Friday, February 26, 2010

Where is Mt. Morris?

Today I got an e-mail: "What state is this Mt. Morris in? A specific location appears nowhere on the blog's landing page. FYI there is more than one Mt. Morris High School in the USA!"

My reply: You're right. It must have slipped off somewhere in the various template changes after the reunion was over, because that is an irritation of mine. Many libraries and schools don't list the name of the town or state on their webpage. It can be figured out from the temperature out-click, but a reader shouldn't have to work that hard. The same thing happens on Facebook.

It is Mt. Morris, Illinois, and the school from which we graduated is now defunct/decommissioned. The town has about 3,000 people, at least three blogs for various class reunions, a webpage for the town, and the last I counted, six different corporate Facebook pages, 1 for the town (over 1,000 participants), 1 for school alumni, 1 for memorializing deceased residents, 1 for the Moose, 1 for Trinity Lutheran, and 1 for Church of the Brethren.

Welcome to Mt. Morris, Illinois.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Deficio -ere -feci -fectus--be lacking, missing

It's really difficult to schlep these huge Index ledgers to the copy machine and get the part that's nearest the binding, but Lynne managed to get most of the photo of the Latin contest winners of 1954. Valerie K, Latin II, came home with a 2nd, and Nelson P. and Neal J. got a lst and 2nd for Latin I at the Sectional Latin Contest at Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, Illinois in 1954. Evan Kinsley, the principal, taught Latin. He had a B.A. from Manchester College and a Master's from the University of Wisconsin. Lynne recalls that a few in the class transferred to Home Economics, but that even a few weeks or a year were useful. I know that I always used my Latin and typing in any job, clerical or professional--the two most useful courses I took at MMHS.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Ladies perform for the PTA March 1954

Lynne writes that physical education aka "gym class" or PE probably wasn't our favorite class. "I admit that our gym teachers always tried hard to mix it up--archery, swimming, baseball, tennis, volleyball (every time it rained), girls basketball, running laps on the track, prison ball and the dreaded Square Dancing. Looking back--it was probably fun, but it was cool to make fun of it and pretend to not like it. Katie Rasmussen Dirksen had us do some tumbling and pyramid building. This photo from the Mt. Morris Index shows some girls we can't identify performing for a Parent Teachers Association on March 9, 1954. Norma, Nancy and I all thought the girl on the left top was Barb H, but she says not. And Judy T. who was also very tiny says it isn't her. So, it will remain a mystery.

GAA (Girls Athletic Association) was something we all seemed to belong to (1954 yearbook shows 102 girls from all four grades). It was held on Monday nights after supper. One night I remember some of the gals in the mixed chorus breaking into song, "Tenderly" while we showered and dressed. No one had a Rosemary Clooney voice, but it sounded pretty good and more gentle in the 50s. Singers then didn't feel they needed to shout at you.

In the same Index, there was an ad for the new location of the Tot and Teen at 129 S. Wesley Avenue--"Watch for the grand opening," and an ad for Ship and Shore blouses in Scotch plaid for $2.98. I remember plaid blouses were the rage in the early 50s. The old location of the Tot & Teen was next to the Lamb Theater.

Speaking of The Lamb, in that same Index issue the coming attractions were Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in "Money from Home," and Will Rogers Jr. in "The Boy from Oklahoma." We seemed to go to a lot of movies and each time it changed, we wanted to see that very one. But for the life of me, these two are forgettable." Lynne

Note: After Katie left, Miss Jacobsen became our PE teacher for our junior and senior year, but I can't find her first name. Anyone know?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The 1953-54 Fresh-Soph Squad

Lynne and Nancy have been busy looking through the Index archives. This scan from the Sports Section reminded Lynne of the movie Hoosiers--except for the white shoes. Lynne identifies line up as: Back row: Phil E, Moe K, Ray G, Dave S, Jon M, Chuck W, Larry B; Middle row: Glenn R, Dick Z, Dave B, Ron D, Mike S, Mike B; Front row; Gene H, Dick H, Stan M, Dave B, Bob H, Murray T.

The coach was Ray Walder, a graduate of Iowa State Teachers College and our General Science and Biology teacher. He led the "Moundets" to 15 wins and 5 loses that season, with only 2 returning lettermen. In the Conference, they finished with 7 wins and 1 loss. The main 8 lettering players were 6 sophomores--Stan, Dick, Bobby, Murray, Dave and Gene, with our own Dave B and Dick Z adding a lot of glam and action.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Band Uniforms, February 1954

And didn't we feel special! Lynne scanned this from the Mt. Morris Index which reported, "Attired in their new uniforms for first appearance at half time during the Mt. Morris/Polo basketball game." A special fund was used to buy these uniforms with help from the PTA. Our director was Wayne Johnson, a graduate of Murray State College with a M.M. from Indiana University who also directed the choral groups, did arranging, and played trumpet in a local orchestra.

That year there were 50 band members--wouldn't that be about a fourth of the school body? We played at half time during the home football games and the half during the home basket ball games, the homecoming parade, the various special musical programs, school assemblies and the opening of the summer concert season at the bandshell on the campus. We also participated as a band and as individuals in band contests with other schools, and the Blackhawk Music Festival. Did we ever give a passing thought to the wonderful opportunities provided to us by our community and parents?

The trombones are completely out of view over on the left, but our class of '57 was well represented in that section--Steve B., Dwayne Z., Myron B., Sara Y., and Norma C. are there with a little help from senior Noel Mc. and sophomores Bob B. and Jim I.

Help me out if I misidentify the musician or instrument: Sylvia T., flute; clarinet--Neal J., Sharon R., Lynne F., Diane B., Francine K.; Priscilla D, French horn (shiny blonde hair in the photo); Nancy L., saxophone; Jon M., drums; trumpet--Salley O., and Darlene H. also Tom W. and Deb P. (I'm guessing here). I think it was either our junior or senior year that Nelson P. took up the bass, joined the band and entered musical contests. In our final year there were 8 seniors who played in a pep band--if you remember who--add it in the comments.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Be my Valentine

I'm a card saver. I was going through my very disorganized under-the-guest-bed box looking for old Valentines to use for decoration on the 14th for our brunch, and I came across a poem Lynne sent me in 2000. With her permission, I’m putting it on the class blog.

It's the little things that count
The things of everyday,
Just the simple things that we can do,
The kind words we can say.

The little things like a friendly smile
For those who may be sad,
The clasp of a hand or kindly deed
To help make someone glad.

Just the little greetings here and there
On which so much depends,
The little pleasures all can share,
The joy of making friends.

Lynne L. Wilburn
Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The 1956-57 Student Council

Click to enlarge and read.

If you still have your senior year book, the activities of the Student Council (pp.12-13) are interesting for its wide range of interests. On the two page spread, the following activities are listed.
    Met with the student councils from Oregon and Polo to discuss school problems organized all Homecoming activities managed game concessions appointed sponsors for dances presented Courtesy Week (juniors Barb G. and Gary G. were Miss and Mr. Courtesy) sponsored candy sales during the noon hour in charge of assemblies in charge of the campaign for candidates for council (speeches and assembly) in charge of Conference Track activities sponsored Student-Faculty Dinner responsible for decorating the showcase planned Freshman Orientation Day handled lost and found coat check recreation room tournaments supervised the TV set which was a gift from the class of 1956 held a work day in April (we beat Earthday by 13 years!) to clean up the school grounds attended state and district conventions had a picnic supper with past members at Camp Emmaus Spring dinner with various other committees to prepare for new year worked on a community code with the PTA began planning for a student handbook.
Whew! I had no idea. Council met the first and third Wednesdays and the Council projects all had committees drawn from the student body. Looking at the photo, all representatives appear to be Sophomores through Seniors, which would make sense because elections were in the Spring before the Freshmen were part of the student body.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Memories of the Canteen, by Lynne

During our four years at MMHS, the Wagon Wheel Canteen in the Community Gym was a big part of our week-end social scene. I vaguely recall painting something, as I was handy with a paint brush (still am) during a summer renovation. If anyone can explain where the "Wagon Wheel" name came from, I'd surely like to know. If I knew, I have forgotten (imagine that!). I have also forgotten the membership cost. I do remember going to the re-opening though, and that is (photo and Index article below) Francine K in the patterned skirt with her arm on Priscilla D and deep in a conversation with Nancy L right in back of Priscilla. Although the photo is fuzzy I think in the background is Bob O, Joyce S and Pat F on the right, and possibly Jean M and Greeley M over on the left.

I do remember the music. Not long after the re-opening, the Lamb Theater had a coming attraction for the movie, "The Glenn Miller Story," and not long after his music made its way to the canteen record player. I have Glenn Miller music on my I-Pod to this day. How that music has endured is nothing short of amazing!

In one issue of the Mt. Morris Index I read about a canteen sponsored dance, "the music, in part, by Noel McInnis and his Modern Music Manglers." I had to laugh out loud. It reminded me of a dance at NIU right after high school and my young date excitedly explaining that at this St. Patrick's day green pig dance, the music would be provided by "Oink" Henderson and the Squealers. I am not making this up! As much as I wanted to laugh, I remembered the Modern Music Manglers from high school and thought, why not? Both of these dances were fun.

The canteen was an after game stop--win or lose--and if you had a Friday or Saturday night date, sometimes the couples would pop in before heading home. Pop corn was sold and I can't recall what else, and there was a pool table and a shuffleboard game. Most parents enforced the 11:30 PM, "be home by" time. Often parents chaperoned and I always winced when by parents took a turn.

In this same 1954 issue of the Index, the Clara Warden Apparel Shop, 5 S. Wesley Ave., later to become the Smart Wear, ran an ad for a dress, "Snow Glitter" by Vicky Vaughn, $7.99, with eyelet snowflakes from yoke to hip, banded with daisy trim and a full swinging skirt in ice blue, parfait pink or white. Wing Song perfume was selling at $2.00 for 2 oz. down the street at the Mt. Morris Dress Shop. Nine out of 10 high school girls smelled of Wing Song at the canteen re-opening I am sure.

Anyone have canteen stories they'd like to share?

Click to enlarge

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Mt. Morris on Facebook

If you're on Facebook (social networking site) there are three Facebook pages for Mt. Morris (maybe more, but that's what I've found). "Do You Remember This in Mt. Morris" is the name of the page where people of all ages are posting memories of the town, schools, businesses, sights, events, etc. In the upper right hand corner of the screen is a search field. Type in what you're looking for and the page should come up. There is a window at the top of the screen where you can post a comment, or you can just begin reading. There is also a Facebook page called simply "Mt. Morris High School" and another "I bleed Mounder Red and Black" which are more specifically about the schools before the merger with Oregon in the mid-90s. "Do You Remember This in Mt. Morris" is linked from the town website.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Remember these guys?

They were our version of the NBA. I remember sitting in the community gym watching them. I think this is the 1952 Regional. The cheerleaders were covered up and the players wore the skimpy uniforms! Found it at the Face book page of Ginny's daughter.