Nancy Harris Interview
From: Nancy Harris (nh) Medium: Audio tape Date: Sunday May 8, 2011 Place: Home of Nancy Harris, on Briarwood Drive in Marion, Indiana 46952 Collected by: Kiki Fauser (kf) Transcript
Nancy: (laughing) Hi, I'm Nancy Harris. I'm Kristin Fauser's grandmother, and I have given her permission to ask me questions about my years at high school. We are talking in my living room on Briarwood in Marion.
Kiki: Okay, how many years did you attend MHS?
Nancy: I attended for three years. I had gone to Martin Boots Junior High and then I went to Marion High School on Nelson Street.
Kiki: Um, what were the years you attended there?
Nancy: 1954, 1955, and 1956. Kiki: Okay, um where were you living at the time? Nancy: I lived with my mother and father on 6th street, a couple blocks from the Marion Library.
Kiki: Okay and what was your family life like?
Nancy: Well, I was the only child and my mother and father owned Jeffery's Market on the corner of 6th and Nebraska and we lived a couple houses east of there.
Kiki: Okay, ummm what were some activities that you did both inside and outside of school?
Nancy: My family belonged to the First United Methodist Church and I was in the youth group there. And then in high school I was in the science club, the Latin club, uh the booster club, which was very big back in that time, and we had a very good basketball team and the booster club had about 200 people in it.
Kiki: Do you have a picture there you can show, of the booster club?
Nancy: I do. Okay, this is the booster club, and we all wore, well the seniors wore senior skirts, which I also have my senior skirt, and we wore white sweaters, we wore white gloves to do had motions during the ball game.
Kiki: Did you spell things out with them?
Nancy: Oh yes, or we would make an M in the middle with of, you know, with kids standing up.
Kiki: Did you have to go to like rehearsal and practice and stuff?
Nancy: Oh sure, that was a big thing.
Kiki: It was?
Nancy: (laughing) Yes, but we had a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun. And in my senior year the cheerleaders were: Sue Mcdaniel, Judy Kilgore, Marline Bandlemark, Biggie Walton, and Sharon Wayburg.
Kiki: So, how does it tell the amount of boys and girls in the booster club?
Nancy: There were 171 girls and 21 boys.
Kiki: And um can you show the uhh, she has her senior skirt, so can you...
Nancy: Oh yes. This is my senior skirt, 1956. And on the back is the Marion Giant. Well, that's written down here, can you see the giant kiki?
Nancy: On the front is a cartoon character, Jeff. When I was younger cartoons were..this was Mutton Jeff. And everybody called me jeff in high school because my last name was Jeffery. That was long before everyone used it as a first name. Then when I had a son, I named him Jeffery, and now there's lots of Jeffery's. (laughing)
Kiki: Um, do you have a favorite class or a favorite teacher that you remember?
Nancy: I liked Miss Avaline, I had her for Alegbra and Geometry I believe. She was a nice lady.
Kiki: Okay um, what was some significant life events that took place during this time period?
Nancy: During my senior year...But you know, of course adjusting to high school is some traumatic event for kids but I very much..it was a big adjustment..but I so enjoyed my senior year..my high school years. We had a lot of fun back in the 50s. And like after school we would go to the Y which is now the old Y and we danced a lot.
Nancy: That was fun. We would go down to the Y after school or in the evenings and they had a big jut box and we played different records. So that was a lot of fun.
Kiki: Um, would you like to talk about the tornado?
Nancy: Yes, in March the 6th on my senior year, the tornado went through and tore the high school down which was very traumatic and of course we lived fairly close. And because of that we had to move and take…go half days at Martin Boots. So that was an adjustment..and here's some pictures sweetie of the high school before and after the tornado. So that was..they were never able to revamp that.
Kiki: Here let me bring that closer to the...it's kind of hard to see.
Nancy: Is it?
Kiki: Um soo.
Nancy: Also Kiki, when I was in high school, like I said we lived on 6th street..and very few of us drove or had cars and I would walk morning from to the, 6th street to the high school, then I'd go home at lunch, and walk back. We walked to school all the time, very few of us..well we drove..but we didn't have access to cars. And one of the fun things we did, in the evenings or weekends, we would go to Custer's Last Stand. That was kind of the hangout. You go out and get onion rings and cherry cokes and all those fun things. And we would sit and visit. The drive in had uh outdoor speakers, that you would call in your orders you know and then we would all talk from one car to the next. And that was one of our main forms of entertainment, that and the Y.
Kiki: And was, did you guys go to the movie theaters?
Nancy: Yes we did, we had drive in theaters back then. And we also had, I think there were four theaters downtown. (coughing) Excuse me. They had the Indiana and Paramount Theatre and at the Paramount Theatre my friend's father was the manager and we would get to go down there and see movies for free because at that time I think they cost 35 cents. (Laughing)
Kiki: A whole 35 cents?
Nancy: And there were 2 other theaters. So that was a lot of fun to go to the theaters. On the weekends, my friend and I cleaned houses and we would get our allowances and we would go down town. That was when they had all kinds of stores.
Kiki: It was popular?
Nancy: Yes, all around the square. And there was one uh drug store. It was called Freemason, so that was another big thing we did on Saturday, we got to go to Freemason, take our allowance and have lunch. Then we would go to the Paris and Rescinds..different dress stores, just looking, having fun, because then we would run into our other friends and get to visit. Excuse me. (laughing) So that was a fun thing to do. There was so much activity downtown back in those years. And we could walk places, and of course since I lived close to the library, I was only a couple blocks from the library, you know, that was easy to go to the library and study. Ew did I fade out? (laughing and coughing) Excuse me.
Kiki: Okay umm, did you work when you were in high school?
Nancy: I would help mother and daddy's grocery.
Kiki: Would you like to talk about the grocery a little bit?
Nancy: It was just a neighbor hood grocery, it wasn't very big. And uh because there again, a lot of people would walk to the grocery, you know?
Nancy: Mothers and so forth, and just get enough for a day or two worth of groceries, instead of doing a lot.
Kiki: And where was this located?
Nancy: It was at the 6th and Nebraska Street. It was called Jeffery's Market.
Kiki: Was it right next to your house?
Nancy: It was two doors away.
Kiki: Um, how were your classes do you think? Like how many people were in them.
Nancy: Maybe 25 I would guess, not real big.
Kiki: How big was your class all together, do you think?
Nancy: I think it was over maybe 450. I don't know for sure. We could count it here. (laughing) I don't know, but there's quite a few pages.
Nancy: It might be closer to 5...I don't really remember for sure.
Kiki: How would you compare Marion High School, or just Marion itself, from now to when you were in high school?
Nancy: I think because of communications and automobiles, well of course there were automobiles..I don't mean that, but there was more communications between..it's getting dark (laughing)..between people. Of course, you communicate, I understand now, with text message and all that, but this was more of a personal..we spent a lot of time out on our porches, let's say, and people would walk over and visit, and friends would walk over, and we just had a lot of fun sitting out on the swing visiting, we weren't able to go as much as you kids now.
Kiki: Do you, I know you don't see the high school now, but is there anything back then within the high school that you could compare to now?
Nancy: Well there were not the concerns for security for one thing, bullying, well I'm sure there were small incidents but nothing to the extent that there is in this day and age, which concerns me, I think that's kind of sad. But of course back then, they could have used more discipline, but it didn't have to be to an extreme, you know?
Kiki: Yeah. Um, what was your greater difficulty within the high school?
Nancy: The main thing, as I related earlier, I think was going to a much larger high school, or a much larger school, and adjusting, finding my room, all that. But other than that, once I got acclimated, and you know, met people it was great. I really enjoyed it.
Kiki: Was there the different groups like now, like you have your jocks, and you have your different groups of people or was it pretty spread out?
Nancy: You mean did they...
Kiki: Like social..
Nancy: Socially, everybody kind of interacted. So there wasn't as much of that. We kind of all just interacted.
Kiki: MM, also for difficulty, you mentioned this already, but how you had to go half days to a different school because of the tornado.
Nancy: Well actually, as I remember, we were all kind of excited, that we only had to go half day. (laughing)
Kiki: So that wasn't too much of a..
Nancy: HALF DAY! And that was, walking distance was closer for me.
Kiki: To the...what was the other school.
Nancy: We went back to Martin Boots, which was a junior high, and we only had to go half days..and I know, we know we were familiar most of us with the school so that, it wasn't uh you know...at 18 that was kind of fun that we only had to go to school for a half day, so there wasn't a big adjustment there. (laughing)
Kiki: Okay, what was one of your most memorable experience or experiences?
Nancy: One of the most fun things I had, back then we had a uh program called the Easter Parade and it was held down at the Coliseum, and uh, it was always you know in the spring of the year. I have a picture here of some of them. And in my junior year, I was cho.., they had a the senior had to be, or the Queen had to be a senior. The rest were juniors and sophomore and I was selected in my senior year and that was a real fun experience, it was a big. Back in those years, the Coliseum as they were trying to revamp it now, was used for many activities like uh, the Easter parade, the Easter Pageant. Some of my friends and I were in the Easter Pageant that they were trying to bring back. So that was, that was a big event, we didn't, oh we had proms, but we didn't get dressed up that much for different things. So that was really a lot of fun, and we had a dance with that so. But the dresses have changed a little bit...
Kiki: The style?
Nancy: It's dark, it's dark (laughing) As I was saying the dresses have changed a little since then, I don't know if you would be interested in them or not. Of course we thought they were pretty fancy back then. (laughing) In fact, Kiki I've got a picture here in the corner, Im standing with two friends in my senior skirt. Can you see it?
Nancy: Okay, okay. Im trying to think of some of the other memories. We just, we had a lot of fun. I don't think there were the pressures that some of you children have in this day in age. It was just less stressful... Kiki: Were there advanced classes, like we have now? Nancy: Well there weren't, no, but they had the national honors society back then.
Kiki: Which you were involved with, right?
Kiki: And what did you do within the Latin Club and different things like that, like what kind of things did you do?
Kiki: If you can remember?
Nancy: I'm trying to think. I just remember going to group meetings. Um, gosh, you're checking my memory. (laughing) Maybe if I go through some of this you'd remember. They were just organized groups, as I'm sure, don't you kids have that now?
Kiki: Yeah. Okay and ummm one of the last things is what you did for fun, but you mentioned a lot of that already.
Nancy: Yes, and you know, it didn't seem like back then that girls were, and especially me who isn't that athletic were involved in...dance groups or things like that, there were that, like I took tap as a little girl, but once we got into school it wasn't quite as big, but I think that's great you have all the activities like that, so uh I think we had more of a laid back life.
Nancy: Yeah, It's kind of neat that you have opportunities that you do today but reflecting back on my years, I was, I had friends, Nana Ninums was one of my good friends, you've probably heard of Ninums, and um Karen Kizer, friends that I have remained close to over the years, although were spread, and there's not that many left around here, there's probably half a dozen. And we get together like once a month.
Kiki: And do you have a reunion coming up soon?
Nancy: Yes I have a 55th class reunion in August, I believe.
Kiki: Well thank you so much.
Nancy: You're Welcome, sweetheart.