The Complete History of the Class of 1960
by Rita Craver Congdon
It was the day after Labor Day, 1954, when the Class of 1960
truly became a class. It was at this time that the former students of Cedar
Heights, Lincoln, and Minor Schools came together for our first day of junior
high school. Do you remember that day? It was one of the most exciting,
frightening days of my life.
Do you remember how we looked as we entered junior high? The girls were tall
and gangly. Only a few of us had any sign of a womanly shape. We all wore
dresses or skirts, because slacks were not considered ladylike. The boys came up
to our shoulders, and were squirrely and obnoxious. The guys wore slacks and
shirts. The cool items of dress were penny loafers, saddle shoes, and can can
Most of us walked to school, not knowing where to go, what door to use, and
how to find classes. Would we see any familiar faces? Would we get lost? How
would we ever get from one end of the building to the other in three minutes?
Would our friends from elementary school still be our friends? Would any of the
kids from the other schools speak to us? Where is my locker, and what is the
combination? Would we have tons of homework? What if our teachers hated us?
These questions were in the minds of all of us. But we survived that first day,
and the next three years in that old building.
I have some wonderful (and some not so wonderful) memories of that time. The
teachers that I particularly remember are:
How many remember her, the Dragon Lady? I remember living
in fear that I would do something dumb and have her unleash her wrath upon not
only me, but everyone else in the class. That year we spent a lifetime
diagramming sentences and working with punctuation, capitalization, and correct
sentence structure. As I look back, we really needed more teachers like her but,
at the time, it was awful.
Fred Lindsey was a dear little old man. At least we
thought he was ready for retirement. He was probably not too much older than we
are now. This lovely man had a knack of making American History come alive. How
many of you remember memorizing the Gettysburg Address? And the last paragraph
from Patrick Henry's "
give me liberty or give me death"
speech? He was a lovely
man who cared about his students and that they learned history.
I remember Mr. Kindig as a great teacher. I don't remember
many specifics from his class, but I looked forward to it each day. I do
remember that he often had study hall detail, and you studied when he was on
duty. If you didn't, he was liable to grab you out of your seat, raise you from
the floor, and discuss the situation with you, dangling you in the air. He had
only one arm, but he was powerful.
She taught general math, and it was easy and fun. What a
great lady! She smiled and laughed a lot.
Mrs. Fry expected each one of us to have the devotion to
algebra that she had. That was my first mistake, I wasn't dedicated. She assumed
that we would pay attention and absorb, and learn. She didn't take into account
that the group in the back of the room was having too good of a time to absorb.
I have blamed Jim Duffy for my whole year of Ds in that class. He was so willing
to entertain, and I was willing to be entertained. Mrs. Fry was an excellent
teacher. I'm sorry I didn't give her a chance.
This will mean nothing to the boys, because at the time
boys were not allowed to come near a kitchen or sewing room. As I recall, we
made aprons with two seams, and it took us a month. I think my mother washed
windows with mine. Then we made muffins--until we got them right.
While the girls were sewing their two seams and making muffins, the boys were
making plastic candy dishes and aluminum ash trays. I always thought the boys
got the better end of the deal.
We were the first class that Mr. Taylor taught, and we
were vicious. The poor man was trying to teach Intro to Business, and we frankly
didn't care. I do remember that he and Doug Fletcher became quite close, and
spent a lot of time together after school. Doug was our leader in that class,
and we all took our cue from him.
Remember the Junior High athletics? The football games were played at
Washington Park. After school we would walk to the park to cheer on our team.
There was not really a field, and there were no bleachers, bathrooms, or
drinking fountains, but that didn't matter. We thought our teams were the best
and most wonderful. Our guys looked so big once they got into their gear. Our
biggest player probably weighted 130 pounds!
The basketball games were played in the gym. At last we had bleachers,
drinking fountains, and bathrooms. One of the main jobs of the supervisors was
to keep the spectators from running around the balcony track and being obnoxious
Speaking of the gym, how can we forget the Junior High parties? Remember
them? The girls stood on one side of the gym, all dressed up in their very full
skirts, held straight out with multiple can can slips. The boys stood on the
other side of the gym and punched each other in the arms and shoved each other
around. The girls danced together, and the boys ignored us. By the end of the
evening, a couple of boys would get brave enough to ask one of us to dance. At
the end of the evening, we would try to locate the family car from a line of
cars that went all the way around the block.
By the end of the 9th grade, we were ready to tackle High
School--until the day after Labor Day when school actually began. There we were,
right back where we had been three years earlier. We were the youngest again. It
was not as frightening as before, but the school was so much bigger, and we
still feared getting lost. At least all the stairways were both up and down, and
that made it easier to get around.
It was at this point that we began to develop our interests. There were so
many opportunities for us to develop special interests. Those interested in the
arts could immerse themselves in music and theater. Those science-minded
individuals could pursue that area. Those planning business careers had
opportunities opening up for them. No matter what your interests, opportunities
were there for you!
There were still the all-school activities: No matter where our interests
lay, we supported the teams. We now had a real football stadium where we cheered
on the team. The marching band helped keep the crowd aroused. It didn't make any
difference if it rained, snowed, or was nice: we were there. For basketball and
wrestling, we had a large gymnasium with adequate seating. Our cheerleaders and
pep band did a great job of keeping the crowd involved in the activity. This was
Remember the sock hops held in the cafeteria after the athletic activities?
Did we hire DJs or did we take turns playing the music of the day? Sometimes it
was tricky getting both of your shoes back.
How about homecoming dances? We did not hire the Commons, or Electric Park.
It was not a formal occasion, just dress up. Our dances were in the gym, an hour
after the ball game ended. The decorating committee always managed to turn the
gym into a magical place, where just a few hours before we had been running,
exercising and sweating.
The prom--always held at Electric Park--was the truly BIG event of the year.
This was where the skinny boys rented white and pastel dinner jackets, and the
girls tried very hard to hold up their strapless dresses for an entire evening.
The junior class was responsible for the evening, the decorations, food, and the
band. It was a very special night each year. A formal (or close to a formal)
dinner was held before the prom, and everybody that attended tried very hard not
to spill something on the rented dinner jackets and formal dresses. Activities
for after-prom were usually promoted by the parents. Some took part, others had
There were some very special teachers at CFHS when we were there. Many made
lasting impressions on our lives.
Often this was a love-hate relationship. We loved the man,
but hated it when he made us think, and work. Those of us who had him for a
teacher probably remember him fondly, now. (Remember how we all thought he and
Miss Bailey of the library would make a great pair? It didn't work.)
Mr. Hofstad was a lot like Mr. Lindsey of Junior High. He
truly cared about all of his students, and made time to give extra help whenever
asked. He always hoped that none of his students would blow up the school in the
Mr. Buxton & Mr. McCalley:
These gentlemen were ahead of their
time in teaching biology. They tried to instill a sense of wise use of our
environment back when it was not the thing to do. They also made us dissect
Blythe Lamme had started teaching in 1930, and had taught
a lot of our parents. She taught, she worked us, and everyone in the class was
expected to participate and put in a lot of time on homework. Does anyone else
remember how upset she was when the Russians launched Sputnik? She was probably
one of the best teachers ever.
Mr. Pries used to say that he could teach anyone to type,
and he had a very good track record, until Rita Craver entered his class. I
still type with three fingers and one thumb.
John Evenson exposed me to many different types of
music, and introduced me to the classics which I grew to appreciate and love. He
gave me the opportunity to perform, even though my talents were limited. He
always said, "
Merle Picht made me think, and express myself. He gave me
the confidence to stand in front of a group and not be embarrassed if things did
not go as I had planned. He also yelled if you did not work up to your
potential, and when Merle Picht yelled, you knew you were in big trouble. He did
more to prepare me for my classes at ISTC than anyone else.
Time does not permit me to go on any longer. If I have left out any of your
favorites, tell me about them.
And then, the big day arrived. June 7, 1960. Graduation Day!
We all went to breakfast at the Ti Pi Tin Inn, then on to rehearsal for the
event that night. We were ready! We were 17 and 18 years old. We had just
completed thirteen years of school, and we had the diploma to prove it. We knew
all the answers, but maybe not all of the questions. We were ready to go on to
school, work, and with our lives.
Does it seem like 35 years since we left CFHS? Have we really changed so much
from those 17 and 18 year olds? We have all matured, we have all had challenges
to face that we never dreamed would happen, and we have met those challenges.
You know what? I think we are still a pretty good bunch of kids!!
Impressions by Sam Coleman
So, it's been 35 years? Gads. Time flies, as they say. And with it the
opportunities to renew friendships and swap stories about the good ol' days at
It was a great reunion in June (1995). It must have been the best, but I
can't judge since this was my first. It was during Sturgis Falls Days, making it
even better. That may be no big deal for those of you who stayed around
Northeast Iowa after graduation, but for those of us who didn't, it was really
nice to meet everyone and see how CF has changed over 35 years.
It was particular nostalgic for me. Because I had almost enough credits to
graduate after our junior year, I took some dumb course that I don't remember
and finished up at the end of the summer. What a mistake--I missed our senior
year and didn't even go through the graduation ceremony. To make a long story
short, being between the Class of 1959 and the Class of 1960, I was on neither
list. Anyway, Margaret Cranston and Rita Copeland made sure that I knew about
this year's reunion.
I was more than a little apprehensive about walking into the Holiday Inn. I
had seen Bud and Rita a few times over the years, but I wondered if I would
recognize anyone else. Well, I did walk in, and my worst fears were realized. It
might as well have been a reunion from Mule Shoe, Texas. And I understand that
people already there wondered who I was, a stranger wandering in with a blank
look on his face (until the yearbook proved that I was in the right place). But
Bud and Rita were there, and they rescued me, introducing me to people whose
names were familiar but whose faces...well, you know what I mean.
After a while, things started to come back. It was amazing. How could I have
forgotten Margaret's bubbly personality? And then I recognized more and more
mannerisms and expressions that I hadn't seen for all those years. It was great
seeing all of you who were there. On Saturday, some of us watched the parade and
wandered around the park and talked about times gone by. I had my first Maid
Rite in 35 years. The whole day was an experience to remember.
We really hated to see it end. A bunch of us resolved that we should do it
again--an unforgettable fortieth reunion at the turn of the century. Everyone
seemed to agree that we should schedule it during Sturgis Falls again, and that
we oughta get a parade entry together. We'd also like to have at least one
function at CF High. I can't wait!
But even if I have to wait, I don't want to lose contact with the class.
Everyone at the dinner agreed that we should publish a newsletter. We'd also
like to keep the mailing list up to date. So here it is--volume one! I wanted to
share Rita Craver's reminisces of Junior and Senior High. Rita read this at the
Reunion dinner and it was a scream. Can you believe her memory? I really enjoyed
her writing style and her delivery at the Holiday Inn. The written version
(without the ad libs) follows on the next pages.
I'd also like to pass around your impressions of the reunion, stories about
the good ol' days, news about what's been going on in your lives, and anything
else that you'd like to share. Margaret and I will send out future newsletters
on an irregular schedule as we receive material. We'll also appreciate your help
keeping the mailing list current, particularly if you can help us locate some of
the people we've lost track of. The list of lost souls is at the end of the
Well, it has been good talking to ya. Hope to hear from you and I really hope
to see all of you again--and it's only four years and six months away!
Good luck to all.
|Sally Clark Sullivan
||Rita Copeland Justis
|Margaret Cranston Meyer
||Rita Craver Congdon
||Becky Flieder Thompson
||Jackie Gaden Heeney
|Judy Garth Custer
||Janae Gersema Drefke
|Roswitha Giesen Marold
||Judi Guralnik Ingis
|Jeanne Hagenson Langan
|Judy Hintzen Bown
||Pam Johnson Hinrichs
|Karen Koehn Baker
|Sonja Madsen Kung
|Phyllis Meyer Kuehl
||Karen Mulgrew Schultz
||Zeta Nichols Poeschl
|Patricia Rhode Brandenburg
||Jennifer Schlicher Breyer
||Pat Shannon VanOort
|Marilyn Stoddard Carley
||Sigrin Thorson Newell
|Kay Voorhees Balke
Please send updates to: Sam Coleman