Today (and yesterday) in central Ohio we’re supposed to match the temperature records for 1954! I think it will be about 72, depending on where you are, and I hope to get out for several walks. We get our weather about a day after Illinois, so I’m thinking it was warm there too in November 1954. I was a sophomore in 1954 at Mt. Morris High School so I pulled out my school annual (white, padded cover, Mounder title in red, 1955) to see what was going on. Tina Kable would walk from her home on North Hannah, stop at my house on South Hannah, we’d walk up Main Street and pick up Kay Alter and Priscilla Drummond.
In the fall months we also stayed in touch the old fashioned
way—through our school newspaper, The Hilltopper put out by the journalism
class. By doing this group project they learned writing style, proofing for mistakes,
how to paste-up pages, typing copy and running a mimeograph—probably not useful
skills today, but teamwork is always important. I see names from Facebook
like Bob Rawes, Donna Coddington, Ralph Dollinger. On a warm November day we’d
all walk together after school on our way to Felker’s for a cherry coke
searching for our names in the Hilltopper.
By November, the annual staff had already begun preparations of this book by
getting advertisers, developing a theme, taking photos and planning the art
work. I see some Facebook or email list members I recognize like Joyce Kinsley,
Bob Rawes and Jerry Wallace. A promotional sign says the year book cost $2.75!
That was a good buy—mine is 60 years old. There’s even a photo of my sister
Carol (d. 1996) whose grandchildren are on Facebook so I can keep up with their
I’m looking through the names of the varsity football team who played that
fall and see a number of people on Facebook or local e-mail lists, some deceased
(Jim Mongan, Phil Egan, Gerald Blake, Stan Messer, Don
Satterfield, Pete Smith), and some who seemed to have dropped out of sight. The
junior class that fall presented “One Foot in Heaven” on Friday, November 19. I
see Bill Allenfort, who is still active in community theater getting a beard.
And there’s the student council learning the basics of representative
democracy with cute freshman Carol Samsel and junior Murray Trout (deceased).
The Council organized all the Homecoming activities, sponsored dances and
provided the concession stand. They sent delegates to district and state
conventions—sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
We did have professional lyceum speakers for assembly in those days, but also
our in-house thespians provided entertainment. It was a big group—I see Jerry
Wallace, Harold Hanke, Mike Balluff, Joyce Kinsley, Connie Frey, Sally Olsen,
all of whom are on Facebook.
The fall of 1954. It was warm, and so are the memories.