A look back at Klein 70 years ago


Butch Theiss sits down to talk to the Bearchat about life in Klein 70 years ago.


Ration books, gas stamps, and basketball tournaments were just a few memories Edwin G. “Butch” Theiss remembers about going to Klein High School during WWII.

“I guess you could say, in a way, it was a highlight of my life, living through that period of time and during the war,” said Theiss. “But there were some circumstances that it [the war] caused some problems”.

Klein High School began as Rural High School #1 in 1936 and didn’t become the Klein we know and love today until 1938 when all the “rural high schools” were consolidated into one.

In an interview Friday, Jan  27  in the office of Steve Baird, Klein’s district historian, Theiss gave a glimpse into the past as to what it was like to go to Klein during WWII 70 years ago.

“If those of us who have lived in this community all our lives do not share information with those who have recently moved here, the history of this community will be lost,” Theiss said in his autobiography.

One poignant memory Theiss has from his high school career is of his FFA teacher and superintendent getting drafted into the military.

“Our superintendent had been in the air force and got a medical discharge and came back in 1945,” Theiss said. “He was drafted and had to go into the service in 1941 right after the war started and the school board made a decree that when he got back he could have his job back as superintendent.”

The shortage of car parts and rationing made transportation and everyday life a bit more challenging for Theiss as well. However, since his parents were farmers, they got extra gas stamps to transport their goods.

“You couldn’t just go into a store and buy just anything that you wanted except the set amount that you could buy and you had to have a stamp for it.” Theiss said.

He remembers riding to all his basketball tournaments in an military issued “Carry All” with synthetic tires to compete against Klein’s rival Spring High.

“Sorta like a suburban car today where you can seat seven or eight people,” Theiss said. “We traveled in that Carry All to a lot of our ball games and it was used for other purposes.”

From shortages of goods to military exercises, for Theiss, going to high school during WWII was an unforgettable experience that shaped his entire life.

“My advice to students who go to school at Klein or any school is to do your best, study, learn everything you can, and work towards getting your college education because in this age and time you need to go to college.” said Theiss.