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?

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