Friendships come and friendships go. But some remain. This is the story of one.
Among the many other sets of early 1950s Baby Boomer parents, five young families moved into the newly constructed Wynnewood Park No. 1 addition, purchasing — almost before the paint was dry — a handful of the cozy frame homes along Dogwood Trail, Llewellyn Avenue and Lacewood Drive. Each family had at least one son, and, like most middle-class families of the day, the boys had typical Boomer names: Tommy, Larry, Pat, Roy and Steve. What the five boys didn’t realize back in 1952 was that the friendship they were forging would become a bond that would stand the test of time. In pure Boomer form, they tagged themselves the “Wynnewood Boys.”
Larry Stevenson began first grade in 1953, at what was then Jefferson Davis Elementary School (now Barbara Jordan Elementary). Tom(my) Farmer, Roy Martin and Steve Moreau began the next year, followed by Pat “Skipper” Eskew the next. All the boys then attended W. E. Greiner Junior High (in those days housing seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders) and then on to Adamson High School.
During their early years, the boys built mini-bikes and raced each other along the local dirt paths near Highway 67 and Kiest Boulevard. They participated in BB gun fights in the woods and then, in approximately 1964, they all began cruising around Oak Cliff, once Stevenson had his own 1955 Chevy coupe. Roy had his parents’ Pontiac Catalina coupe and then Farmer’s folks contributed a 1963 Chevy.
“Larry’s ’55 Chevy was our cruiser,” chuckles Farmer. “It had a 4-track tape. ‘Quiet Village’ was played often.”
Four of the guys participated in Boy Scouts, with two earning Eagle Scout honors. Some were in band and some played sports, but their shared neighborhood heritage and common affection for each other functioned as the glue that kept them together. All the guys were in and out of romantic interludes, but they say those never interfered with the group relationships. As the boys matured, they decided a more sophisticated name was in order. Thus … the Wynnewood Boys became the Fab [Fabulous] Elite, “FEs” for short.
The boys all attended different colleges, married and had families. Larry, Roy and Steve remained in the area, while Tom and Pat relocated permanently to Florida and Colorado, respectively. The years passed, but the friendship they forged during those early years didn’t. In 2010 the guys began organizing an annual FE reunion, what they have since labeled, per Moreau, as “man-cations.” So far, the friends, now in their 60s, have met twice in Colorado and once on the East Coast.
“One of the great parts of the FE reunion is the road trip,” Moreau says. “Usually three of us head out toward our destination, visiting points of interest along the way and set[ting] about solving the world’s problems.”
Stevenson serves as the contact person for the group, but they agree that the Adamson reunions have helped keep them together. All the guys admit to being sons of Oak Cliff, so I guess it’s true: You can take the boy out of Oak Cliff, but … well, you know the rest.
“Three of us are strong Christians. Three of us are still working. One of us is in politics. Three of us have grandkids,” Farmer explains. “All of us care very much for each other.”
And from Eskew: “We guys [have] had a unique friendship for our whole lives. We are literally brothers in every respect. We are family … and will be to our graves.”
That pretty much says it all.
WEB EXTRA: One of the most momentous experiences in the FEs friendship was on Nov. 22, 1963 at Dealey Plaza. Read about it.