High School Memories


Everett Vogel and Neva “Vaustian” Vogel, class of 1930, shared the following information:  Miss Shipp was an unmarried teacher who wore about ten petticoats.  She was very prim and proper.  Everett and Neva dated while attending high school, and Miss Shipp would not allow them to go up or down the same staircase to classes!

Roscoe “Jiggers” Pettengill, who resides in his home on the banks of his beloved Rock River here in Rock Rapids, disclosed the following memories of his high school days while growing up in Rock Rapids:

I attended Rock Rapids High School from 1933 to 1937.  Students were indoctrinated into high school life by two years of junior-high classes which occupied the first floor of the building.  We learned the system of moving from class to class in separate rooms and attending assembly (or study hall) first thing in the morning.  For some it was the start of a career of mischief.  The junior-high principal, I don’t remember her name, thoroughly shocked bystanders when she invaded the boys toilet to drag out several culprits who were shooting off firecrackers in the toilet bowls.  The high school classrooms occupied the second floor.  This was the domain of the high school principal, Mr. Kruwell.  I do not believe that any student under his administration ever forgot his name!

He must have loved rising early in the morning.  He was at “morning school” every day.  Morning school convened at 7:00 a.m. and only students being disciplined attended.  I do not know how many students attended morning school, but I do know lots of us had more than one experience there.  Stories about morning school are a large part of our high school memories.  Being tardy meant attending morning school for sure.  One girl who rode to school with her older brother said she was there most of the time because of her brother’s mischief.  Each of us had assigned desks so Mr. Kruwell could easily check which student was not in his seat on time.

One winter day, the bell was about to ring and my brother, Leon, got the zipper of his overshoe stuck and could not get his foot loose.  He rushed into assembly with one overshoe off and the other flapping as he came down the aisle.  The students laughed, and needless to say, he was assigned to morning school.

Once, my morning school sentence was well worth the fun I had before I got caught.  I had an old brass doorbell, the kind with a clapper that struck against the outside.  I mounted it on a block of wood and sneaked it into my desk.  When the study hall was really quiet and Mr. Kruwell was on the other side of the room, I would reach inside my desk and pull out the clapper and then let it snap back.  The ding of the bell filled the room.  It was great!  I limited myself to one ding and no more than once a week.  Because of my caution, I was never caught in the act, but circumstantial evidence was my downfall.  One afternoon just before school was over,  I hurried to my desk to pull out some books to take home.  With the books came the bell,  and it fell to the floor with a loud ding.  Mr. Kruwell was at my side in an instant.  He said, “I’ve been looking for the bell for months!  I’ll expect you at morning school for one week.”  We thought of him as something of a tyrant during those years, but with maturity, we remember him with respect and affection.

As it was the custom, the junior class was responsible for entertaining the seniors at the annual prom.  I was the class treasurer and had to solicit $2.75 from each junior for this event.  It took many appeals before each class member finally paid.  Cash was not plentiful in those days.  I was also in charge of the decorations which were constructed in the manual training room.  The theme was Dutch.  Our main attraction was a windmill in a bed of tulips.  We were especially proud to watch the lights on the wheel as it slowly turned throughout the evening.  Mrs. Morrison was the class advisor.  Louis Kohl, the manual training teacher, was our technical advisor.

Leon and I walked or rode our bikes back and forth to school and home during the noon hour.  Sometimes Dad would give us a ride back to school after noon .  Mother had to have dinner ready when Leon, myself, and my three sisters came charging in.

When I was sixteen, I was allowed to drive the car occasionally.  When Dad let me take the car to drive some of the football players to out-of-town games, the coach, Hooley Means, paid me two silver dollars.  My dad let me keep the money while he paid for the gas, which incidentally, was getting expensive.  In the early 30’s gas was five gallons for a dollar.

Written by Roscoe Pettengill
Transcribed by Roseanna Zehner

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