To the Pinkerton Alumni Association, Bob Morrison, Wally Ramson, and George (Telly) Wells are known by another name: the 3 Amigos. Since the three best friends graduated back in 1953, the Amigos have been a constant presence at Pinkerton sporting events and projects, dedicating their time and effort to the school’s continued success.
Bob Morrison and Wally Ramson were the first of the three to become friends, meeting during the first grade at West Side School. Telly Wells would soon make the duo a trio after moving to the other side of the tracks halfway through the third grade. Though it wasn’t instant friendship, the three would often walk to school together, meeting at Wally’s house before making the one-mile trek. As Telly put it “it was a neighborhood, so you knew everyone right off quick”.
Their friendship would continue throughout their four years of high school, as members of the 78 students of the class of ‘53. Together, the three boys performed shows in the Chapel as part of the Barbershoppers, held boxing matches between classes, and played volleyball in the mornings before school. Reflecting on their time spent at Pinkerton, Bob and Telly shared their favorite memories.
“In our days we went up to Chapel every morning, the entire school, and Mr. Hackler the headmaster would be up on stage. We’d say a prayer, sing a hymn, and then we’d also use that as a space for activities. Once a year Mrs. Abbot would put together a show for entertainment, and parents would come. We used to get on the stage and sing, I think I got up there once and played Johnnie Ray, those are fun memories, but there’s quite a few” Telly reminisced.
For Bob, who was the class president, his favorite memory was leading the class down the front steps of the Pinkerton building for graduation. “Graduation was right outside on the lawn. We only had seventy-eight people, and the front lawn was a lot different. The driveway was ⅓ as wide, and there was a much larger grass area, so they would have the chairs all set up on the law. It was great.”
The front lawn isn’t the only part of Pinkerton that has changed since the Amigo’s roamed the halls. Their Academy consisted of the Pinkerton Building, and today’s Alumni Center which served as the Freshman building. Where the rest of the current campus stands used to be undeveloped woods and farmland, though the school still owned the land. A volleyball court stood next to the boy’s entrance, and students would often arrive early to play games with friends before classes started for the day.
“We didn’t have a theatre, any of it, that was all done in the chapel. In the back of the Pinkerton building, that flat grass area was all there was. The little brook that runs down through the campus was in the woods.”
It was on that little field that one of Bob and Telly’s favorite school activities took place. Each year, the students would get a day off from classes for a school-wide field day. Events included a javelin throw, discus, football throw, a running broad jump, and a 50-yard dash. “All 350 students in the school would get involved. We had a good time” Telly reflected.
Though the three were friends in high school, according to Bob, the 3 Amigos didn’t truly become inseparable until after graduation, when they came back to work in the Alumni Association with their old English teacher Mrs. Abbot.
“Our families had grown, we were empty nesters, always had loved Pinkerton, so we came back and did all kinds of weird things, including chasing cats out of the cellar [of the alumni center] and boarding it up to get rid of the smell. Originally she [Mrs. Abbot] called us the Three Musketeers, but then Robert Peller, who was the current president of the Association, came in and saw what kind of work we actually did and said “I think maybe the 3 Amigos is a better title”. Telly said laughing.
Even now that Wally has since passed, Bob and Telly continue to show their support for Pinkerton. The two have consistently attended the school’s football games, loudly voicing their support for both the athletes and band members, and were well-known faces at the concessions stand. According to Bob, the two “used to bang on the side door cause everyone was going to the front, and they’d open it up and give us fresh Astro burgers right off the grill. We’d give them a tip and say “Put the money towards the band!”
Like most of their friends, Bob and Telly have lived in Derry all of their lives. They have seen Pinkerton Academy transform from the small high school of 350 to the massive campus it is today. “I’m really blessed,” Telly shared. “My whole family is still here, I have a granddaughter who lived in Manchester for 3 years, and she has a little daughter. They just bought a house off the Bypass because when she grows up, she has to go to Pinkerton. It really doesn’t get any better than this.”