Saturday, October 17, 2015

SNGF: How they met

Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun this week is to describe how our parents met.  You can read about it here.  The timing was coincidental since I was looking through some things this afternoon and ran across my parents’ high school yearbooks.

My parents, Gordon Levy and Geraldine Martin, met at Fresno High School in, I believe, 1943.  I remember hearing stories about them meeting when Mom was a sophomore and Dad was a hot shot senior.  I don’t see Mom in the 1943 yearbook so I’m guessing she entered Fresno High School in the fall of 1943 after a few years living in Alameda County with her mother and great aunt.

Here’s the yearbook for Fresno High School in 1944.

And just like kids have done for years and will continue to do, having friends sign the year book was THE thing to do. 

My dad was involved in just about everything in high school.  In fact, that involvement gene stayed with him throughout his life.  He was happiest when he was busy – he must have been really happy in his senior year of high school with all of his activities and his new girlfriend.

Gordon Levy Sr Picture
The Owl, Fresno High School, 1944

I have no idea who Donald Levy is but I’ve run across his name before.  Perhaps a relative?  Or maybe just a friend?

Dad was the Student Body President in the fall of 1943.

Fall Student Body Officers

And somewhere during his senior year, he met a girl.  Apparently he was smitten as they stayed together until his death in 2005.  Looks like the underclassmen (people?) had group pictures taken for the yearbook.

Class of 1946
Geraldine Martin
second row from the bottom, third from the right

Dad was quite the track star and was known as “Flash” Levy due to his amazing speed (ha!).

Flash Levy

From the Owl:  “Levy, undefeated in ten races this season, turned in the best performance of the squad by running the 100 in 10.1 and breaking the school record of 22.4 in the 220 by sprinting the distance in 22.3.  He also anchored a victorious relay team to a win in the county meet in 1:33.6, and a disputed tie with Edison in the city meet.”

Track Team 1944
1944 Fresno High School Track Team
Gordon Levy, bottom row, third from left
Jim Bradshaw, bottom row, third from right

Jim Bradshaw, sitting to Dad’s left, was not only a classmate at Fresno High and Stanford University, but a friend for life.

I’m sure commencement on June 9, 1944 was a big event, especially since D-Day had occurred just 3 days before. 

Commencement 1944 page 1

Dad was the Valedictorian that year – what an honor.  I’d love to come across his speech “To Promote the General Welfare, to Secure the Blessings of Liberty”.  I’ll bet Mom was proud of her man!

Commencement 1944 page 2

Mom always said she didn’t “follow” him to Stanford University but I think it’s more than a little coincidental that they both graduated from Stanford and were rabid fans their entire lives.  She did tell me once, though, that more women were admitted during the war years as so many of the men were off to war.

I found one very sweet treasure in Dad’s yearbook – Mom’s message to him as he graduated. 

Dearest Gordon,

There isn’t really much I can write here but what I do will have to be O.K. I guess!  I guess at times I’ve seemed a little silly to you but I couldn’t seem to be any other way at the time.  I guess you got pretty disgusted with me when I acted like a little baby.  I suppose this is a fine time to say so but I promise I’ll never act that way again.  I don’t see how you’ve put up with me for so long – guess there must be a reason though!  I know I shouldn’t get mad so easily – I was always sorry the minute I did but was too stubborn to give in.

I guess even though I’ve acted like a little fool at times we’ve still had a lot of fun – at least I have.  These have undoubtedly been the happiest months of my life – I guess they always will be.

These are all silly things to be writing here but I had to get them said somehow  Now that I have I guess that’s all there is I can write  Good luck!!

All my love – Gerry

I’ll bet when Mom wrote those words more than 70 years ago, she never thought about her daughter reading (much less transcribing) her message.

I haven’t found a picture of Mom and Dad together during high school (YET) but I have found some cute photos of them individually from that time frame.

Gerry Martin c 1945
Geraldine Martin

I’d like to figure out where she was standing but, so far, I haven’t run across the address of 1441.  I just love the preppy plaid skirt!

She looks so playful here, which is not a word I would have ever used to describe my mom.

Gerry Martin 2 c 1945
Geraldine Martin

And one of Dad.  Nice slacks!

Gordon c1945
Gordon Levy
c 1945

I don’t necessarily know the story of how my grandparents met, but I have the letters they wrote back and forth as they were courting.  And I wrote about their engagement here, including the letter my grandfather wrote to Grandma’s parents asking for her hand.  And I even have the letter they wrote back!

Thanks for the blogging inspiration, Randy!


  1. I have those letters for my grandparents too! I so appreciate it.

    1. It was a different time, that's for sure. Can you imagine what our grandparents would think about facebook?

  2. Lots of Levys in Fresno.

    I recognized that yearbook. It is one I held in my hands many times as we had an abundance of that year's books, for some reason. I was the yearbook advisor for Fresno High from 2001 to 2010, and all of the old unsold books sat on shelves in my office during that time. Don't know what happened to them after I retired.

    1. Wow, who knew those yearbooks would be hanging around all those years later? I have lots of Fresno High School yearbooks - not only did both of my parents go there, but my dad's father and his three brothers, too.

  3. What a great post! I love How They Met stories (and even posted one today about my great-grandparents!). And I also love it when teen romances last and become happy marriages. I hope you share some of the other letters one day.

  4. That was a lot of personal stuff for a yearbook. I wonder what those little silly spats were all about.

  5. Wonderful photos & memorabilia. I have many of the same types of items for my parents, who met at a square dance. I always loved hearing the story when I was a girl.