Girls Basketball Began in 1921
Basketball became important to Pampa High School girls in the early 1920s, about the same time that football was important to boys. The first PHS girls basketball team was organized in 1921, the same year that the first school year book, "The Harvest," was issued. Uniforms for the girls consisted of baggy black sateen bloomers (probably made by the mothers), white middy blouses with black ties and black headbands. Since the school had no gymnasium, basketball was played on a hard dirt court somewhere on the school grounds. At that time the school campus was bounded by Francis Avenue on the south, Cuyler Street on the east, Browning Avenue on the north and Frost Street on the west. Vera Cruz (shown holding the ball) was probably the leader of the PHS girls basketball team. She came with some of her family from the Plemons settlement near Borger to Pampa in 1916. In 1921, Vera and her mother were living at 803 West Foster. Like most of the students who lived in town, Vera walked to the school building at 126 West Francis. On rainy days the unpaved streets were very muddy and Vera's mother insisted that she wear overshoes. Vera did not want to wear the clumsy overshoes to school so she went by the Woodward-Lane Grocery Store at 109 North Cuyler to leave them while she was attending classes. At PHS Vera became acquainted with Herman Whatley, son of the pastor of the First Baptist Church. Herman played fullback on the Pampa Harvesters football team in 1923 and 1924. At that time the football boys practiced where the Gray County Court House now stands, and games were played about where the city ware- house and shops are located between the railroad tracks and Brown Street. Herman graduated from PHS in 1925 with a class of 25 members. He went with his parents to Brownwood and attended Howard Payne University. However, he returned to Pampa and started farming. After Vera graduated from PHS in 1924, she took nurse's training in Amarillo for a time. Then she returned to Pampa and became chief operator when the tele- phone office was upstairs in the First National Bank Building at 100 North Cuyler. Herman and Vera were married on July 21, l92~ and they became the parents of one daughter, Vicki Dean. After farming during the depression years, Herman began to work at the G. C. alone Funeral home 114 West Kingsmill. He spent 47 years in this business before retiring in 1981 as a partner in the Carmichael-Whatley Funeral Home. In 1939, he obtained his amateur radio license and made contact with thousands of people over all the world. Serving in several capacities, Herman was a member of the First Baptist Church, and he joined the Downtown Kiwanis Club in 1946. He served on the Pampa School Board from 1947 to 1951, After her marriage, Vera was a homemaker and accompanied Herman at many church and civic affairs. Instead of a black headband, she always wore a hat.