Saturday, August 26, 2017

Family Search 52 Stories Week 29

This week's writing prompt:

What sports or other extracurricular activities were you involved in?

As a young girl I was always interested in dance lessons, but there never seemed to be any extra money for me to take them. I got to live vicariously through my friend across the street, Sherry Coon, as her mom invited me to Sherry's recitals. It was also through Mrs. Coon that I became a Brownie and Junior Girl Scout.

When I was in 7th grade I joined a girls' softball team with some classmates at Holy Trinity. We were the Carnations. All of the teams in the league were named for flowers, and I thought that was stupid and sexist even back then. Since I wasn't the coach's kid, or even a friend of the coach's kid, I got stuck out in right field.  I hated every minute of it. I'd been playing baseball with my brother and the neighborhood boys for years, so I understood the meaning of being placed in the outfield. It was hard for me to adjust to the larger, softer ball and wider bat. I did okay, I guess, but only stuck with the team for a couple of years.

Hooverettes junior year
When I got to high school (which at Hoover High was only 10th-12th grades) I tried out for the Hooverettes, a precision drill team run by an ex-military guy. Out of 72 candidates, only 17 of us made the team. Mr. J. conducted weekly weigh-ins, and if you were an ounce over your recommended weight, you didn't get to march that week. Fortunately weight was not an issue for me back then. One of his other requirements was that you could not participate in any other school activities. There were a lot of rehearsals before school, and we marched at every football and basketball game, as well as various parades throughout the year.

Normally the parades were in Des Moines or nearby towns such as Pella for the Tulip Festival. But when our band was selected to march in the Cherry Blossom Parade in Washington, DC, that was a huge thrill. Due to expenses, only two sophomore Hooverettes were allowed to go, and that was as alternates in case one of the junior or senior girls couldn't march. All the sophomore names were thrown in a hat, and mine was one of the two drawn. Diane Howdle was the second, so we ended up as roommates in the DC hotel. It was my first time flying on a plane, as well as my first time in the nation's capital. Neither of us got to be in the parade, instead following along the route with numerous cameras taking pictures for those who were marching. When we were returning to Des Moines, there was a blizzard and we were stranded in Chicago for a day. From April 8-10, Des Moines received 14" of snow. We ultimately made it back home. It was quite a trip.
Cherry Blossom Parade 1973

At the end of my junior year our school sponsor quit and we were told the Hooverettes were disbanding. Later on, another sponsor took over but by then I had it in my head to try other activities my senior year. I helped with student council, was a track clerk, and got involved in the theater department - both on stage and behind the scenes. My senior year I was also a Voter Registrar as I had turned 18 in October. I was enlisted to help register other students so they could vote in the 1974 presidential election. I also went throughout my neighborhood registering voters. In retrospect, I'm glad I branched out senior year and got involved in other things as it gave me a chance to meet many other students in the school.
The Miracle Worker                                  voter registrars

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