Tucker Lamkin: “She’s a He!”

Tucker Lamkin, left, was featured on the May 6, 1967, Missourian Youth Page, in a story by Margaret Randol headlined, “Kindergarten Class Has a Unique Helper (She’s a He!)”

Tucker, son of Mr. and Mrs. J.T. Lamkin, 702 North street, was the first male to participate in Central High School’s kindergarten aid program.

[Editor’s note: The story referred to Tucker as an “aid,”which didn’t feel right to me, so I checked an online reference which said, ” In American English, a personal assistant is usually an aide (nurse’s aide, presidential aide) but an inanimate object or process is always an aid (hearing aid, first aid).”  I actually SAW Tucker move, so I can attest that he was NOT an “inanimate object,” and was an aide. I didn’t write the original story, but I probably edited it and should have caught it 43 years ago. It’s probably too late to run a correction.]

Signs of acceptance

I’ve discovered over the years that there are two steps that have to be taken before a minority group can be said to be integrated into a larger group.

Step 1: You do “First” person stories:

  • First woman firefighter
  • First black firefighter
  • First woman construction worker
  • First Hispanic Representative
  • First gay mayor (Get the idea?)

Step 2: (and more importantly) The LAST time you do one of those “First” person stories. That’s when it stops being unusual to see that group as news.

Little girls want to marry him

Margaret did a good job on the story. There are lots of funny quotes:

  • “Isn’t he handsome?”
  • “I’m going to marry him when I grow up.”
  • “No, you aren’t. He’s going to marry me. Maybe he’ll even let me ring the bell when it’s time to go in.”

It’s worth following this link to read the whole story about Tucker’s Adventures in Kindergarten.

Uncharacteristically, the children in the photo with Tucker aren’t identified. I’m pretty sure jBlue chewed me out for that.

20 Replies to “Tucker Lamkin: “She’s a He!””

  1. In the first picture, I am in the middle with Yvonne Callis on the left and I believe Russell Boswell on the left. It was at Washington School in Mrs Headricks class.

  2. I remember a “first” story from my senior year in high school, although I’m not sure if the event was marked in the public record. Martha Middlebrook, an African-American student, was a member of the court for Basketball Queen, and that was the first time any “person of color” had been in the court for any of the sports queens we crowned at C.H.S. back in those days. Martha’s life ended up being tragically cut short. She was a staff member on the plane that crashed as it was carrying orphans out of Vietnam.

  3. In my senior year I was in more trouble than usual with the administration. Before the Christmas break a list of perspective Spring graduates was published that did not include me. During my weekly meeting with principal Calicutt the question was raised to which he gleefully responded that I was lacking a quarter credit in Prcactical Arts. On further investigation the discrepancy was revealed to be caused by the fact that I had taken drivers Ed in the summer instead of regular semester, the difference being a quarter credit (others were allowed to graduate the quarter shy).

    By this time all of the traditional practical arts courses wewe filed with the exception of typing, and despite the laudatory comments regarding that course elsewhere on this blog, there was no way this dyslexic was taking that course with its homework in the last semester.

    After an attempt to revise the (girls) coking course, I ran the bluff on the kindergarten aide. At a special meeting the school board called the bluff after Mrs. Head rick, kindergarten treacher at Washington school and our neighbor who particularly objected to being awakened at 2am by the our dinner bell, agreed to give me her special ministrations.

    Thus began my carreer as an educator. The class room was home to many guest who, after finding nothing to do after skipping classes, came to visit.

    Margaret originally wrote this piece for the Tiger, but I refused to agree to publication without the above explanation which is why it ended up in the Missourian with Ken as photographer.

  4. The first photo is me, in the middle and Russell Boswell on the right and Yvonne Callis on the left. I don’t recognize the other kids in the other picture.

  5. After rereading the first response that took 20 minutes, I realize that typing might have been the better choice.

    For several weeks of that semester Mrs. Headrick was out ill. Nevertheless, at year-end she gave me a great scrapbook. That may have been related to the end of the bell ringing. Using it, the students in the first photo are as above. In photo 2 they appear to be: Brian Jackson, one of the Schlitt twins, Cynthia Hansen, Melody Howard and Barbara Pierce (apologies in advance).

    Not pictured is Frank Williams who had the artificial eye no one told me about until it fell out and rolled across the floor.

    1. She may have told you obliquely when she said, “Keep an eye on Frank.”

      So, how did you like it? Would you have been happier in cooking class or did you find that teaching suited you?

  6. Tucker, I too was a frequent visitor to Wade Calicutt’s office…………and I was a faculty member! While he couldn’t withhold my diploma, he managed to make me pay for my “sins” in other ways. In spite of being banished to the Junior High Campus, I loved my students, most of my colleagues, and teaching in general.

  7. Mrs. Busch

    As to the story, were you not the faculty advisor to the Tiger at the time it was written, and, therefore, the decision maker on whether to print the expanded version?

    Second, as an example of how far our civilization has developed, I once blurted “damn” in its two syllable form in your sophomore English class, much to the horror/humor of my classmates. A big deal then, not so much now.

    Finally, I’m sure Ken would love to print more of the clash between the SEMO mentality and the management style of a career military figure. Care to collaborate?

      1. Yes, it would have been JoAnn Bock, who by the way was banished to the junior high after run-ins with the administration. I was hired in the fall of 1972.

  8. OK, children, play nicely. I’m pretty sure that the statute of limitations has run out on anything that happened at Central High School in the 60s.

    Well, now that I think of it, they just MIGHT be still looking for the guy who blew up a toilet by dropping carbide in the bowl and flushing it. (Or that could have just been an urban legend. I didn’t actually SEE the event.)

  9. I enjoyed Mrs. Bush’s comments. I was the third of the Lamkin brothers that she had as students. She made that clear to me on the first day of class. While she may not remember me as a student, I remember her as one of the best teachers I had.

    It is fun to learn that she too had her trials with the CHS administration.

    I wonder if she still raises beagles.

    1. Who could forget any of the Lamkin boys? We do still raise a few show beagles. After retiring from teaching, I embarked on a career as a professional dog show handler. Many of the same principles were involved in training dogs as in teaching!

  10. Now I know why you dated me in college, Tucker, I could type!! I’m so glad that a friend, Sherry Forsee,shared this ‘interesting’ article with me!

  11. For the record, the class included: David Leuckel, Barbara Pierce, Russell Boswell, John “Coach” Miller, Brian Jackson, the Schlitt twins – Joe & Jim, Jane Rutledge, Cynthia Hansen Lisa Weiss, Nancy Saunders, Randy Lueder, Darrell Blackwell, Melody Howard, Denise Mitchell, Yvonne Callis, Kristy Back, Randy Luttrell, Scotty Frankes, Herbert Smith, Laura Heidbreder, Jeff Richardson, and, never to be forgotten, the above described Frank Williams. For those interested, I could probably be persuaded to at least scan relevant items from the scrapbook.

    And, I want to thank Ken for putting this headline into cyber space. I’ve heard from so many folks – who obviously have read only it alone.

  12. Whoa – now THIS takes me back…my biggest memory of you, Tucker, is you making a paper duck’s bill and wearing it during a reading of some story – was it “Make Way for Ducklings”? You made learning fun! I was sure you would marry me someday.
    Thanks for listing the class members. I had no idea that so many people I became friends with later were in my kindergarten class. Thanks for the pictures, Ken!

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