Hey, what happened to Austin Elementary, which was next to Baylor Hospital on Washington? The red-brick Georgian building, which was later used as a health magnet, is now flatter than an old Highland Park tear down. Did Baylor buy it? I must have missed this news. Seems to be a bad move when new schools are so badly needed in the area. This should be considered for East Dallas when the bond issue is finalized.

Speaking of schools, did anyone notice that Woodrow had four National Merit Semifinalists this year? That’s more than most private and suburban schools – more than many suburban school districts.

Sadly, Joel W. Hayden Jr., who served as assistant principal for almost 30 years during the 1970s and 1980s, passed away at the end of the summer. Mr. Hayden, who was just 57, underwent a successful kidney transplant at Baylor 10 years ago. He was serving as an assistant principal at Charles Gill Elementary.

Mr. Hayden was a descendant of the Beeman family, one of the Dallas pioneers. Beeman Avenue is in the Woodrow district, just south of I-30 and Tennison Park, where the family farm once stood.

He was, like Yogi Berra or Sam Goldwyn, known for his malaprops – or “gooberisms.” Once, when an opposing fan asked him how tall basketball player Alton Lister was, Mr. Hayden said, “He’s right at six foot-twelve.” The good-natured guy also had a famous levitating tie picture in a mid-70s Crusader.

But seriously, Mr. Hayden was the one who was always there, patrolling the halls and parking lots, locking and unlocking the building, and supporting the Wildcats at every sporting event.

He was an essential part of our school, at which the sum always exceeded the parts.


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