Mark Ferguson Remembers John deSalme


Thank you for posting about John doSalmes passing. He was a good band instructor and encouraged me to switch from clarinet to Bass Clarinet and Contra-bass Clarinet in our concert band. He also encouraged me to switch over to Baritone Saxophone for Jazz band, one type of music I really enjoyed, and that switch was paramount in my musical journey. I loved Bari-Sax so much that I joined the Iowa State University Cyclone ‘Varsity’ Marching Band as their very FIRST marching Bari-Sax player.  I am still a member of the ISU Alumni Marching Band to this day and often see people from West High, like Julie Kent Larson in the audience.

I often wondered if John was still directing bands somewhere.  He gave me the gift of music and I still enjoy playing every year in the ISU Alumni Marching Band. I even have a vanity licence plate that reads, “BAR1SAX” in liew of being the FIRST bari-sax marching band member and alumni member.  

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Mark Ferguson

Doug Hetzler’s Remembrances of West

I don’t know if anyone is going to see this, but this is my compilation of musings about my experience of West High school –  the extra-curricular activities; the students; the teachers; the memories after 50 years.


I first encountered West High School before it opened. My neighbor, Jim Malmberg, and I rode our bikes to the construction site of the new school in summer of ?1967, and after arriving at the site and wandering around, ran into a tall gentleman who introduced himself as Edwin Barker – the new principal of the soon to be opened school.

I was there when the school first opened to begin my eighth grade year, and thought it was a pretty special place.  I spent the next 5 academic years there, along with many classmates.


– Mr. DeSalme –concert band; marching band; jazz band; pep band; orchestra

Pleasure of making music; of marching under the lights on the City High field for the West High football games; of marching in the University of Iowa homecoming parade;

Of being on-stage at Hancher Auditorium for the closing scene of “The Music Man” and  playing “76 Trombones” on my trumpet while triumphantly marching across the stage and leading a column up the aisle through the audience – I must confess as I was descending the steps from the stage, I was focused more on not falling on the steps than playing the music, and I lost my place in the song and went up the aisle with lots of swagger, but not playing a single note;

Band trip to Chicago – being impressed with the chops of one of the Chicago suburb high school jazz bands; attending a Chicago Symphony concert and being impressed by their musicianship;

Not fully appreciating the excellence of Dennis Edelbrock on the trumpet; preparing solos and small group pieces for the various music contests; weathering the storm of band members not wearing black shoes for concerts and whether brown shoe wearing musicians would be banned from the performance – hint: they were not; endlessly looping “Pomp and Circumstance” with the other orchestra members during the graduation ceremony for the class ahead of us (which included my sister).

Tom Filer, Don Rinehart, and Robert Cole on percussion; Chris Wilhite, Dan Hackman and Clayton Weir on trombones; John Shepherd on trumpet; Nancy Hug on bassoon; Walt Osborne and Tom Searls on French horn; Theresa Sater on oboe; Deb Dee (?and Jackie Dague) on flute; Cheri McCabe on clarinet; Janet Gregory and Mark Ferguso on saxophone; Dan Bergerud on bass clarinet.

After graduating, for several Decembers being part of an itinerant brass quintet (including Jim Larew and Dennis Edelbrock) playing Christmas carols in bars in downtown Iowa City; on city busses; and in the lobby of the North Tower of the University of Iowa Hospital, with people lining the plexiglass for 6 floors above to listen to us.

Debate and forensics

The encouragement of David Kanellis; the music-making of Mr. Kanellis and his three piece group; attending events at small college campuses; enjoying extemporaneous speaking; being encouraged by Mr. Kanellis to try the radio events but not doing that – I have since been told by a number of people that I have a good “radio voice”, so perhaps a fallback career if I need one; teaming with Kathy Schrock in debate, and she told me about her brother who attended this obscure college – St. Olaf College – then went on to medical school at the University of Iowa – a path I would duplicate; being impressed by the prowess of Judy Becker, Natalie Kanellis, and Craig Becker at these events


I played football from 8th grade through 11th grade, well, more accurately I should say I was on the football team, with limited game time, (thank you coaches for not allowing me to add any CTE suffered during my forgettable football career), during those years.  Practice memories include: scabs forming on the back of my hands from people I tackled falling on my hands and driving them into the turf, well more typically dirt; avoiding straight-on contact when Glen McCord as a pulling guard was trying to make like Jerry Kramer of the Green Bay Packers and level me as I was holding a pad in my position as a defensive end and side stepping at the last instant to preserve my well-being (unlike “Rudy” of the Notre Dame “Fighting Irish”;

Drinking water out of my helmet, that was used as a water-holding reservoir during two-a-day practices in August – is this FDA approved?; taking pride in how un-scarred I could keep my helmet, in contrast to the helmets of Tracy Hirt and Dick Ball; being impressed by how high Keith Johnson could punt the football; the excitement of being part of the team running onto the field at City High for our home games under the lights on Friday nights; my pride in causing and recovering a fumble against the City High JV, that subsequently led to Gary Yoder scoring a touchdown and became the first time a West High football team defeated a City High football team; being levelled by Jim Martin (a 250 lb defensive lineman in the class ahead of us, who went on to be a small college all-conference player) during a tackling drill and seeing stars and thinking that as a 140 lb defensive back, I might have more fun the next year being on the cross country team; the supportive coaching of Gary Hollingsworth, Lloyd Dill, Dean Frerichs, Don Lamm, Dennis Bahr

I’m giving away secrets now, but after 50 years, this should be archived: learning songs on the team bus that may not have been carried forward as a tradition, but should not be forever lost . The official West High fight song was written by Regina Gelman when she was, I believe, a senior and I was an eighth grader.  An unofficial West High fight song that I learned on the football team bus coming home from a game (which I don’t remember if we won or lost):

“Oooooh, we’re the mighty Trojans

The r—-s of the night

We’re dirty sons of b—–s

And we’d rather f—k than fight

Oh hidey hidey C—-t almighty

Who the h—l are we?

S—t, f—k, c—k, s—k

The West High Varsity”

Please do not forward this, or attribute it to me or circulate on social media.

Cross country

During my senior year, running during practices coached by Jerry Bush; practicing with Jeff Hartzler and Mark Kozik and Greg Leichty; doing 5 mile runs from campus through University Heights with Jeff and Mark and occasionally Mark Parker – sometimes during gym class, allowed by Mr. Bush – appreciated that he trusted us to not being doing something illicit and allowing us off-campus when that probably was not “officially” approved; kicking a 40 yard field goal during cross country practice while wearing running shoes; having more fun playing football during cross country practice than I did when I was on the football team; having cross country meets on various golf courses in eastern Iowa – no better surface for running


Running on the looping street in front of the school in Converse basketball shoes; training on the dirt path around the football field behind the school; running on the cinders at the City High track; running my first 880 and having no sense of pace and leading everyone by 20 yards after the first lap and then dropping out exhausted 100 yards into the second lap; loaning Jeff Hartzler my $12 spikes; buying my first pair of Adidas running shoes for $15 since the kangaroo leather “Gazelles” were way too expensive at $25; seeing John Waite snap a pole while pole vaulting; watching Don “White Lightning” Rinehart sprinting; being coached by Gary Hollingsworth, who probably could have still out-run us all; attending the Drake Relays and being impressed by the caliber of the athletes and the excitement of the crowd


Humanities class taught by Dr. Brooke Workman – our class elected to study the 1920s and for my paper I chose to write about why prohibition was enacted; did research at the University of Iowa main library, finding magazine articles from the 1920s in the main stacks at the library, and gained a better understanding of the thought process at that time – understanding only exceeded by seeing Ken Burns’ treatment of the subject in his documentary; being impressed at the attention to detail given by Dr. Workman to reviewing my paper – he found that I missed a comma in one of my direct quotations – who goes to that trouble? What a teacher!  What would he think of ChatGPT?

Math classes taught by Dean Frerichs – he introduced us to punch cards and Fortran – my thinking at the time was, what busywork – who will ever want to spend time doing this?

Biology class with Dale Dye – I remember he had our class debate; “Bacteria – Good or Bad”?  How profound and mind stretching.

English class with Lucille McCarthy – I honestly do not remember what we read, (? Huck Finn, Shakespeare?) but I appreciated her earnestness and she scheduled time for one-on-one sessions with us to talk about our future plans, which I really appreciated

German class – with Frau Sjeklocha and subsequently Frau Galer. When I first signed up for a foreign language, I signed up for Latin, thinking in my long term mindset that a future doctor (me, hopefully) should be well-versed in Latin, and after the first day of class being told by Walt Osborne — here comes the non-PC statement – “Have you seen the German teacher? What a babe!”  He was right, and I dropped Latin and transferred into the German class that day.

Shop class in junior high with Mr. Bader – also known as the “Master Bader” by some rapscallions; making birdhouses and learning how to solder and rivet

Gym class – memory of first time wearing a jockstrap; flag football, basketball, dodgeball; , doing the Presidential fitness test (finally got the award when my softball throw improved); first day I was able to jump and touch the rim of a basketball hoop – an ability long-since lost; the smell of some people’s (who will not be named) gym clothes that went unwashed for untold eons

Goofing off – playing “HORSE” with Paul Roberts in the gym – with increasingly creative shots, a la the subsequent McDonald’s commercial with Larry Bird and Michael Jordan; playing table tennis with Jim Houghton, whose tennis skill carried over to this game; jumping on the trampoline with Duane Eash – and being unwilling to attempt a backflip, even with the safety harness, for fear of doing irreparable harm to myself

Great vacation – taking a trip to Steamboat, Colorado with Duane Eash, and Mike Saeugling and going skiing in thigh-deep powder in blue jeans and not having any idea how to do this – only prior snow experience had been sledding on Iowa hills – 3 day lift ticket for $18.

Other random memories

Being impressed by Jim Peterson’s extensive knowledge base – he explained why wagon wheels appear to be rotating backward – our retina records 5 images a second so as it captures the images the spoke may be behind the prior captured image and give the illusion of rotating the direction opposite to the direction it actually is rotating

Betsy Elliot making like her brother and blitzing the quarterback in a “powder puff” football game

Jo Miller on the uneven parallel bars – Jo will remember the incident

WARNING: **Another non-PC statement**  – (it has been 50 years, that was another time, and I’m doing this remotely so no one can slap me, and the intent of the statement is complimentary); the memory of our “hot” West High cheerleaders in their little skirts

The pocket-protector wearing, briefcase with a slide rule carrying individuals – you know who you are – who blended into the big happy West High family.

The integration of a foreign species – “former University High students” – into our West High family.


Perhaps I am being somewhat naïve or I was unaware of things that went on, but it seemed to me that our diverse group of students co-existed peacefully – live and let live.  Perhaps because we had lived through the harsh reality of the Vietnam war on television; the Vietnam war protests in Iowa City and the cataclysmic events of the JFK, RFK, and MLK assassinations, we had some perspective on life and what really matters.  Or perhaps our frontal lobe development and Iowa upbringing combined to make us good classmates. 

Quoting from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” – “The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wasteoids, dweebies, dickheads – they all adore him.  They think he’s a righteous dude.”  I don’t know that we had all these sub-categories in our class, but there did seem to be a spirit of tolerance for everyone.

In Closing

I would REALLY like to be there for the reunion, but I have an important commitment in another time zone. Thank you for being great classmates those many years ago, and best wishes for the reunion and future days.

Doug Hetzler

West High School – Iowa City

Class of 1973

Gene Hartsock Holiday Memory

Hey Dave

My Father, when asked what was his favorite holiday meal was he would quickly say:

Roast Goose with stuffing, potatoes and gravy and Plum Pie.

He really meant it and until we moved into the city, we had it. Sadly, the recipe has not been saved.

He thought Turkey  was overrated. 

Merry Christmas and Happy new Year to everyone!

Rodica’s Faculty Tribute

Rodica’s memory is of a University of Iowa faculty member who meant a lot to her.

Don Gurnett was a professor and scientist at University of Iowa and he made huge contributions to space plasma wave physics. 

UI had a plasma instrument on every single JPL spacecraft and Don and Bill Kurth came to JPL on a regular basis to attend project science group meetings. It was always heartwarming to see how University of Iowa, where I had received my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy, were both present in my life. Don and Bill always stopped to say hello and chat with me. Perhaps there are other West High alumni who knew Gurnett or had him as a professor at UI.

September 11, 2001 – Twenty Years Later

From Martin Andersen

Dear Friends,

Twenty years after September 11, 2001, Chris and I pause to reflect on memories of that day’s events and the aftermath. It is perhaps not surprising to observe that, even as that period was so charged with emotion, drama, and tragedy, those feelings have been slowly receding into the realm of equanimity and memory. That process has been aided by the fact that no similar event has occurred in our part of the world since those unforgettable days. Still, recently, as we view the retrospectives on PBS and other sources, feelings of grief and sadness re-emerge. In a certain sense, these experiences, now two decades old, will be with us always. At the same time, Chris and I have to acknowledge that, although we were witnesses to these events, what we carry cannot in any way be compared to those whose loved ones have perished, either on that day, or in the years after – up to the present time – from the lingering health effects associated with the disaster and subsequent recovery and cleanup. It is also sobering to note that many more first responders and recovery workers have died since 9/11 than all the victims on the day and immediate aftermath itself.  

As we have done frequently throughout the years, tomorrow we will be attending Hoboken’s annual September 11 outdoor memorial service, on the waterfront with the backdrop of the Freedom Tower.

Below is a piece I wrote a week after the World Trade Center towers fell, which was shared with friends and family. Thought I would send it out once again.

One Week Later

 I have been wanting to write to our friends for a while now – to relate the events of one week ago from our point of view (which, literally, is only a mile from the site of the lower Manhattan disaster). For Chris and me it has been, so far, just a matter of trying to get through each day—finding not enough energy for much extra. But we must try to get our lives back to quasi-normality. Somehow. So I would like to tell you what we saw.

On a remarkably clear and beautiful Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, Chris went out early to join her walking group. After their walk, followed by coffee at Starbucks, and more coffee with a friend she ran into on the way home, she arrived in the lobby of our apartment building at about 9:30, where she first heard about airplanes colliding into the World Trade Center towers from the doorman. She went upstairs, got her binoculars, and then proceeded to a deck area between 1 and 2 Marineview Plazas, where she could get a good view of what was happening in downtown Manhattan. (The view from our apartment in 1 Marineview is to the north, east, and west, but not south towards the World Trade Center). Both towers were burning fiercely by then. Shocked, she stood and watched the scene for about ten minutes before the World Trade Center 2 tower (the second to be struck) collapsed in front of her eyes. But, because (from her point of view) 1 WTC tower stood in front of the other, at first she did not know what she was witnessing. In fact, it appeared as if the top of 2 WTC was exploding, and that the fire, smoke, and debris that spread as the tower collapsed on itself looked to her as if all thesurrounding buildings were exploding! She screamed. A while later, 1 WTC fell; and shortly afterward Chris decided she needed to go back up to the apartment. The time was about 10:45am.

At that moment, I was driving home from Newark and a canceled New Jersey Symphony Orchestra rehearsal. My first inkling that something was wrong had occurred at about 9:15am. Riding the elevator in our building down from the 24th floor, a woman asked me if I had “heard the news about the Trade Center”—something about a plane crashing into one of the towers. I said no—but was in a hurry to get to work. Driving out of the garage and down Hudson Street about 9:20, I saw both towers on fire, as the car radio told me that two airplanes had hit the towers, and that therefore this seemed not to be just an accident, but a deliberate act. Not knowing quite what to do, I headed west to Newark, looking over my left shoulder frequently, catching a glimpse here and there of a catastrophe in the making. Arriving at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Symphony’s home, I quickly found out that the rehearsal was “on hold”. I was finally able to get through to Chris on the cell phone (service was very sporadic the whole day) and found her nearly hysterical. She was at home, just about to go to the deck. I told her to take it easy, but to take a camera. Then I rushed out to the back parking lot of the NJPAC; and there, with many colleagues, and at a distance of perhaps eight miles, witnessed the collapse of 2 WTC. First there were two burning towers—then, eight seconds later, there was only one. Rehearsal was cancelled. Some orchestra members living in NYC went to the homes of their NJ colleagues. Having no takers, I headed back home immediately.

               By the time I got to Hoboken, 1 WTC had already fallen:  both towers now were gone. It took me some time to garage the car—police were already blocking off streets near the river for emergency vehicles–and we live only a block from the Hudson. I found Chris in the apartment, glued to the television, and very upset. We decided to go back to the deck—but I ended up preceding her, taking binos and camera with me. What a terrible sight! Already clouds of smoke and steam were engulfing the disaster site and surrounding buildings—being produced by the efforts of the firefighters to bring the blazes under control. I stood there with my good friend Bob Reynolds (who lives in 2 Marineview) for a long time. There was little to say. A few others on the deck exchanged their stories. I did take a few pictures. The need to document…

After a time, Bob and I parted company and I returned to the apartment. After watching some more coverage on television (Chris still glued to the tube), I took our camcorder back to the deck and shot some footage. Chris soon joined me there—by now it was past noon. After a while we went back inside.

Earlier that morning in the apartment, before any of this happened, while Chris was already on her walk, I was on my NordiceTrack machine, reading a book as I “skied” before getting ready to leave for Symphony. The book in question was called The Journey Home, by Edward Abbey. He had lived in Hoboken for two years in the 1960’s, also spending a lot of time in Manhattan, before heading out to the West, living there, loving and writing about it for the rest of his life. I came across the following passage from the chapter entitled Manhattan Twilight, Hoboken Night:

At evening I walked once more along the waterfront and gazed across the river at the somber forms of Manhattan, the great towers largely dark, for on Sunday no one is at work over there but the janitors. I don’t know how New York can survive.

I believe the city is doomed. The air is poisonous, not so much with filth and disease as with something deadlier—human hatred.

But, a few paragraphs later, I read:

We must save the city. It is essence and substance of us all—we cannot lose it without diminishing our stature as a nation, without a fatal wound.           

My words therefore are dedicated to that city we love, that visionary city of the prophecies, humane and generous, that city of liberty and beauty and joy which will come to be, someday, on American earth, on the shore of the sea.

Now I know that this was what I was reading as the airliners, filled with hate and fear and fire and jet fuel, plunged into the towers.

The week has crept along very slowly, and our emotions have run the gamut from sadness and tears to melancholy, numbness and weariness. Still there is a weight and a cloud that hangs over us—just as that smoke-cloud still hangs over “Ground Zero”, which we have gone down to the waterfront to look at almost every night. On Tuesday evening the cloud struck me as shroud-like; Chris likened it to the souls of the dead, hovering over the scene. All along the Hoboken waterfront makeshift shrines have sprung up, consisting of candles, signs (some painted on driftwood), flags, and pictures of the missing. We spent time one night, re-lighting candles which had gone out. Good therapy, cathartic.

The Symphony cancelled its Opening Night Gala with Doc Severinsen; but decided to go ahead with a completely changed program for the weekend concerts on Friday and Sunday: a program of sadness and, ultimately, of hope. After some moving opening remarks—almost like being in church—we began playing the Star-Spangled Banner—but very softly and slowly with strings only, plus snare drum. An artistic risk that came out beautifully—most of the audience listened in meditative silence, while a few joined in to sing softly near the end. Next we played Bach’s Air on the G String, followed by Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man—that quintessential affirmation of humanity, written at the close of World War II. After intermission, we concluded the program with the “Eroica” Symphony(No. 3) of Beethoven, whose slow Funeral March is then dissipated in the final movement with a message of supreme hope and affirmation. An emotionally draining experience for all involved—found myself tearing up at the end. Exhausted afterward. Sunday also.

One happy story: the morning of the disaster, the father of one of my young violin students was just about to take the five minute train ride on the PATH train from Jersey City to the World Trade Center when he saw the first plane hit. He stood there and watched the whole spectacle, worrying about coworkers already at work on the 92nd floor of 2 WTC. He had lived through the 1993 WTC bombing; and being one of the managers of his firm, had subsequently instructed his employees to always leave the building immediately at the very first hint or rumor of trouble. They followed his counsel to the letter that horrible day, and everyone at his company escaped, safe and sound. Those in other offices nearby were not so lucky. But his people are alive, at home with their families.

Well, that is our story thus far. Thank you again to all who called or emailed us. This has been a terrible time—but somehow it seems to bring us, the living, all that closer together. And that is a good thing. Time for a little gratitude. Thanks to all.

God bless,

Martin and Chris Andersen

Barb (Alderman) Acker’s West Side Story Memory

Hi Dave,

Barb Alderman Acker here. It is so much fun to hear about everyone! My memory of West Side Story, was how hard everyone worked to pull it off. I was personally so scared I can hardly remember any of it, except for one performance when the scaffolding moved quite dramatically as “Tony” was climbing up to visit Maria. 

Dave, thanks so much for for keeping us connected. All the best from Idaho!

Barb Acker

Mark Zanger’s “West Side Story” Memories

Yes, “West Side Story” was indeed a remarkably fun part of Mrs. Hadley’s class that year!

Yes, Tony was my part!  Mamma mia!  Such fond memories of Barb was Maria!  And Clayton!  And Laura!  And Tim!  And everyone of us!  It was so much fun!  I believe Becki Gilpin was our masterful director!

Thank you Mrs. Hadley!

An interesting anecdote:  I had the pleasant good fortune to run into the REAL Tony (actor Richard Beymer) here in Fairfield at Everybody’s, one of our local grocery stores.  He is a TMer and Sidha (practitioner of the TM-Sidhis including Yogic flying) and lives in the southeastern section of Fairfield.

At any rate, I mentioned to him that we had done “West Side Story” in school and more specifically that I had played Tony and he said, “Birth to earth…” and seemed to be waiting for my response.  I had none!  I eventually learned he was quoting from the movie script and waiting for me to say, “Womb to tomb!” In the movie, when Riff was referring to their relationship and said, “Birth to earth.” Tony replied, “Womb to tomb!”.  

Because I had no idea what he was trying to do, I imagine Richard must have doubted the truthfulness of my story about playing Tony!  Yet the truth of the matter, I have since realized, was that the script we received in 8th grade was edited for our grade level and they left out the “Birth to earth” and “Womb to tomb” lines!  I guess they considered “womb” and maybe even “tomb” to be a little too much for us youngsters!

At any rate, I never thought in a million years I would ever meet Richard Beymer, let alone have a meaningful exchange with him.  Yet it happened and has happened several times since.  In fact, he has even met my Mom!
And to share the whole TM experience with him?  I feel pretty lucky!

Another Memory from the Huey-Gibson Archives


Alan and Janelle Huey shared another treasure from their West Hi memorabilia. Here’s what Alan told us:

It was part of the West Side Story.  I’m guessing they put out a sort of parody like the Daily Iowan used to do.  Don’t know if you recall, but The Daily Iowan put out a satire edition once in a while, and they ran a story about the Pope blessing Iowa from a jet as he passed over on a US visit.  The Iowa City Associated Press writer, read it, and re-wrote it as an AP article.  The Des Moines Register picked it up and it also appeared there, as serious news.   But all that is conjecture on my part. 

Kong Goes West
Kong Goes West

I’ll get the storage box back out at my earliest opportunity.  It’s on a shelf in the garage, and I have to move two cars and get out the ladder to get to it.

The Huey-Gibson Archives
The Huey-Gibson Archives