Senior Sneak

We were visiting my mom and dad a few weeks ago and apparently this time of year was making them both nostalgic for their school days.

They had out a pile of yearbooks and photos from class reunions.

Which is doubly fun for us because not only did my mom and dad graduate in the same class in 1949, Captain Cavedweller’s grandmother, his great-aunt, and my cousin’s father-in-law were among their classmates.

CC and I were sitting at the kitchen table with Mom, looking through yearbooks when Dad dropped this photo I’d never before seen in front of me.

Mom and Dad senior sneak

Gosh, my parents look so young and carefree. This photo was taken on their senior sneak day in the spring of 1949. I just love it and the expressions on their faces.

My mother’s family had moved to the area when she was in grade school. But my dad’s family bought a farm and moved right before school began their senior year.

So Dad, who was the “new boy all the girls were goofy about” (according to Mom), quickly made friends and made a place for himself among his new classmates. He joined the band and FFA, and I think he played basketball (I know he had a letterman’s jacket). In fact, Dad fit in so well, he and his group of friends played a few memorable pranks.

He and the guys had been out hunting and happened upon a pig roaming around. Of course, they decided the best place to take the pig was the study hall at school. So they snuck in and turned the pig loose.

Dad said the teacher who found the pig thanked them for providing him with a nice fat pig to butcher, but they didn’t get in trouble.

Riding the success of that prank, the boys took on an even loftier endeavor. There was an establishment in town called the Multnomah Hotel that was not a hotel. Instead, it provided a venue for women of questionable repute to engage the services of men looking for a good time.

I don’t even want to know how dad and his friends knew what the “hotel” really was. They were walking around downtown (where the hotel was located), and watched men come and go from the hotel. Then they thought it would be funny to hide and jump out at the next fellow who came out of the hotel.

So they did.

Dad laughed and said the man started running, he was so startled that he’d been caught doing something he shouldn’t have.

Although he didn’t say which one of them (I think there were five hooligans in his gang of practical jokers), came up with the idea, but they thought it would be hilarious to take the hotel sign and hang it on the front of the school.

So two of them stood on the shoulders of the others and worked the sign free. (Dad said it had metal hooks that hung from rings). They promptly took it to the high school and climbed up to where they could hang it in front of the building where it couldn’t be missed.

Somehow, they didn’t get in trouble from that adventure either, although the principal called them to his office and gave them a warning to knock off the pranks.

While Dad told more stories, I continued looking through their yearbooks. Mom had written a message to dad addressed to “Buzzard Bait” and lamented losing her shoe.

When I asked how and where the shoe was lost, neither could remember if it was on their senior sneak day or another day they’d gone off with friends.

Dad autographed Mom’s yearbook by calling her “Stinker,” and saying how much he’d miss her. (Sweet!)

I asked them when they had their first date. They agreed it was probably sometime in March or April (although they couldn’t recall exactly when) and they both said they’d gone to the movies with friends. But the movie they went to see appeared as lost as Mom’s shoe.

Then Mom looked up and said, “Dancing in the Dark.”

dancing in the dark

Apparently, the movie they went to see was Dancing in the Dark.  You can bank on me seeing it soon, since I’ve not yet watched the old comedy.

When your parents are gaining ground on turning ninety, you treasure each detail from the past they’re willing to share or magically trickles into their memories.

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