Ilion High School

1948 Senior Class History

As reported in "The Mirror of 1948"


Class histories are apt to fall into a set form, and can be as dry and uninteresting as a view of the Sahara. We don't care for that type of history. We wish to remember only the important events, the funny things, the things that made us proud to be members of the class of 1948. We want these pages to be the everyday memories that would be discussed by a group of us, should we happen to gather beneath a big, spreading, shady tree in the summer, or about a cheerful crackling fire in the winter. As we haven't seen each other for some time, can't you just imagine the conversation beginning:

"Do you remember when we were Freshmen way back in 1944?"

"You know, it's funny, but I can't remember a thing about that year."

"Couldn't that be because all Freshmen are the same-active little creatures, getting in everyone's way, accomplishing nothing, only waiting for the day they will become Sophomores?"

"I'll say! But that's the year Jack Day won a letter in track."

"Oh, that's right. But speaking of Sophomores - that was when we began to take notice and really do things. We had our first class elections that year."

"George Day was our first president. You, Marilyn Hess, were vice-president."

"Yes, and Jack Day here, was treasurer. What did you do with all the money we made that year, Jack?"

"Never mind. But weren't we nice to let Don Polsin act as secretary."

"Yeah? I had the dirty work to do, you mean. But remember poor Mrs. Bean, we chose her as our faculty adviser. Lucky for us, tough for her!"

"Remember the big party we had that year? We danced round dances and tried to dance squares. Fun, though."

"I played cards."

"Food! Don't forget the food. That was the best part of the whole party."

"Jack Day, you won another track letter that year, didn't you?"

"Yep, and Don Lang won one in football."

"I thought he won one in basketball."

"He did and baseball, too."

"Remember Miss Schwartz and her cats?"

"Remember Miss Cummings, our English teacher, who always wore bobby-sox?"

"Wasn't that the year Fred Allen came to Ilion from Tonawanda?"

"Yes, and Carl Lints came from Frankfort."

"No, I came in our junior year. We had a big increase in membership that year. You, Hazel Bostwick, came from Vestal; Carmen Heffner, from Independence, Missouri; Bob Speece, from Frankfort; and Harriette Phillips from Mohawk."

"Harriette was chosen as one of the J.V. cheerleaders, wasn't she?"

"Yes, along with Dot Loopman, Carol Wilson, Marilyn Hess, Jane Everhart, Nancy Greig, and Shirley Steiner."

"If I do say so, we did a pretty good job cheering for a very good J.V. football squad."

"Some of our own boys were on the Senior Varsity squad. Let's see, there were Jack Day, Don Lang, Dick Smallwood, Oop Bullis, Bert Warner, Herb Beckwith, Jay Wilson, Howie Harrig, Jack Smith and Harold Ferguson."

"We had a different staff of class officers that year, too. That time, I, (ahem) Jack Day, was promoted to class president, and my trusted assistant was none other than Don Polsin, vice-president. We let Bert Warner handle the money that year as treasurer and wished secretary on Marilyn Hess."

"We really did things that year, didn't we? Remember the "Gay Nineties" when we all dressed up in old-fashioned clothes and arranged our own songs and dances?"

"Remember the "Jerks," that great tumbling team; Joe Leistyna, Bob Engells, Carl Monz, Joe Spatol, and Paul March?"

"We had our junior play that night. What was the name, George Feisthamel? You had one of the leads."

"White Christmas." There were others in it beside me: Gloria Colton, Reva Freeman, Allan Mead, Harriette Phillips, Lonnie Fake, Carl Lints, Ann Pelton and Irene Nalezny."

"Talking about the "Gay Nineties" reminds me of our "Class Night" program. We had a lot of fun kidding the Seniors. Remember Jack Day in that short skirt as Master of Ceremonies?"

"Remember him! I'll say! But I'll never forget those chorus girls-Bert Warner, Warren Steiner and Jay Wilson, who danced while Grace Day sang. Remember their outfits!"

"That was the night we introduced the "Hokey Pokey." That kept us going for a good many dances after. It sure spread around too-even got in the Navy."

"Of course, we can't take all the credit of the success of those two nights. Our grand friends and teachers, Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Bean, and Miss Wasmer, pitched in and worked like beavers to help us make them the success they were."

"Remember how Miss Wasmer could always nose out the one chewing gum?"

"Some of our boys were sent to Boys' State at Colgate University that year, don't forget."

"Lonnie Fake, you were one. Who went with you?"

"Joe Spatol, Bob Remmell, and George Feisthamel. We sure had a good time studying politics even if we did miss the class of '47 graduation."

"Speaking of politics-remember the forums some of the American history kids put on? Miss Gordon managed to make them sound almost as if they knew what they were talking about."

"Remember that unforgettable trip to Montreal with Mr. Swift's choir? We were really on top of the world with chartered Greyhound buses, staying at the Mount Royal Hotel for a whole weekend (with and without accommodations. Less said about that, the better.) and singing in the international choir with thousands of voices from many different countries."

"Remember how we dined and danced on the "Normandy Roof!" to Buddy Clark's music? It was wonderful!"

"Remember how some of us took a sight-seeing ride in a "Tally-Ho?"

"Back home again, that was the year the Ilion High School baseball team won the MVI cup for for winning the play-off between the eastern and western sections.

"Our Donnie Lang was chosen to be one of the Three Ilion Bombers to play with the Suburban all stars against Utica area. Darn it, the Utes won.

"We had an excellent basketball season and ended it by scoring a victory (one point) over the Seniors."

"We had fun helping the Seniors put on the Junior-Senior Prom. Our scenery was a Mexican garden. It was lovely and won a big attendance."

"That was some year but couldn't top our Senior year. How could it with, to start with, such fine officers. Namely, Bert Warner, president."

"You know it just occurred to me. Strange, our former class treasurer always was elected president the next year. Couldn't be he bought a few votes, could it?"

"Quiet! We made things prettier anyway by electing Dot Loopman, vice-president and Dot Moore, secretary and (Ugh) Oop Bullis, treasurer.

"We made Oopie feel better by selecting him for president of the Senate."

That's enough of that! Remember Marilyn Hess was our Queen for the Christmas Ball. Wasn't she pretty in her crown of roses?"

"So were Ann Pelton and Dot Moore as her attendants. Er-so were all our girls."

"You would think so, Alan. Let's get serious and remember some of our "Brainy People." Like Louise Younglove, chosen for the DAR contest; Carl Lints who won the American Legion contest here; Bob Fennell who won the VFW essay contest and Carolyn Rudd, second; Beth Jones, third; and Nancy Greig, honorable mention."

"Don't forget Mary Campbell came from St. Francis that year; Julia Primmar came from Little Falls, and Lorraine Kinney came back from West Winfield."

"We sure were a real threat on the athletic field that year. We made people begin to notice Ilion again with our grid players: Jack Day, Jay Wilson, Lonnie Fake, Dick Smallwood, Don Polsin, Bob Engells, Bert Warner, Don Lang, Howie Harrig, Harold Ferguson and Oop Bullis."

"Marilyn Hess' 'Lucky Seven' - Shirley Steiner, Nancy Greig, Sue Bronner, Carol Wilson, Dot Loopman and Harriette Phillips - cheered them on to their many victories."

"Our basketball season was really something, don't forget. We were tied with Frankfort for the championship of the MMVI League that year, and were in the sectional play-offs for the Class B championships. We beat Little Falls in the first round at the Mohawk Armory, but lost that heartbreaker to Whitesboro at Utica. The basketball team was one of the best this school has seen in 20 years, and on it we had two of our own boys, Don Lang and Harold Ferguson. We won 15 out of 20 games, the first 10 of these were consecutive wins. The team was rewarded by a trip to New York."

"And how about the shellacking we handed the Juniors in the class game. Wow! 48-22. Nobody will ever forget that."

"When we remember sports, we shouldn't forget the nice job Ruth Hjorth did as head Drum Majorette in front of the band parading on the field at the games."

"She did a good job in the tri-city plays, too. Don't forget Joe Leistyna either, or Louise Younglove, Grace Day, Violet Di Sano, and Lonnie Fake's directing with Mrs. Davis overseeing again, of course!"

"Don't forget Bob Kennell was the announcer.

"Remember his announcing at the football games. He even made a transcription. I had such a time finding the right kind of a machine to play it back on. If he got excited, some parts sounded just like Donald Duck unless you found a machine you could slow down."

"Remember Miss Gordon's curiosity about the light locks that suddenly appeared in several of the girls' hair? She didn't realize what a worry four years of study had been to them."

"Yeah? Not to change the subject, but wasn't Beth Jones the editor of the 'Quill'?. Our school paper was selected one of the best that year, too."

"That shows we were all hard workers in our class. Look how we raised money. We sold Xmas Cards, and Jean Hanson topped by selling $37 worth. Then we had a contest selling stationery between the boys and girls. The boys snowed us under, and we girls had to give them a party."

"Our Senior Class Play was one of the most important events of our year. Reva, you had a lead. Who were the others in the cast?"

"Its name was: "Love Your Neighbor" and the cast was large. As I remember they were: Grace Day, Lonnie Fake, Sue Bronner, Ann Pelton, Esther Chase, Jack Day, John Hoover, Jay Wilson, Jean Hanson, Harriette Phillips, Alan Mead, Paul March, Joyce Smith, Nancy Greig, Bruce Wilson, Carl Monz, Louise Younglove, Joyce Bouck and Carolyn Rudd."

"About that time things were becoming 'lasts' for us. I mean the last time we would play this sport, cheer this season, play in this play, take part in any of those activities that made Ilion High School so dear to us."

"Yep, those were certainly the good old days for all of us."

So would run the trend of our memories and good memories they would be. As the sun would sink behind the trees or the fire would die, we would be bound to hide a sigh and slyly wipe away a tear, for we know that never again will our hearts be so light and our friendships so dear as those we formed in the class of 1948.


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Created and maintained by Aileen Carney Sweeney - Class of 1974

Digital Image Copyright & Copyright © 1997 - 2014
First Published October 4, 1997 - Modified Sept 21, 2014