Tall Lee and Short Harvey--School Daze

LEE Oswald in the 6th Grade in 1952

In an FBI report dated June 5, 1964 (CE 2221), SA Earle Haley described his interview with one of Oswald's Ridglea West Elementary School classmates, Richard Warren Garrett. The report indicated that Oswald and Garrett had played together at school, and Garrett had once been in Oswald's home. Garrett described Oswald as "the tallest, most dominant member of our class."

Three months later, in August 1952, Marguerite Oswald and her son LEE drove to New York City to be near her oldest son, John Pic, who was Lee's half-brother. According to the Warren Commission, young Oswald failed to attend school and was placed in the Bronx Youth House in 1953. But John Armstrong reviewed Oswald's school records that were published in the Warren Volumes and discovered that Oswald attended school regularly with few absences. How could Oswald be attending Public School 44 with a good attendance record and still be placed in the Youth House for truancy?

The former President of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Milton Kurian, interviewed (HARVEY) Oswald in his office in March, 1953. He described (HARVEY) Oswald as short (about 4'8"), thin, and very quiet during a tape recorded interview. (Click here to see YouTube interview.) In April, 1953 Dr. Renatus Hartogs interviewed (HARVEY) Oswald at the Youth House and described him as thin, malnourished, and reminiscent of children he had seen in concentration camps in Europe.

HARVEY Oswald at the Bronx Zoo in 1953

During his Warren Commission testimony, (LEE) Oswald's older half-brother,  John Pic, was shown a series of photographs of LEE taken between the ages of 2 and 12. Pic recognized all of the photos as his brother. But when Pic was shown the picture above of (HARVEY) Oswald at the Bronx Zoo (CE 2893) Pic said this young man was not his brother.

Mr. JENNER. Then right below that is a picture of a young man standing in front of an iron fence, which appears to be probably at a zoo. Do you recognize that?

Mr. PIC. Sir, from that picture, I could not recognize that that is Lee Harvey Oswald.

Mr. JENNER. That young fellow is shown there, he doesn't look like you recall Lee looked in 1952 and 1953 when you saw him in New York City?

Mr. PIC. No, sir.

--WC Vol. 11, p. 65

Why didn't John Pic recognize a picture of his own half-brother at the Bronx Zoo in New York? Because the photo was of HARVEY Oswald (shown in CE 2893), who was placed in the Youth House during the spring of 1953 while LEE Oswald attended Public School 44 regularly. HARVEY was truant and placed in Youth House.

In the fall of 1953 LEE Oswald entered the 8th grade at PS 44 in New York City, according to school records published by the Warren Commission. But the Warren Commission also published school records that showed (HARVEY) Oswald attended Beauregard Junior High School in New Orleans in the fall of 1953. LEE in New York. HARVEY in New Orleans.

In January 1954 LEE Oswald and his mother left New York and moved to New Orleans where LEE registered at Beauregard Junior High School. All of his 8th grade report cards are published in the Warren Volumes, and all show that he was assigned to homeroom #303. HARVEY Oswald, who had been attending Beauregard since Sept, 1953, was assigned to Myra DaRouse's 8th grade homeroom in the basement cafeteria. In a videotaped interview Myra discussed her favorite student. She recalled that when Oswald entered her homeroom and handed her his file Myra asked "how do you want to be called?" Oswald replied, call me "HARVEY." She described HARVEY as short, reaching to about to the level of her chest. Based on her own height of 5'4", she estimated Oswald's height at 4'6" to 4'8" (same height estimated by Dr. Kurian). LEE Oswald's height was measured and recorded on the NYC Public School System health records, published in the Warren Volumes. These records show that LEE Oswald was 5'4" tall in 1952--about 8 inches taller than HARVEY. Tall, husky LEE was in homeroom #303 on the 3rd floor at Beauregard JHS. Short, thin HARVEY was in Myra DaRouse's homeroom in the basement cafeteria.

On one occasion, clearly remembered by Myra (click here for videotaped interview), Ed Voebel came running out of the basement and told Myra that a piano had fallen on HARVEY's legs. Myra and fellow teacher Dorothy Duvic ran downstairs and lifted a piano from HARVEY's legs. Myra took HARVEY to the Monte Lepre Clinic and then drove him to his apartment at 126 Exchange Alley. This was early spring, 1954, when LEE Oswald and his mother were living at 1454 St. Marys in an apartment owned by Marguerite's close friend, Myrtle Evans. LEE and his tall, nice-looking mother lived at 1454 St. Marys (1954-55). HARVEY and his short, heavy-set caretaker lived at 126 Exchange (1954-55).

The Warren Commission omitted any reference to school records that showed HARVEY Oswald attending Beauregard JHS in the fall of 1953. Instead, they provided background information on LEE Oswald:

In New Orleans, Lee and his mother stayed with the Murrets at 757 French Street while they looked for an apartment. Lee enrolled in the eighth grade at Beauregard Junior High School on January 13 and completed the school year without apparent difficulty. He entered the ninth grade in September and again received mediocre but acceptable marks. In October 1954, Lee took a series of achievement tests, on which he did well in reading and vocabulary, badly in mathematics. At the end of the school year, on June 2, 1955, he filled out a "personal history." He indicated that the subjects which he liked best were civics, science, and mathematics; those he liked least were English and art.
Warren Report, p. 67

Much later in the Report, we are told:

After a short period with the Murrets, Mrs. Oswald and Lee had moved to an apartment owned by Myrtle Evans at 1454 Saint Mary Street, which she and Mrs. Murret helped to furnish; later they moved to a less expensive apartment in the same building, the address of which was 1452 Saint Mary Street. Relations between Mrs. Oswald and Mrs. Evans became strained, and in the spring of 1955 the Oswalds moved to a new apartment at 126 Exchange Place in the French Quarter. Although Lee gave the Exchange Place address on a school form at the end of the ninth grade, the school authorities had apparently not been advised of these moves earlier, because Mrs. Oswald did not want Lee to be transferred from Beauregard, which she considered a good school.
Warren Report, p. 680

The Warren Commission was correct when it reported that LEE Oswald and his mother were living at 1454 St. Marys from early 1954 through the spring of 1955 and then moved to 126 Exchange Alley. But what Myra DaRouse told us was more important. She said that she drove her favorite student, HARVEY Oswald, to his home at 126 Exchange Alley after having him examined at the Monte Lepre Clinic in the spring of 1954. This means that HARVEY and the Marguerite Oswald impostor lived at 126 Exchange Place from Sept 1953 through the summer of 1954. In the spring of 1955, LEE and his tall, nice-looking mother moved into 126 Exchange and remained there until June, 1956. In July 1955 they were visited by Robert Oswald, who remembered that his brother LEE was working for an import/export company (Tujague's).

In the fall of 1954, LEE entered the 9th grade at Beauregard JHS and soon became involved in a fight with Johnny Neumeyer. Ed Voebel was standing nearby and, after the fight, helped LEE Oswald to clean up. Voebel and LEE Oswald became friends and it was Voebel who took the "classroom photo" of Oswald which he later sold to LIFE Magazine. The following summer LEE Oswald and Ed Voebel joined the CAP. While LEE was in the 9th grade at Beauregard JHS (fall 1954), HARVEY was in the 9th grade at Stripling Junior High in Ft. Worth.

 From Robert Oswald's Warren Commission testimony:

Mr. OSWALD. Just a minute, please. In 1952 Lee was 13 years old. He would be attending W. C. Stripling Junior High School then.
Mr. JENNER. I see. For the school year 1951-52?
Mr. OSWALD. Yes, sir. Junior high school there was from the seventh to the ninth grades. And as soon as he was through with his sixth year, he started attending W. C. Stripling Junior High School.
Mr. JENNER. As soon as he finished the sixth year at Ridglea Elementary School, he entered W. C. Stripling High School, as a seventh grader?
Mr. OSWALD. Yes, sir--junior high school.
Mr. JENNER. Now, the condition that you described as to Lee shifting for himself during the daytime, when your mother was away working and you were away working, and your brother John was in the Coast Guard, continued, I take it, when he began attendance and while he was attending W. C. Stripling Junior High School?
Mr. OSWALD. Yes, sir.
--Warren Commission, Vol. 1, p. 299

LEE Oswald's older brother, Robert, told the Warren Commission that the alleged assassin of President Kennedy attended W.C. Stripling Junior High School in Fort Worth, Texas. In two interviews with the Fort Worth Star Telegram, one in October 1959 when Oswald defected, the other in June 1962 when he returned, Robert repeated his recollection that his brother had attended Stripling JHS in Fort Worth. Robert Oswald knew about HARVEY Oswald as early as 1953, when he took the photo of HARVEY at the Bronx Zoo. In 1956 Robert Oswald lived with HARVEY and the Marguerite Oswald impostor at 4936 Collinwood in Ft. Worth prior to HARVEY's departure for the Marines in October and prior to Robert's marriage to Vada Mercer in November.

Francetta Schubert, a year behind Oswald at Stripling in the fall of 1954, recalled watching HARVEY Oswald walk home and remembered discussing him with her friends. She remembered that Oswald lived at 2220 Thomas Place, across the street from Stripling, which was the same house the Marguerite Oswald impostor lived in at the time of the assassination. In a videotaped interview, first shown during John Armstrong's 1997 November in Dallas presentation, Fran pointed to the house as the camcorder panned to indicate its close proximity to Stripling (click here for YouTube interview).

In another videotaped interview (also currently online), the assistant principal at Stripling in 1963, Frank Kudlaty, recalled his boss calling him early on Saturday morning, the day after the assassination. Frank was told to go to the school, locate school records for Oswald, and give them to FBI agents who would meet him at Stripling. While waiting for the FBI agents to arrive, Frank looked over Oswald's records and remembered that Oswald had attended "not quite a semester" in the ninth grade (click here for YouTube interview).

Frank gave Oswald's Stripling school records to the FBI agents, but where, oh where, have those records gone? John Armstrong reported: "Don't bother to look for Oswald's Stripling records in the Warren volumes, and don't waste your time filing a Freedom of Information request with the FBI--the FBI denies any knowledge of Stripling records." The word "Stripling" appears nowhere in the Warren Report. In the Warren Volumes it appears only in Robert Oswald's testimony. Why? Because the Warren Commission published LEE Oswald's school records that show he attended the 9th grade at Beauregard Junior High School in New Orleans in 1954-55.

In the fall of 1956, HARVEY Oswald enrolled at Arlington Heights High School in Ft. Worth and ran into Richard Garrett, who described the event to LIFE Magazine (Feb. 21, 1964 issue):

"He walked up to me in the hall at school," said Garrett. "I remember I had to look down to talk to him, and it seemed strange, because he had been the tallest, the dominant member of our group in grammar school. He looked like he was just lost. He was very different from the way I remembered him."

It appears that Richard Garret knew LEE Oswald in grammar school, but met HARVEY Oswald in high school.