The Junior Class Carnival (and Other Important High School Activities)

One year my father was the junior class sponsor for the local high school. One of the fund-raisers for the junior class was the fall Carnival held in the old gym. That’s the one in the picture. It was built in the early 20s if memory serves. Not that I was there when it was built, but… you get it, right?

I loved the old gym. It had atmosphere. It had an old-fashioned scoreboard with an actual clock to keep time. The new one was so different and modern. I think it was opened in 1957, maybe ’58, but it was so big compared to the old gym. My dad coached the junior high basketball team in the late ’50s. I think he might have coached some of the players from the ’58-’59 team that went through the season undefeated. Those guys were heroes to me, and I wanted to play basketball for the Hornets when I grew up. Unfortunately, they lost to Centralia in the regional final. That was back in the days of the one-class basketball tournament and the small schools didn’t have much of a chance against the large schools, but they did defeat Salem. I wonder how far that team would have advanced in today’s tournament setup. Pre-COVID, that is.

I should thank Dolores Ford Mobley and Gladys Corrie See for maintaining the Kinmundy Historical Society site. ttp:// I reference the school yearbook often along with the interesting photos of old Kinmundy.

I don’t remember how many times I attended, or snuck into, the Carnival, but I remember one year more than others. I was a bit older now, and was allowed to stay longer. I loved the games and remember one in particular. There were balloons and you threw darts at them. My aim was particularly good that night, and I popped more balloons than anyone in the history of the Carnival. Maybe just a slight exaggeration there. If I won a prize, I don’t remember it, but I was enjoying myself. I probably stuffed myself on candy and pop or whatever refreshments were available.

I know the older kids – high school students – were focused on the dance and the Carnival Court. I doubt if I was allowed to stay for the dance or the crowning of the new King and Queen. For some inexplicable reason, the junior class candidates always seemed to win and would be crowned king and queen of the Carnival. A coincidence? I think not. The voting must have been rigged. Oh, well, I guess some things never change.

One thing about the school yearbooks has always puzzled me. Oh, my dad was the faculty yearbook (or annual, as they were called back in the day) sponsor for a few years, and I would get to attend the meetings occasionally. The meetings were held in one of the basement classrooms – the typing room perhaps? My memory is a little fuzzy – and I got to hang out with the big kids and run up and down the stairs. Anyway, I have always been astonished by how much older and mature seniors look in yearbooks of the ’40s and ’50s. Why is that? They were seventeen or eighteen-year-old kids just like the graduates of today. Was it just the fashions or hairstyles of the day? Was it due to the black and white photos? It’s a mystery to me. Maybe someday the answer will be revealed, but for now I gotta go. They just opened the free throw shooting contest, and I’m going to win it. I’m going to make more free throws than Bud, Garry, David, Chuck, Quentin and my other heroes from the basketball team.

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