Memories of dances, and other 'happenings'
Our letter this week is written by Kaye (Henson) Beaman Class of '44. Kaye wrote a weekly column called "Bow Kayes" in California for many years.
"Enjoyed our chat, I am looking forward to seeing you in June at the all school reunion.
"As you asked, what I remember about the year of '44 and of high school 'happenings.'
"To quote, 'It was the worst of times and it was the best of times." It was the dark stages of the war. So many boys had left for the service that at the prom girls danced with one another. And the magic word was dancing! We danced at the Sweet Shop morning, noon and night. On Friday at the Union Hall, the band was hometown boys, most from '42 and '43. Later we danced at Teen Town, chaperoned by a wonderful lady named Emily Kells. On Saturday night we would go to 'Bunnville' (if we had enough gas stamps). If not, we danced at Johnny Lockwood's on the hill. We couldn't dance at Land Inn, but we listened to the juke box. It was always playing: Rum Boogie, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Stardust, I'll Be Seeing you, etc., while munching on a barbecued beef. (remember those?) What I wouldn't give for one now. And drinking our favorite drink, Grapette!! Sometimes also a Three Musketeers candy bar that really did have three flavors. We could also dance in the band room at school during lunch hour.
"In the summer, we swam at the city pool and sometimes sat on the front porch with a really neat guy home on furlough. I remember my 15th birthday party at Cohn's Coffee Shop, where one of the boys drank his finger bowl water! Not mentioning any names, but he drove a little Crosley car! My first dance was a ballroom dance at the Country Club with Tommy B.; what fun.
"I also remember picnics at Gunn Park and sun bathing at Rock Creek Lake. Richard A. always had really great cars and was always willing to drive around a bunch of girls. Dolores Q. and I started getting letters from sailors we didn't know. It would seem Mrs. Bill Brooks was selling our names and addresses for 25 cents a piece!
"Too vividly, I remember my brother missing in action on the Solomon Islands for six months and the day the Marine Corp notified us he had been found alive. Oh! And Armistice Day in Fort Scott was a great day; a huge parade, Company 'G' marching proudly, and pot luck with old friends in the evening.
"We made hospital gowns in home ec. class for the Red Cross. I could never master those darn French seams. Just us Girls (JUG'S) was a club we started at Donna H's house; was fun while it lasted.
"Aside from these wonderful 'happenings', we received our education that truly exemplified learning. Mrs. Overfield and Miss O'Connor were wonderful teachers, as were many others.
"Oh! (again) I am recalling a trip to Bronson to a dance (we had my dad's new car). I wasn't driving, but that is another story.
"I have rambled on long enough; perhaps senility is approaching, ya think?
"Bow Kayes to all alumnae and as my Irish grandmother used to say, 'May we lie in heaven an hour before the devil knows we're dead'."
Kaye (Henson) Beaman
Class of '44