Junior High School Years: 1959-1961
Junior High classes were held in a two-story annex adjacent to the old high school.
|Seventh grade:||Principal:||Wilda Byal|
|Math, PE:||Rex Miskimins|
|Band:||Donald C. Bury|
|Vocal music:||Eutoka Lanaghan|
|Eighth grade:||Principal:||Rex Miskimins|
|Math, PE:||Rex Miskimins|
|Social Studies:||Wilda Byal|
|Math, Science:||Edna Pratt|
|Band:||Donald C. Bury|
|Vocal music:||Inara Jakobsons|
During the eighth grade year, a spelling bee was held in the WPA-era gymnasium. I won a trophy for winning the written spelling bee and a runner-up trophy for coming in second to Linda Provost in the verbal spelling bee. I misspelled ‘changeable’, leaving out the ‘e’.
I was awarded a certificate of promotion from Junior High School on May 24th, 1961. It was signed by Rex Miskimins, the Junior High principal, and Earle P. Leslie, the Superintendent of Colfax schools.
During the summer months of my Junior High years, I played Babe Ruth baseball. Mr. Dale Manship was the coach of the team. My skills as a Babe Ruth player did not improve from my Little League years, possibly because I was working at Easter’s grocery store and did not practice baseball enough.
I played football in Junior High. We had very old uniforms, and some of us wore old style helmets with a metal crown, leather sides that tied at the chin, and had no face guard. Sometimes I was a quarterback and a punter. I was not very good. I also played basketball, and my skills were not particularly good in that sport either. However I did letter in football and basketball in the eighth grade. The document was signed by Rex Miskimins who was the principal at the Junior High School.
I had enough trumpet skills that I joined the high school band when I was in the seventh grade. We practiced in a facility that we called the “Rec Hall”. It was a tworoom building located in the block with the elementary and high schools that was contributed by the Monroe family. It no longer exists.
Alan Pratt, Lee Lind, and I formed a cornet or trumpet trio that stayed together and performed in competition for five more years until Alan and Lee graduated from high school in 1963. Alan was clearly the best trumpet player, while I was much closer in ability to Lee Lind. I did challenge Lee once or twice, but never succeeded in defeating him.
I continued to sing in school.
I believe that during Junior High I took dance lessons at the American Legion Hall. The hall was just north of the Skunk River and was quite busy with events of World War II veterans. Classmate Janice Robson and I were paired together and won a dance competition.
I did not have a girlfriend during the Junior High years,
I joined the Boy Scouts and spent several summer weeks at Camp Matigwa near Boone, Iowa. I never progressed beyond Second Class because I could not swim, a requirement to achieve First Class status. First Class status was a requirement to be awarded the Order of the Arrow.
I was active at the United Methodist Church, including the MYF or Methodist Youth Fellowship. I began to think about being a minister as a future occupation.
I began working at Easter’s grocery store part-time in either the sixth or seventh grade. My first job was to sack potatoes into 10-pound sacks. I could not lift the 100-pound sacks of potatoes so needed help with that task. I also found out how badly rotten potatoes smelled. My hourly wage might have been either 35 or 65 cents.
During Junior High, I began to be aware of sexuality and wondered how babies were conceived. There was no sex education in Junior High, and the playground was rife with miscommunications about sex. Some taunting or bullying of girls became prominent, such as the telling of ‘dirty’ jokes. We all laughed at the punch line whether or not we understood the joke at all.
In April 1961 the so-called Bay of Pigs invasion occurred in an attempt to topple the Communist regime in Cuba led by Fidel Castro. I recall working at Easter’s store that Saturday morning and surreptitiously listening to the radio. Pretty quickly, it became apparent that the invasion was a complete failure. While President Kennedy accrued the blame for the fiasco by not supporting the invasion, actual planning began in the Eisenhower administration. Kennedy could have stopped the invasion, but chose not to do so.
The furniture in the pictures was purchased at Grey’s Furniture from Des Moines after we moved to the house on South Locust Street. Notice the stand-up ashtray in the right hand picture. A cut glass cigarette holder was usually on the coffee table. My father smoked cigarettes until about 1960 when he quite completely. I never smoked.
My brother Kenneth (Kenny) graduated from Colfax High School in 1960. His class was the first to graduate from the ‘new’ high school on League Road. He was to attend the now-defunct (1973) Parsons College in Fairfield, Iowa, on a clarinet scholarship. He transferred to Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, where he graduated in 1964 with a degree in Chemical Engineering.