Bob Reiss, from the Re-Echo


In 1938, with the completion of the new Central High School, the school board hired its first art teacher, Mildred Dudding.  She had just graduated from college and this was her first job.  And she looked it.  She was young and attractive.  Anyone that did not know she was a teacher easily mistook her for one of the students.

Miss Dudding (now Duddington) is a member of the St. Louis Park Historical Society and gets a copy of each Re-Echo.  After the last issue she called from Florida and delightfully related the following story:


After she was hired, the superintendent, Leland F. Leland, introduced her at a student assembly.  When he asked if anyone would be interested in taking art class, all the boys stood up.

Miss Dudding, Bob Reiss was one of those boys!


Whatever Happened to Mildred Duddington:


She is now Miki Duddington.  She suggested a “What ever happened to” feature for the Re-Echo, and we thought it was a good idea.  She agreed to tell us first.  Do you have someone who you wonder about?  Send us a name, and we will try to find out.

Before becoming Park’s first art teacher, I had just graduated from the University of Minnesota.  In my new job we had art from 4th grade through high school.

At precisely the same time, the U.S. Government offered free flight training at Wold Chamberlain airport, which I took, and earned my Civil Air Patrol license.  The flying proved to be very expensive and I did not continue it.

I made a trip to Mexico and loved the beautiful country, its people and the many interesting products they made, such as hand blown glassware, handmade pottery, snake skin shoes, silver jewelry, baskets, hand woven fabrics, paintings, etc. 

This was at the time of the Second World War and there was a shortage of shoes and many things.  I took samples of the things they made to wholesale outlets and Minnesota and thus started Pan American Imports.

I married a man from North Carolina.  The wedding was on a beautiful yacht, “The Flying Cloud,” anchored in the harbor of Acapulco.  We honeymooned in Guatemala and went back to North Carolina.

My new sister-in-law had five month old twin boys, Johnny and Billy.  I invented the Johnny Jump Up to help her take care of them.  Our Johnny Jump Up factory in Minneapolis branched out and we made other baby items, tarps, etc.  The jumper has sold world wide.  We have made special ones for special needs.  The Shrine Hospital finds it helpful in some special cases.

The jumper is a canvas seat suspended by a large spring and then hung in a doorway.  It allows the baby to jump and bounce, developing strong back and legs.

Plasticfilm, Inc. was our second company. We made plastic bags and medical garments, etc.  In Mexico we had a pottery factory, and in Minneapolis we had “The Gallery” where we displayed and sold our products. 

We have bought a number of buildings, refurbished, and sold some and kept some.  I have always worked with the Humane Society and believe it is very important work. 

My daughter was born in Minneapolis and lives here in St. Augustine, Florida.  We think St. Augustine is a great place to live.  I’m glad we’re here!