... and what do YOU remember?
 
Thoughts from
Doris (Maguire) Allen and John W Allen (class of 1941):
Written 11-24-2006:

     Doris grew up in Shrewsbury, lived in the center of town, so she walked to school.  John came from North High School in Worcester during our Junior Year (1940).  He lived in Lakeview and was a bus student.
     In our Sophomore Year (1939) our class was supplemented by students from Coolidge School.  There was such excitement when all those new kids came into our classes!
     There were 82 members of the Class of 1941.  Since it was such a small class, we all knew each other and many lasting friendships were formed.
     Sports teams were few--baseball, crew, football and basketball for the boys and field hockey and basketball for the girls.
     Remember the exciting time in 1940 when the SHS Crew qualified for the National Schooboy Championship Crew Race?  They shipped the shell to New Jersey.  There was a big send-off for them by the town.  The Crew came in second, losing by only one-fifth of a second!  A big "welcome home" celebration was held in the center of the town--we were all so proud of our SHS Crew.
     Records were played in the gym every noon during lunch hour so those who wished to could dance.  We collected pennies at the door in order to buy a NEW record.  We had wonderful times dancing to the popular bands of the 30's and 40's.
     Our music was mellow and smooth.  It was the Big Band Era--Bands like Glenn Miller, Harry James, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. Popular vocalists were Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Vinton, Bing Crosby, Patsy Cline and Judy Garland.
     There was an Open Air Ballroom called "Sun Valley" located where Routes 20 and 9 meet and many of the Big Bands came there.  It was so romantic dancing under the stars.  The Jitterbug was the newest dance!
     All our dances were held in the gym.  We decorated the hall to the hilt and turned a bare gym into a lovely ballroom.
     The theme for the Sophomore Hop (1939) was "The World's Fair".  We built a Trylon and Perisphere and put it in the center of the dance floor.
     The Junior Prom (1940) was the highlight of that year.  The girls wore gowns and the boys wore suits, shirts & ties.  There were no limos.  Very few students owned a car so they borrowed their parents' and there were 4 or 6 people to a car!  There was no "after prom" party--but many of us went to Howard Johnson's for ice cream after the prom.
     Life was simpler then.  News came from newspapers and radio--no T.V. or DVDs.  Movie tickets were .30; gasoline was .11 per gallon; postage stamps were .03 and tuition to Harvard was $420.00 per year!
     Our teachers were a dedicated and caring group.  There were six men and fifteen women teachers.  They all did their best to give us the education we would need when we went out into the "real world".
     We presented "Parents & Pigtails" for our Senior Play (1941).  John Allen had the lead.  On the day of the play he played ice hockey at the Lake and got hit in the forehead with the hockey puck.  What a lump he had.  The "Make-up Crew" did Trojan work in disguising it and no one in the audience (except his parents) realized he had such a "goose egg" on his forehead!
     We were the first class to receive permission to go to Washington, D.C. for our Class Trip.  We took a boat from Providence, R.I to NYC; then the Penn. RR  from NYC to Baltimore where we visited the Naval Academy in Annapolis.  Next we went to Washington and toured the city--what an awesome experience that was!
     We stayed at the Plaza Hotel for two days--and it probably never was the same after we left.
     On the return trip we were on the boat at night and had staterooms that were like a small closet!  Many chose to sleep on deck, wearing a life jacket over their clothes!
     Our Senior Class Advisors, Ernest Tosi and Isabelle Forsyth, were also two of the Chaperones on our Class Trip.  When God looked down on them from heaven and saw all they had to put up with--he made them SAINTS!
     We all made plans for "after graduation"--find a job (jobs were scarce), work with our father, go to college or business school, etc.  Some got started but on Dec. 7,1941 all plans were changed. We were in World War II.  The boys joined the military (some of the girls, too); many were wounded and some were killed on the battlefields of Europe and the Pacific.
     On the "Home Front" we saved string and aluminum foil for the war
effort.  Gas was rationed and we had ration stamps for sugar, meat and butter.  We all had black-out curtains and an Air Raid Warden to monitor the town.
     The war ended in 1945.  The men and women who returned to Shrewsbury were no longer the boys and girls who left in 1941.  They were American G.I.s--Veterans--heroes, every single one.
     Many were able to attend college because of the G.I. Bill; others went to work and some even got married and started a family.
     John and I were married in 1944 whle he was still in the Service.  After his discharge, he went back to Clark University.  I went to Becker Business College nights and worked days.  We were lucky to find an apartment on May Street near Clark.
     After retirement many of us went to Florida for the winter so we got together for a "mini" class reunion.  It was a wonderful way to keep in touch between the "regular 5-year interval reunions".  We have kept in touch with many classmates over the years and value their
friendships to this day.
Doris & John Allen ('4l)

When Did SHS "Colonials" change from "Indians"?
     Back in the 1930's, Fred Pope, Class of 1939, was a student and a very talented artist and cartoonist.  He made outstanding cartoons for the Major Howard Beal High School newspaper.  In these cartoons, the Shrewsbury teams were always depicted as the "INDIANS".  The nickname for the Shrewsbury teams became the "Indians" because of this.
     A few years later, Al Banks, cartoonist for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, started producing very colorful names for the various teams in Worcester County.  The name he chose for the Shrewsbury teams was the "COLONIALS".  The sports writers quickly took up this name in their writeups on Shrewsbury sports and thus the "offical" name became the "Colonials" because of Al Banks' great cartoons.
     Fred Pope went on to become a minister.
Irving James (Jim) Donahue, Jr. - SHS 1940 
 
Have the school colors ALWAYS been Blue & Gold?
     We believe that it was sometime in 1938 when Harold Daniels, a member of the Shrewsbury School Committee, stood before a general assembly held in the gymnasium of Major Howard Beal High School and suggested a change in school colors.  The SHS colors at that time were Green & White.  Harold showed samples of the present Green & White colored jerseys alongside the brightly colored Blue & Gold samples.  The reason for the suggested change was to present a more colorful image for the great sports teams, cheerleaders, bands and other school events.  The Blue was a royal blue and the Gold was a bright yellow gold.  The members of the assembly showed great enthusiasm for the new more colorful image that would be projected.  The students and faculty unanimously voted to change the school colors as suggested.
     Some SHS sports teams of today have changed the original colors to drab blue-black and oxidized gold which is away from the original intent of the brighter more colorful school colors.
Irving James (Jim) Donahue, Jr. - SHS 1940
 
Remember When.....    
     Rafaella Lorito - SHS 1938 - has used the last of our 50th reunion funds to enroll me in the SHS Alumni Association for a year.  Thank you Rae!  I now have a Blue and Gold Card, but I can remember when the school colors were green and white.  I was told the colors became blue and gold, the Hickey racing colors, after the extended Hickey-Ward family made a substantial gift to the school athletic fund some time during the Great Depression.
     My father, Ernest A. Larrabee, became principal of the Ward School in 1925 on the recommendation of a fellow Mason, Merle A. Sturtevant, Superintendant of Shrewsbury Schools.  As he explained to my father, "I have a bunch of married women teachers there, and I can't make one principal because all the others would be jealous.  If I bring you in from outside it will be alright."  And it was.  My father had only a mechanical engineering degree from Tufts University but he had extensive experience in teaching gymnastics and was willing to meet his largely Italian-American students half way.
     My family lived on the other side of town at South Street, opposite the Hickey Leather Factory, which was already beginning to sag alarmingly.  We rented the top floor of a farm house from Ella Maynard, who was a wealthy woman by the standards of the time.  When we first moved in, there was an old barn nearby which I was forbidden to enter because I might fall through its rotten floor.  Somewhat later its rock-hard oak timbers, held together with wooden pegs, defied destruction at the hands of carpenters.
     One of my father's school teacher friends, Gladys Church and her husband, Lucian Church, lived on the first floor for awile.  After they moved out the Layden family and their children, Joseph, Mary and Frederick, moved in.  Mary is another member of the class of 1938.  Freddie and I played in the back yard.  Later we both learned to ride Joe's bicycle after I repaired it with the help of my father's extensive assortment of tools.
     In those days there were three places to go ice skating - McGrail's pond, opposite Jensen's Dairy, Dean Park Pond and Hickey's pond.  There were even lights at Hickey's so you could skate at night!  Eventually the lights were destroyed by vandals.
     When Lindbergh flew to Paris in 1927 it made a deep impression on my mother.  As a skilled seamstress and milliner, she outfitted me in an aviator's costume so I could sit on a horse-drawn float with a bunch of other kids dressed as doctors, nurses, farmers and lawyers in a procession to celebrate the town's tercentenary.
     The decorated wagon carried the legend, "The Vision".  They let me hold someone else's nice biplane model so that my hoped-for-role would be clear.  Howard Allen was to be a doctor.  The horse and wagon came from Harold Holland's farm.  True to "The Vision", and partly because of the marvellous resources of the Shrewsbury Public Library, I bacame hooked on aviation and spent my professional life in it.
     My old house on South Street sill stands, as does the house on Bruce Avenue, where I lived from 1935 to 1942.  Janet (Logan) Shea can probably remember me flying model airplanes in the then open field beyound our houses during the late 1930's.  The Ward School is gone, absorbed into Building 19/Spags. 
     As a fan of Garrison Keillor's, I look back on Shrewsbury as a kind of superior Lake Wobegon, "where all the women are strong, and all the children above average."  Although I now live in the Los Angeles basin, I watch "This Old House" on KCET and listen to Norm so as not to lose my New England accent, as if I ever could.
     I'm supposed to be helping a friend write a book about the history of airplane stability and contol these days, so I better get back to it.. but it's been nice to rerun my old memories to write this.  Remember when they opened Route 9 in 1932 with rye grass, two feet high in the center divider, to prepare it to take grass seed next year?  Do you remember when Main Street - Maple Avenue stopped being Route 20 and shifted itself to the "Auburn Cutoff", also known as the "death pike" because of its three lane pattern?
E. Eugene Larrabee - SHS 1938
Written 12-6-1994

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