Nancy Leith Musser sent me a copy of a typewritten item that may have come from “The Highlander,” the school newspaper of our Highland Avenue Junior High. The author is unknown and it has no date, but it is apparently from our eighth grade in 1950. It reads, in its entirety:
Every Saturday night between 7:30 and 9:00 you’ll find a lot of junior high boys and girls having a grand time at the Twentieth Century Club. Mr. Walter Keenan instructs them in ballroom dancing and improves their social poise. Besides learning to dance with Lansdowne boys and girls they have the opportunity of meeting other teen-agers from Upper Darby, East Lansdowne, St. Philomena’s, Friends and many other schools.
Coming up soon for the seventh grade class is a party; a sport dance – sweaters, skirts, shirts, and dungarees for the eighth grade. Later on an event which promises to be even more fun is a formal, to which the boys ask the girls. Some of the earliest news on who’s taking whom: Barbara Underwood and Frank McCarthy; Blanche Kurtz and Jim Herring; Faun Ward and Norman Rowley; Jackie Short and Dick Johnson; Marian Bell and Kenny Rishel; Joan Carberry and Jack King; Suzie Bate and Bob Rowlands; Agnes Watson and Jon Hole; Mary Mertz and Don Young; Audrey Lewis and Jim Reynolds; Mary Kay Abbott and Jim Valentine; Arnett Ware and Bill Krause; Joan Navitt and Ed Henrie; Janice Mowry and Ed Hagopian; Joan Anderson and Bill Hayes; Rose Buccieri and Bill Macaleer; Marilyn Fox and Dick Huber.
The “formal” may well be the dance shown in the newspaper clipping in the posting of August 11, 2009. The dances themselves are described in the posting of March 27, 2006. (Tom Peraino is correct on the spelling of Mr. Kennan’s name.) Some of those couples were promising, others were ridiculous experiments. Many parents must have sighed with relief when their daughters later moved on to other boys.
I am not among those named in the “earliest news” and probably would not have been in the final news, either. I don’t think I would have taken anyone at that age, except my chum Gary of Upper Darby. (No orientation issues were involved. Our mothers would alternate driving us there and picking us up. That was part of the fun. Why drag along an irrelevant girl or two?)