http://canalsideconferencecentre.co.uk/fckeditor/editor/ Then-Alumni President Connie Higgins (’71) reported to me in March of 2008 that Emerson James Carter (’30) was thriving in his own condo near Geist Reservoir, at the age of 96. I remembered reading his name on a college football card circa 1955 when my dad noted to me that “he’s the older brother of Red ‘Swivel Hips’ Carter” (’37) who was killed in World War II and was a classmate of my dad’s at GWHS. I contacted Mr. Carter and, with my friend Al Case (’38) age 87, who was still working during the month of May at the race track, the three of us met at Mug ‘n Bun before traveling to the Billy Club on 10th Street on April 1. Mr. Carter stated that, in good weather, he was traveling alone once a week from Geist to Moorseville and Gray’s Cafeteria.
São Gabriel Emerson Carter was our school’s first State Champ, winning the 1930 Pole Vault State at 12’43/4” using a bamboo pole into a sand pit. That Washington High record stood until Ken Corey and then Tommy Benson broke it in 1961 at 12’6 ½” into a sawdust pit with an aluminum pole into a metal pole box. Along with future mayor Phil Bayt, Emerson was the star of our Westside team that played its 1929 games at the-then Washington Park, where today’s Zoo is located and where the Indians also played pro baseball until Perry Field on 16th Street was opened in 1931. The first year games were played on our current field was the fall of 1930. The fall of ’29 saw our school defeat Cathedral 39-0 having lost to the Irish the year before while being the first IPS school to play the Catholic school on North Meridian. Before entering Washington High during his sophomore year in 1927, Emerson had never played any organized sport. When Emerson arrived at Purdue in the fall of 1930, he was told by Purdue’s publicity man that he would now become “Jim” Carter. After football season his frosh year Jim usually guarded junior AllAmerican John Wooden during basketball practice. He would become known as one of Purdue’s All-American Touchdown Twins, along with Duane
Deūlgaon Rāja Purvis, playing in Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds in New York. Purdue’s coach was Noble Kizer. Coach Kizer had been one of the Seven Mules for the famous 1924 Four Horsemen at Notre Dame. A guard who often subbed for guard Kizer was Joe Harmon. His son would marry Nula Purichia (’52). Jim’s marquee game was a Big Ten showdown game against the University of Chicago in 1934 before 32,000 fans. Chicago’s star, junior Jay Berwanger, scored two touchdowns. But our Jim scored twice, one a 60-yarder, and passed for another in Purdue’s 26-20 win. Berwanger, a year later, would be awarded the very first Heisman Trophy. Both Duane and Jim would be selected as College All-Stars who played in the second annual game. Two teammates were future President Gerald Ford and Green Bay Packers icon Don Hutson. On August 29, 1935 in a driving rainstorm under the lights before 77,450 fans in Chicago’s Soldiers Field the Bears won 5-0. But, in April 2008, Mr. Carter’s most serious question was directed at me.
He asked me if I knew what had happened to his “across the alley” girlfriend, Georgia Carmichael, and if her 12-year older brother, Hoagy, had created the song “Georgia on My Mind” as a song dedicated to his little sister? Jim had walked to School #16 from 101 S. Elder, a house his dad built that still stands two blocks east of Belmont Street, with Georgia from S. Neal Street. School 30 served only through 4th grade. Al Case noted that the Carmichaels had moved from Bloomington to North Warman, just north of Washington street, after the Great War. Then had moved to Neal Street. Mrs. Carmichael became a popular piano teacher. Mrs. Marie Kenley has written in the 1973 history of Hawthorne Community Center that Mrs. Alma Lemen, who was secretary at Hawthorne from 1923 until her death in the mid-1970’s and whose son Bob was a star student-athlete at GWHS winning the City High Jump three consecutive years along with one City Broad Jump in the mid30’s, was Girl Scout leader for another Carmichael girl, Martha. And, I discovered, that older brother Hoagy did indeed ask lyricist Stuart Gorrell to place his sister Georgia’s name as the theme for his creation in 1930. In 1960 Ray Charles performed the most famous recording that became #1 on the Pop Charts. And, in 1979, the state of Georgia voted it their state song. Coach Jim Carter died on May 9, 2012 at the age of 100 with his car keys still in his pocket after only a ten-day illness. He is a member of the Indiana Hall of Fame in both football and golf as Anderson High School’s coach.