I started 10th grade at Manatee High School in 1960. If you were at MHS in 1960, you might remember the four confederate flags flying high on the ol' smoke stack . After all these years I can now confess that it was I who put them there.
The "plot" was hatched by my good friend and fellow band member (trumpet), Jim Garrott, a couple of weeks before school started. Very late, the night before the first day of school Jim and I went to the MHS campus. Jim climbed that big tree in front of the cafeteria while I climbed the smoke stack.
The smoke stack had four lightning rods at its top and a heavy ground cable coming down its north side (facing the building). The cable was attached to the stack every 2 to 3 feet with brackets set into the mortar between the bricks. They were just close enough that I could hold on to the cable and climb from bracket to bracket with my feet.
When I got to the top, I started attaching the flags with some wire. Jim and I had figured, incorrectly, that being summer time the boiler would not be on. We were wrong! While I was attaching the second flag the boiler turned on, probably for the hot water in the school. Heated fumes started pouring out of the stack. I moved upwind as quickly as I could but kept attaching the flags.
Everyone was talking about the flags the next morning. Mr. Davis (was that our principal's name?) was none to happy. They called the fire department which arrived with its hook and ladder, but they couldn't position the truck in a place to reach the stack. Thinking back, it was really bad flag etiquette the Stars and Bars flying higher then the Stars and Stripes.
Those four flags flew there until Hurricane Donna took them down the first week of September!
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT REACHES NEW HEIGHTS