Sunday, January 08, 2012

1927-28 Girls Basketball Team

Front: Eileen Twamley, Mamie Cleem (Captain), Mae Gamble
Back: Isabelle Fitzpatrick, Verlie Cameron, Fidessa Wilkie, 

Dick Lapp (coach), Leila Davis, Violet Cleem, Fern Fitzpatrick.
[Photo Courtesy:  Kittson County Historical Society via Perm Diamond]
When growing up in St. Vincent, I regularly heard stories told by my mother, father, and grandmother (not to mention other village and county residents) about our hometown.  They ranged from tales of what the town looked like in the past, its businesses, the railroad, the churches, the roads and sidewalks (or lack thereof), to the lives of the residents themselves - their dreams, their families, and yes - their trials and woes.  More often than not, it was the tragedies and disappointments that were remembered.

However, there were also many happy memories shared.
Among them, was a passing reference to my Uncle John being an athlete in high school.  Not a lot to go on, and nothing about the fact that around the same time as John was participating in sports, the entire school had blossomed.  Except for the first years following incorporation and the initial surge of immigration, the time period we're talking about had the highest population.  There was a wide variety of extra curricular activities being offered for a small school, including sports.  I found all of this out many years later.  Even still later, I began finding out details to put on the skeleton of the bare-bone facts.

Recently, I was sent an image of the 1928 Girls Basketball Team from the St. Vincent School.  You can make a fairly safe conclusion, with the inconsistency of design, that the girls are wearing homemade uniforms. But bless them, they did their best.  My guess is that the girls made their own uniforms, at least the appliques - they show an immaturity that their mothers would have overcome had they created them.  It's sweet to see their efforts, though - the students and their community may have been humble, but they had school spirit!

NOTE:  Thanks to Kent Myrick (whose mother is in the above photograph, and who owns a complete, original copy of the 1928 Borderlines school annual), Lori Kohut Bianco (Gamble family descendant and whose great aunt is in the photo), and myself (who has two cousins in the photo), we know exactly WHO is in the photo, but we're still not entirely sure of the ORDER.  The ones we know for sure are the two Fitzpatricks girls (my cousins, one on each end of the back row), Leila Davis (Kent's mother, to the right of the coach), and the coach himself, Richard Lapp.  The other names are not conclusively matched to faces.  Personally, I think the girl second from the left in the back looks like a Twamley, but I could be wrong.  Also, Lori had heard oral family history about her great aunt having round glasses like the one girl does in the photo, at this time, but Kent says other photos showing a Mae Gamble with others doesn't show a girl with glasses.  VERY confusing.  Anyone reading this that can help clarify, I would love to hear from you!
A year later:  College Girl ID photo

St. Vincent Trivia:  My Aunt Pat (Alberta Fitzpatrick)  - who played on the St. Vincent Girls Basketball Team in high school - was in the final graduating class of the St. Vincent school, the Class of 1930.  Although the official consolidation bringing about District 352 didn't happen until the 1950's, evidently in the school year of 1929-30, the majority of the higher grade students began going to Humboldt.  My cousin (Aunt Pat's daughter) said her mother told her that she and three other boys were the only 4 to graduate from the St. Vincent High school in the 'last class' - Alberta, Fred Stranger, a Smith boy, and one other.  All others transferred to Humboldt.  The ones that transferred had to pay a tuition to do so.  The parents of the four students didn't have the money for it. So Alberta wasn't going to finish school. 
One morning she came downstairs and found my grandma (her mother) crying and when Alberta asked Grandma why she was crying Grandma said because I only had a 3rd grade education and you have a chance to graduate and aren't going to be able to do it. So my mother called the boys and asked them if they would be willing to go back to school and they agreed so they showed up in Prof. Good's class. Mom said he was so happy to see them he got tears in his eyes. From what I understand, the Professor made sure these four students graduated that final year...