Another Pottsville team does the job. In the 1950 State Meet, there are four first place winners: Jack Hampford - rings, John Kutch - high bar, Charles Ehlinger (Jr.) - parallel bars, and Dale Ward - rope climb. John Blakely took second on the rings. Dale Ward, to this day (Y2000) holds the high school record in the rope climb. Here is another example of superior athletes and superior coaching bringing home the trophies and medals.
567. GYM TEAM
568. ITS TIME TO SUMMARIZE COMMENTS BY OUR CLASSMATES
It is now 1950. We endured an economic depression, a world war, and the ravages of teenaging. We have survived and are the better for it. Each of us could tell a story of persons, places, and things that affected us and forever created remembrances. Something else to be thankful for, we did not grow up in the times of today's teenagers: drugs, sex, crime, loneliness, boredom, etc, no place to hang out. Some classmates share the events that made an impression upon them.
Peggy Ann Dull Freeman, Jackson Street School:
"Many of us started there and lasted right through 12th grade; many names to mention, Fernsler, Cathcart, Manhart, Freed, Evans, Kutch, Adams, Albo, Nuss, Moore, Klinger, Schuler, Hampford, Eckenroth, Martz, and many more. During the early years, the school board decided to split the district on the east side of town and people on top of Greenwood Hill had to transfer to Orchard School but later joined up at Patterson, including Keihm, Richards. We walked a lot, at Junior High we thought nothing of coming home for lunch every day - even in the snow and we had lots of snow in those days. When we got to high school it was lots of walking, sometimes we were lucky to get rides to 16th Street by some of the fathers in our group."
Valerie Gwozdecki McCarter:
"Jeanne Rich Luckenbill and I became good friends in Trigonometry. We both needed one more math credit for graduation. Jeanne was going into nursing and I was going to college. From Day One we were lost. Pop Gaskins and his crooked index finger was as nice as could be. Waiting outside of the door the first test day our fear of failure had Jeanne and I close to tears. It was a small class, about 12 boys and us. When the boys found out about our predicament they told us to sit in the back of the room. Pop pulled up the map to uncover the test and left the room. Jeanne and I just stared at the board. Then a hand reached back to us with the answer to the first problem. That continued throughout the semester. I am not proud of what we did and can honestly say I never, ever, cheated in any class, except this one. I will never forget what those boys did for us."
"I remember the dances at the YMCA, the Sock Hops in the girl's gym, the nights at the drive-in movies and watching for the submarine races at Indian Run Dam. I do not recall drugs being a problem. I didn't even consider smoking, or drinking. I felt no peer pressure along those lines. I remember going to Selma Gittleman's house or Evie Rosenkrantz's to watch Milton Burle and the Texaco Star Theater, because most of us did not have TV sets. Sometimes there were so many of us we could hardly fit in the room together. It was great fun. I also believe we had great parents behind us. In our senior year we had a party every week because the parents each got together and picked a time to have a party for their own children and we went to all of them"
Pat Dunbrowney Day:
"We used to go to dances at the YMCA The last dance for the night was "Good Night Sweetheart."
"Several of us got together and formed the "Loyal 7 Lunch Club. In this group of seven guys were George Zacko, Neil Keihm, Dick Knowlton, Therold Keston, Wilson Freeze, Louie Papparazo, and Chris Leffler. It was our duty, as members of the group, to come to school dressed alike with the same colored trousers and matching turtleneck shirt on the designated day for blue, green, maroon, or gray. We would all sit at the same table in the lunchroom and eat free pizza delivered by the Pottsville Pizzeria and look stupid but it was our FUN. We even had "Loyal Seven" logo letters made for our Sweaters."
"Leave it to me but I found the greatest places to neck during school time. One of them was the projection boot in the auditorium in the top balcony. I used it for two months with several girls before Margi McGinty and I got caught, and of all people to catch us, it was Pete Sterner. He looked at Margi and told her to go to the East Study Hall. Then pointed to me and said you go to the West Study Hall. He didn't say anything more than that but I got the message, no more projection booth smooching. I had to look for a new place."
569. GRADUATION APPROACHES, ACCEPTING ACCOUNTABILITY
As graduation approached some of us looked back at our growing up years and looked into the future.
Tom Hepner remembers it this way…
"Four things stick in my mind that came out of those years. They weren't shoved down one's throat, it was as if they were just a natural part of living. First of all, Personal responsibility. We learned that the buck stops here. No one else was responsible for my actions except myself. If there would be any success or failure in my life, it would be up to me. Secondly, there was immediate justice. You knew that you would pay for your crimes and you didn't have to wait very long. Thirdly, the matter of loyalty was real. You didn't just think about it or just talk about, it was there. It was seen in thousands cheering for the Phillies or the Yankees no matter what their record was. It was seen in hiring buses for away games at PHS and filling them. It was seen in frequenting "old places:" even if you had to drive lots of miles. You could count on it for most things. Lastly, there was neighborliness, family. You could sit on your front porch and end up visiting with half your neighbors in one night because you knew everyone by name. If you had a need for something, your neighbor was there, without a gun, to help you.
Catherine Shappell Couts:
"When I was in "Current Events" class taught by Mr. Sterner, we had to pick a topic and get up in front of the class and discuss it. I always had the "fear" of getting up in front of people. During the course I became proficient and actually enjoyed it. This experience helped me the rest of my life. I became an office manager, today, I get up in front of my church congregation. Thanks to Mr. Sterner his course took away all my inhibitions."
Rose Majeski Campbell:
"I felt very proud to have been selected to be on the Freshman Student Council while we were still in the 8th grade. I was even more puffed up when I was elected Secretary of the Council, an office to which I was elected for the four years. I enrolled in the secretarial course since I was pretty sure I would not go to college. The teachers prepared me well to be a secretary, the kind of work I did before and during my marriage. Two teachers I remember most were my shorthand and typing teachers, Miss Hoffmaster and Miss Betz, two ladies who knew their stuff. Also Flossie Short, my junior year English teacher, another no-nonsense teacher. A proud memory for me was being selected for the National Honor Society in my junior year, an honor that all five of our children also won, as well as a granddaughter. Could you say it runs in the family? Yet, there is that thought of what direction my life would have taken had I gone to college."
"Mr. Ben Schnerring and his chemistry class were memorable to me for various reasons. By that stage in my senior year, I had no intentions of going to college. I planned to follow the choice of my uncle, join the army, twenty years later come out, "young and retired." One day after marking my chemistry test paper, Mr. Schnerring stopped me in the hall and said, "Lapinski, I want to talk to you." At great lengths he explained the virtues of a college education, maybe even becoming a teacher. For at least a week, I was actually enthused, but it wore off. Besides, "me, be a teacher? No Way." He had planted the seeds. I became a teacher."
Betty Jane Camodeca Hardock:
"Good old Pottsville High School; cherished memories of teachers. Mrs. Close, did she teach English? WOW, you learned or else! How many times I wished I had sent her a thank you note, she would have liked that! Mr. Pete Sterner one of my favorites and Miss Condon a teacher from Minersville whom he married. Mr. Lindeman, in whose office I spent counting money after the football games, Miss Reid: little did I know that one day I would have a job exactly like hers; a job I loved dearly, Mr. Kotys and Mr. Kadel, there should be a law against having such handsome teachers."
"I got picked to dance in the "Minuet," along with Emil Mahall, Don Bevan, Hank Moll, Jack Hampford, and Jack Leffler. The girls were Mary Ann Joulwan, Mary Jane Raring, Delores Miscavage, Eddie Schuettler, and Dessa Hafer. The Minuet was a tradition and a great honor for those participating. We did ten shows before different organizations in Pottsville. On this particular occasion, we were scheduled to perform at the Necho Allen. The boys were in one of the hotel rooms changing into our colonial costumes when the other five guys shoved me out in the hallway with nothing on except my skivi shorts. I tried to get back in, pounding on the door, but to no avail. It seemed like a very long time, when three older women came walking up the hall, saw me, and acted as if it was the greatest shock in their lives. Meanwhile I could hear Hampford laughing. I get back in the room, just in time to make the performance. It's funny now but it wasn't then."
Mary Ann Messina Machamer, 1948/1949
"Some of us played in both the band and the school orchestra. Unfortunately the orchestra was discontinued in 1948 or 1949, which year I don't recall, except that I enjoyed playing in the orchestra better than I did in the band. On Class Day, I got an award of $25 for "loyal and faithful service" to the band director, Mr. Minnichbach. I typed all his reports."
570. COUNT DOWN TO GRADUATION
We can see the end of the road we started down eighteen years ago. The countdown is in the last remaining days. There are no "down" days, only "up" days as we charge around similarly to our first days of school. We are filled with enthusiasm; we treat everybody nice and they treat us nice! No enemies, no hard feelings, only friends and friendly Moments. Beneath it all…eyes are misting.
571. SIGNING YEARBOOKS.
This was a time of signing yearbooks and reflecting on our closest friend during the school years. When we got our Hi-S-Potts we found a lot of surprises inside. We recognized that soon our days at PHS would be over and so would our relationships. We selectively got comments in our yearbooks from those we wanted to remember; of course some of us ran around indiscriminately getting as many comments and signatures as we could, like autograph hounds! Those in the years following us shared our pleasures and they too willingly signed our yearbooks. There is little doubt in my mind that had a worldwide cataclysmic event taken place, it - would - not - have - affected - us - one - bit; that's how "high" we were. It was a great feeling looking toward graduation day.
572. CLASS BANQUET
Our class banquet was held on Thursday evening, June 8th. The banquet is one of few things I remember, more specifically because of a humorous incident worth mentioning, if only to provoke a few laughs. There was "No Smoking" in the Cafeteria. Do you remember that? Of course it was "no smoking" -- students weren't allowed to smoke at school. However, as the story goes, after we had finished our meal and got ready to listen to what the honored guest was going to say, there were two of you, guy and gal, who lit up more than a cigarette. Tubby Allen got lit up too and says "no smoking in the cafeteria!" He went on to admonish this brave duo by saying, "You ain't graduated yet!" I ask, will the two smokers please step forward and admit it?
573. SENIOR PROM NIGHT
The Senior Prom might have been cancelled due to lack of interest. Possibly not, it's just that I couldn't find anyone who wanted to recall being there. So maybe it was a non-event. I couldn't find anything in the Republican newspaper reporting that PHS seniors had a prom night. I have a confession. It was easy for me to remember the Prom. I didn't go; that makes it easy to remember. Alas, there is hope. Two classmates remember the Prom so it did happen after all.
"When I went to the prom, I wanted so bad to take Margie McGinty but never had the guts to ask her. When I did get the nerve to ask her, one of my close friends had already asked her. I ended up taking a girl from the junior class. She knew about my desire to have taken Margi instead and was very understanding about it. I ended up dancing most of the night with Margie and took her home too. Several months later when I was in Marine Corps boot camp, I got a letter from Margie. She said I was so shy! Boy to be young again and get a second chance."
"It was after the Senior Dance that "the bad boys of the class in Tuxes never came home. Paul Ney, Neil Keihm and I, and possibly someone else, decided to steal a ride to Philadelphia on the Pottsville train making sure the conductor didn't see us at 3:JJ) A.M.. Off we went , all the way to Philly to see someone's relative. Whose relative I do not recall. By 7:00 A.M., we were all hungry and no money, but I convinced the group to buy a Tasty Cake and split it. We got home from this adventure just in time for school assembly in the auditorium and appeared still in our Tuxes, with out parents and the rest of the school wondering what happened to us. The principal was mad at us and he told us that maybe he would withhold our graduation certificates. We the BAD BOYS of the class (of 1950)."
574. DESCRIPTION OF NORMAL TEENAGE BEHAVIOR -
What would be considered "normal teenage" behavior in our day and times? I think it could be summed up in a few sentences. We were responsible and accountable. We respected each other, our elders, and particularly our teachers. We were confident, arrogant - we had all the answers, and looked forward to a college education or beginning careers in the work place; we were unafraid of what the future might bring. We were loyal Americans, filled with pride and honor for our country. We had a sense of religion and knew the importance of religion in our lives. We appreciated being lucky and alive, and we knew how fortunate we were to have grown up during the times we did. On the other hand not all of us applied ourselves in our schoolwork. Sometimes we could have been considered lazy or willing to put things off if we found something else that could occupy our attention; such as members of the opposite gender. Drugs were never our problem although some of us smoked or took on a few beers; that was the worst of our vices. We were mature young adults!
575. BACCALAUREATE SERMON, SUNDAY, JUNE 11, 1950
The news report read, "The baccalaureate to 1950 graduates of Pottsville High School at Veterans Memorial Stadium in the evening."
I do remember that part about it being a "sermon." What I didn't know at the time was that it was a "farewell sermon delivered to our class" by the school administration and Pottsville's finest citizens. I've always thought it was nice of the high school to do things like this for us.
576. COMMENCEMENT, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14TH, 1950
Graduation. Some of us say, "finally," with a sigh of relief after all we have been through in the last twelve years. Others say, "we are only beginning, we are looking for the light at the end of the next tunnel." Ending or beginning, one thing is for certain, it's over for us at Pottsville High School. We go our separate ways. Now, in the year 2000, how do we reflect upon those days fifty years ago? Perhaps now the message in 2000 is the same. "Finally" with a sigh of relief after all we have been through, "it is over."
Mary Ann Messina Machamer 1950
"It rained on Graduation Day. I think we each got four tickets for our family if the ceremony was inside. Outside anyone could attend. The ceremony started outside but we all had to run to the Auditorium because of the rain. Inside it was crowded and hot. 'What a way to graduate!' Regretfully, earlier that year my mother died and I had to raise my three younger brothers: ages, 7, 10, and 12. My senior year was hard keeping up with schoolwork and trying to keep up the house too."
577. CLASS SONG, by Mary Ann Joulwan, Class of 1950
There are talented and resourceful classmates in our graduating class. Just think about these beautiful words by Mary Ann Joulwan. Sing them to the tune of "Look for the Silver Lining."
Farewell Dear Alma Mater,
I know we'll miss you when we're on our own.
We shall remember the times we've cherished
And all the friends we've made through the years.
So Farewell Dear Alma Mater,
Our leaving you is felt in our hearts.
And when you think of the Class of Fifty,
Just keep in mind to carry on for us.
578. ALMA MATER - traditional words
For those who never knew the words of the song "they" always sing and play in the movies, here it is.
Dear Alma Mater, faithful friend, All that we owe to thee.
We shall remember to the end, Gladly and gratefully.
Through all the yeas that we have dwelt, Under thy guiding care,
Ever thy gentle strength we have felt, Over us everywhere.
579. AFTER GRADUATION, SUMMER OF 1950
After graduation the summer was filled with mixed emotions. Our journey of twelve years was now completed. For most of us, "school" provided us with a sense of "order" in our lives. Practically everything in our lives rotated around "going to school and classes." Upon graduation the "order" was gone from our lives; what to do next produced anxiety and mixed feelings about the future. I kind of got the feeling that on the day after graduation, when it had time to sink in that we had graduated, some of must have felt that we had "walked the gang plank." We were in the ocean by ourselves and there was no one that could help us! It was sink or swim.
As mature young adults, we had a few decisions to make. Go to work, if so, where? Go to college, if so, where; although this decision no doubt had to be made before graduation? Go into the armed forces, if so, which branch of the military? Compound all this with an announcement made ten days later, the beginning of the Korean War.
One thing for certain, graduation had a scattering effect, "we got scattered" across the width and breath of the country. This included nearby states of New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware. Most stayed close to Pottsville or located in other parts of Pennsylvania.
Our graduation was only the beginning of a new journey, what we did with our lives for the next fifty years. That journey could only be chronicled in another book.
580. KOREAN WAR BEGINS, JUNE 25th, 1950
In 1950 the war in Korea was called a "police action." In 2000 it's referred to as the "Forgotten War." For politicians is was a "police action." For veteran's it was a war, "police action hell, they are shooting at us"!
In the late 1940's there were signs on the horizon that all was not well in Korea. Allegedly without warning or provocation, North Korea crossed the 38th Parallel and the Korean War began. Some classmates went to war, some got college deferments, some go directly to work. For some of us, the Korean War, "The Forgotten War", disrupted our plans for that summer. To say the least, for several years the rest of us looked over our shoulder, wondering when we would get drafted.
Charles Tamburelli's brother in law Joseph Padinske wrote about the Korean war this way:
"Thirty-seven months of the Korean War was among the bloodiest wars in history. More than a million Korean civilian men, women, and children were killed and several million made homeless. The war caused over a billion dollars worth of damage. Nations fighting under the United Nations flag suffered 1,760,000 casualties. About 2,000,000 Chinese and North Koreans were killed, wounded, or missing. American involvement included 350,000 men during the 37 months. Casualties totaled 141,000: 36,914 dead, 103,284 wounded, and as many as *8200 men still missing (year 2000) in action and presumed dead. *Ed. Note: the numbers missing is still in dispute. Source: Department of Veterans Administration. Number of deaths: 54,246 includes "battle KIA's" 33629 + 20617 "other KIA's" deaths occurring in Korea.
For US forces, two battles stand out in history: The Battle for the Pusan Perimeter in the southeast corner of South Korea, and the amphibious landing at Inchon on the west coast, just west of Seoul, capital of South Korea. Both battles took place early in the war, August and September 1950. In November 1950 the Chinese entered the war "in force." This is to say four armies crossed the Yalu River into North Korea. US Forces continually fought against superior numbers of Chinese. The quagmire began. Without discrimination, the war ground up "persons, places, and things." For the US Army, some units completely disintegrated. US Marines withdrew successfully from the "Frozen Chosen" Reservoir, bringing all dead, wounded, and equipment with them. Members of the PHS Class of 1950 were fortunate. Of those serving in Korea, all came home. Other classes were not so fortunate. Experiences of two of our classmates:
Nancy Mortimer Romanowicz:
"One of my memories is being on the train from Philadelphia to Pottsville going to the Class of 1950's first reunion. When I got to Pottsville, one of my best friend's mother and sister were there standing on the platform. It was then that I found out that Billy Lewis's body was on the same train. He had been killed in Korea. Billy Lewis lived across the street from me; he graduated the year before us. He dated my best friend, Eileen Murphy. I believe that was the very moment I grew up. Before that the war wasn't real to me."
Bobby Schuster - post script to Nancy's letter
Emil Mahall and I used to hang out at Billy Lewis's house a lot. Years later, I came home on leave from the Marine Corps. I was on a date with Margi McGinty and I was wearing my dress blue uniform. Margi and I stopped off at Billy's house to show off my dress blues. I impressed him so much that I am sorry to say, he joined the Marine Corps. I heard he was wounded in Korea and died on a hospital ship. I wrote to his mother and told her how sorry I was. Billy was a little skinny kid and wasn't afraid of anything.
581. IN HONOR OF THOSE WHO HAVE STARTED DOWN THE ROAD
Eulogy to those departed: "We wish you well, classmates of the Class of 1950. Departed classmates, in your days among the living, *(we hope that you have lived well, laughed often and loved much). We grieve that you started down the road and will not be with us to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our graduation in September 2000. Perhaps we will drink a toast to you. " Fair well" is not forever but only for a little while longer. We shall meet again."
* (words above in (parentheses) author unknown but it sound like
Shakespeare to me.)
582. WHAT IF:
"If you had a your life to live over again and you could go back in time to 1938, 1946, or 1950, what would you do differently in your second life? It's a wishful thought we all know is not possible. But if it were possible, what lessons would you have learned and what decisions would you change? Perhaps pass on to others as "lessons learned" so that they could take advantage of your wisdom? It is amazing that we see the "train wrecks" in our lives only after they happen; seemingly we lack the ability to see the consequences of our decisions before they happen. Is there nothing then, which can be passed on to those who follow after us? The answer is yes, it is the basis of our heritage.
583. CLOSING THE BOOK - THE LAST WORDS
We, of the "Forgotten Generation" have a rendezvous with destiny. In silence we will be forgotten, in voice we will leave our footprints on history. The "Forgotten Generation" need not be forgotten. Bernie's words are eloquent and right to the point.
Bernie Lapinski, Class of 1950, Pottsville High School.
"You can't take it with you, but any experience, knowledge and wisdom if it is not shared, recorded, or passed along (to others) in some way, then in fact, 'WE DO TAKE IT WITH US.' "
End of Chapter Five
Continued in Chapter Six