great man was in the summer of 1952. I was playing ball for Val Kirk’s American Legion team in Burien. Remember Kirk’s Drug Store? I think it was on Ambaum Blvd up by the Burien Garden apartments where I lived for a short time while my dad was building the house on S.192nd St. just south of the airport. I was 14 years old playing with kids who were 17, a huge difference at that age. I wasn’t a starting pitcher but I played a lot as a reliever. I was so skinny I was only effective for 3 or 4 innings anyway. I was playing mostly with guys from the classes of ’53 and ’54, Bud Ennis, Joe Tomita, Claude Murdock, etc. Mac wasn’t a coach of the Legion team but he was there watching us, scouting upcoming talent. The next summer I played Babe Ruth League which was brand new in ‘53. It was called Little Bigger League for kids 13, 14, and 15. That’s the year I played with Owen Jackson, Bill Brown, Al Bahrenburg, Keith Davison, Don Keppler to name a few. Again, Mac was there watching us pull off a successful season. In ’54, as a sophomore, Mac brought me up to the varsity baseball team and, instead of giving him 110%, I began slacking off, not hustling, breaking the rules, smoking, drinking beer, thinking I really had it made now. What a naïve idiot I was. I had the best coach I’d ever had the privilege of playing under and I blew it all away. The sad thing is, I didn’t even know enough to care. I learned more about baseball from Don Malone than I ever even knew existed. I learned more important things from him, too, but I never realized how essential they were until years later.

Mr. Malone bought a 5 acre tract of wooded land in about ’53 or ’54 right about where S. 188th St. met with Ambaum Blvd south of Burien. It’s part of the airport now but I remember when I was riding my bike past there, and later on, driving by, if he wasn’t coaching or teaching, Mack would be out there cleaning the land off by hand and I’d stop to talk with him. I should have been picking up an axe or shovel and helping him for all I was worth for what I owed him. He built a warehouse there which he sold, and which later became part of the airport just as did my place over on S.192nd St. across from Angle Lake Grade School.

Mac married Carol, a very attractive young lady who worked in the office at Highline. She was a graduate of Highline's class of 1949. When they started dating, around 1952, they had to be very careful. Although she wasn’t a student, it wasn’t then considered proper to be dating another member of the staff. They had to pass secret notes between them to arrange their trysts and keep their relationship secret. None of us had a clue. Mac taught math, but his forte’ was coaching and I’ll never be able to go back and take advantage of what he was trying to offer me. I shall always regret it. There were two people at Highline who influenced my future the most, I think: Miss Dorothy Cope and the great Mr. Donald Malone.

Deanne Blakley Bellemans - Margie Black and I had algebra with him, must have been in our junior year. Mack could see Margie and I had no interest in math of any kind, so he came up with a math test, just using true and false questions. He reasoned we had a better change passing any test this way. We both passed! I wish I'd known he was still alive because I'm actually quite good at math. No, no one else had the true or false test, just Margie and me. He called us Judy and Irma, he enjoyed us as much as we enjoyed him! You're right, it doesn't sound like we were well served by that, I still don't get algebra! If a teacher had done that to one of my girls I'd had a fit!

OBIT - Donald Mack Malone - Born in Lincoln, Nebraska on Aug. 26, 1925, a long time resident of Burien, passed away June 22nd from the effects of Parkinson's. He graduated from high school in Harrisburg, Oregon and joined the Navy. After leaving the Navy and completing his education, Don taught math and coached baseball and basketball at Highline High School for 9 years prior to going into private business. He is survived by Carol, his loving wife of 55 years, as well as his children, Toni (Duane) Kiehle, sons, Bob and Kal, and grandchildren, Courtney, Katherine and Jennifer.

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