File on Watertown High School
Watertown High School
Class of 1953
OUR SENIOR YEAR, 1953
( From the 1993 40th class reunion )
We started our last year at old Watertown High under clouds of despair. The Korean War was still taking many of our former friends and the draft was still in effect. So for many of us the future was uncertain.
Our summer was filled with the new TV show by Edward Murrow "See It Now". It was the year of the new Presidential candidates. Ike for the Republicans and old Aldai for the Democrats. Mad Comics made its debut and became a runaway hit as it was the first comic to parody every aspect of our American culture.
The fall of 52 was the year to get off our duff. We could now dive into our Vinylite swimming pools, go bowling with automatic pinsetters, cut grass with motorized mowers, go flying saucer watching, lead a panty raid, or spin the propeller on top of our beanie. Then donate to a telethon, down a NO-CAL ginger ale and finish with trying to chew a Swanson TV dinner.
As school started we watched the Yankees defeat the Dodgers and the Detroit Lions win the NFL Title. Joseph McCarthy was finally exposed for what he was, and in the nation as a whole we could report for the first time there was not a LYNCHING in the south. The COLD WAR's flying monster the B-52 was given to us for "First Strike Capability"! In July Truman signed into law what put many of us to school, the "Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act" GI Bill. In Helsinki, Finland; Bob Mathias, Floyd Patterson, and the US Basketball team took golds. John Steinbeck and Ralph Ellison gave us "East of Eden" and "The Invisible Man" respectively.
At the start of our second semester in 53 we saw a new President, "IKE", come in with a vice president named Richard Nixon. John Foster Dulles coined the phrase "Iron Curtain" as the Cold War really got deeper entrenched into our daily lives. We watched the Minneapolis Lakers beat the NY Knicks and Ernest Hemingway win the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for "The Old Man and the Sea". Washington D.C. restaurants were ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court that they could not refuse to serve Negroes.
In Feb. we watched a 17 year old girl from Boston become the first World Skating Champion ever, Tenley Albright. To our fast pace delight the Golden Arches became the symbol of our obsession of eat and run. The Rosenbergs were executed for the selling of atomic secrets to the Soviets. Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier at Edwards AFB in May with a speed of over 760 mph. Marilyn Monroe was found on the cover and the centerfold of a new men's mag, "Playboy," and Otto Preminger released the film "The Moon is Blue" a saucy sex-comedy, which would you believe, had the word "Virgin" used for the first time. My, what was the world coming too! Scrabble game and TV Guide became staples in our homes and 15 million attended baseball games that year while kids read comics with specially designed "glasses" to make the pictures pop out.
We boys were treated to some good news. The Korean War came to an end 3 years, one month and two days after it started. A brand new senator and his bride honey-mooned at Hyannisport!?
So our SENIOR year came to an end. The girls at the country club for their tea and boys on the farm for theirs. Many of us went off to the colleges of our choice, or to the trades we chose, or to serve our country in far off lands. All of us, whatever feelings we had for old Watertown High, were a little scared. We were now on our own. Our decisions would be those of our own making and "WE" alone would now suffer the consequences and take the responsibilities of those decisions.
Here we are 40 years beyond our greatest expectations. Some of our classmates have gone before us to pave the way to tomorrow. Some of us have done what we set out to do. Others are still looking for that one last spark. But wherever we find ourselves on our time line, it must be said of the class of 1953 that we did the best we could and have nothing to be ashamed of for what we left to the world to come. Our mistakes were ours to make and live with. We understood that when we walked across that stage to accept the paper that said to the world we were ready to become part of the process of growing up.
It is my hope that all of you here tonight and those who could not come, believe in the common bond that holds people together. To be a member of this class is to be a member for life and we have all felt the joy and sorrow of each and every one of us throughout the years that have slipped away. It is my prayer that this group will continue to always meet on that special spot on our planet called "WATERTOWN" and remember where we came from and be proud of it forever.
History of Watertown, Wisconsin