The first (and last?) Autumn Festival

I believe we had our first and only Autumn Festival in our Senior year. Instead of Homecoming, which, of course, was impossible at that point, we had an "Autumn Festival." That way we could have a queen (Martha Schweich), a king (Bill Devaney) and a formal dance. We didn't have any lights on the football field so it was an afternoon game, a Friday as I recall. We played Burroughs (China Lake). Somewhere in the second half, it began to rain and rain hard; I think we even had some hail or sleet.

I got out of this mess and into the gym. Well, the rain was coming down so hard that the cul de sac in front of the Gym became a lake which eventually overran the curbs and the flood waters came into the lobby. Being a basketball player I was quite concerned for the brand new wood floor, so I went to the boys' and girls' locker rooms and got the big dirty towel baskets. I rolled them down to the lobby and began stuffing towels anywhere there was water trying to get in. I think Coach Rand was there as well.

As this was happening, I saw a couple (or at least one) of the princesses from the court, wading across the pond in front of the gym. Someone had driven down into the cul de sac to pick her up. It was Jean Dahlitz as I remember it and of course she had on a formal. She ended up falling into one of the drains that had the cover off. She went in up to her waist. At this time there was still a lot of uncompleted construction around which is why the drains may have not been working up to snuff and why the cover was off one of them.

The floor didn't get wet, but Jean sure did.

P.S. there are some pictures of the half-time game festivities in the yearbook.

Mike Gray, 1959


I'm not sure it was the same day, but I remember the cul de sac being flooded and Carl Martin driving into it in his electric blue '39 Ford. The Ford had a lot of ground clearance, but the water was deeper.

I was riding shotgun and there were a couple of other folks in the back seat, perhaps Tom Newbon and Jim Irving. That part gets hazy.

The part that isn't hazy is that the Ford stalled and would not start again. The water was coming up through the floorboards. There was little to do but jump out and push, but I had my dancin' shoes on and they weren't suited to slogging through the water. I think I took them off and pushed in my stocking feet.

Generously, Carl stayed with the car and steered.

Bill MacKenzie, 1959


How YOU can add comments to this (or another) page.