High school annuals have historical information

Friday, July 30, 2021

Algebra and I never agreed on anything. In my mind, letters are letters and numbers are numbers. The only algebra class I took in high school was in Indianola as a 9th grader and the one memory I retain from the class is a scar from a lead pencil that I most deservedly (my big Scotch-Irish mouth got ahead of my brain) received for a comment I made to one of my classmates. Today, one of the two of us would have been in big trouble, but in those days you shook it off and got on with life.

Geometry was a total love affair for me from the beginning and Mrs. Estella La Rue was an excellent instructor in that class. Who knew there was a formula for figuring area on just about every shape! When I opened the 1960 Bison several teachers were familiar: Mrs. La Rue, Mr. Everest, Miss Gerdes and Mrs. Rees. Mrs. Baker was secretary to Mr. Reid, Principal, and Miss Acker (also a teacher) was Assistant Principal. Ken Foster was a basketball coach plus taught physical education and Mrs. Iona Horacek the school nurse. Ken was not still teaching by 1968 and having never visited the school nurse, I’m not sure Iona was still in that position, but the rest of them were carrying on trying to educate the almost 600 baby boomer students that were stuffed in the original high school.

Boys had competitive track, golf, basketball with pages of picture attesting to their abilities. Girls had the GAA, Girls Athletic Association, who under the guidance of Miss Gerdes got to play intermural volleyball, basketball and tennis. No competitive sports with other schools for them and certainly no pictures of them in their gym clothes!

Annuals provide historical information not only on the school, but also on the businesses that bought ads to help offset the cost of printing an annual. Here are a few, some that are familiar to me. Walt’s Derby, located at 324 West B; Red’s Texaco, 411 East B; Moore’s Food Store, 207 West 3rd; Ohlsen and Jones Jewelry, 202 Norris Ave.

Tourtellotte’s Garage at 105 East 3rd offered not only “First Class Repairs” but also “Preferred Risk Auto Insurance for Non-Drinkers”. The Studebaker dealer, Schneider Auto Co. at 317 West B, “Invites you to see the car of tomorrow”. Sehnert Bakery, Phone 13, asks, “May we come to your party? Decorated cakes, cookies and seasonal party ideas”. Sweetbriar at 318 Norris offered “Important fashions-famous labels-modest prices”. Helen Neiman had a beauty shop at 705 West 5th and Fischer’s Ice Cream – World of Toys- at 106 East 2nd had “Toys and Games for All Ages”. The Chief Motel, Earl and Millie Hoatson, had air conditioning, phones and carpets plus their establishment at 612 West B also offered commercial rates. “Your money goes a mile” according to J.M. McDonald’s at 121 West C, and Mr. and Mrs. Gus Unger had Green’s Drapery Shop at 208 East 1st. Clapps store for women was a 214 Norris, Jack-N-Jill shop with infants’ and children’s wear was across the street at 213. J.C. Penny’s was still at 220 Norris.

When you look at the addresses remember that on north/south streets, odd numbers are on the east side of the street and even numbers on the west such as 220 Norris is the west side of Norris Ave. If the streets run east/west, the even numbers are on the south side of the street, odd on the north. To count blocks, Norris is the beginning so numbers either direction start at the 100 count, then when the first streets (east or west) begin the numbers go to 200 and so on. Perhaps I am the only one that gets confused by that, but that’s my clue for the week.

SWNGS has a fairly large collection of McCook High School and McCook College annuals as well as some Red Willow school annuals that were gifted to us. We never turn down an annual from the surrounding area and if we have duplicates, we make sure that the museum or city library have copies if needed. Stop by and do some research on Thursdays from 1-4 PM at 322 Norris Ave, RM 2-7 on the second floor. There is an elevator for your convenience.

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