June 04, 2023

70th anniversary memories

Beauty Contests and Parades — Every spring the Newton Daily News featured weekly pictures of contestants for the 4th of July Beauty Queen. Lots of young ladies’ names and pictures were turned in by their families and friends. A big Independence Day parade with the queen and attendants traveled First Avenue in shiny yellow convertibles. The Daily News reported a crowd of 12,000 attending the 1952 parade.

Senior “Skip-Day” — This involved another parade around the high school on the official Day-Off for our graduating class. We knew how to handle the details after observing upper classmen’s antics for several years. And, sometimes we got warned or even hauled in by the cops if activities were a little too wild.

Does anyone remember the Police Report in the Daily News outlining the rowdy group of Robertson, Warden, Jarnagin, McNeer and Meraz who were taken to the police station and lectured for dousing local gentry with water from a high-pressure garden sprayer? In our senior class of “Last Wills” published with everyone’s picture in a special edition of the May 26, 1952 Daily News, John McNeer stated “I Will my trigger happy ability with the orchard sprayer used on skip day to any good shot in the junior class who would like a short ride in a black and white Plymouth with a flashing light.”

After our skip-day parade, we were off to picnics, parties, or travel to different parts of the state with friends. There was even a group that wound up touring the Eldora Training School. They still remember the warning “Don’t give the boys cigarettes, and don’t go making eyes at them.”

Speaking of cigarettes, most of us had to give smoking a try just to be cool. The girls might say “I didn’t particularly want to, I just did it because everyone else did.” They relate stories of cruising the square smoking and ducking way down in the car if they saw an adult they knew. Ron Wylie’s dad saved a carton of Lucky Strikes with the old green and red package and wording “Lucky Strike has gone to war.” Ron related how he got in trouble for swiping packages of cigarettes from this collector’s carton.

Newton High School Sports — While there was not a lot of state championships during our high school days, we remember being a class with an abundance of school spirit, and super support of our football, basketball, wrestling, and track teams. We were “C.I.C.” football champions in 1951 and finished second in state in track. Browsing through your 1952 Newtonia will bring back many memories of classmates who were top performers, and the good times throughout the school year.

We also had a lively group of cheerleaders, who were out front at all sports events, dressed in red and black, yelling through those big megaphones, rousing the crowd. And, who can forget those pep meetings in “27″ with Pop Lynn and the cheerleaders up on the stage doing their bit? We were indeed a spunky class!

John McNeer