This page by Linda Rae (Watson) Silbaugh
The 'good old days' at Blacklick Township High School
Ah, the memories are flooding back......Miss Parrish, our marvelous math teacher. Algebra, geometry, trig....she managed to get us through it all. Mr. Smith....forever searching the halls for "girls" and "boys." The football and basketball jackets the guys let their girlfriends wear (for as long as they were their girlfriends). And the band jackets. Why were they always so big? Were we hoping to grow into them? Earning a "letter' was certainly a big deal in those days, wasn't it? The senior class plays, the fashion shows (Mrs. Blackman was sooo cool), and the "talent shows." Spanish class and Latin class. Did anybody actually learn Latin? How about Spanish? Yo no se! Thank you, Mr. Monahan. The school paper. Now, that was a publication! Remember how embarrassing some of those pictures were?
Eating lunches in the shade of those beautiful trees on the front lawn of the high school when the weather cooperated. Hanging out by the radiator in the front hall when it didn't. How about those "field trips" we went on for Mr. McCann's class. Down Red Mill Road....collecting specimens. Flowers, bugs, frogs...I forget, what? Gym class. Volleyball. Tumbling. Dancing...ugh, the tango no less. Softball games in the spring. Those dreaded white shorts we had to wear. The fire alarm that seemed to go off at the most inappropriate times. We never had a fire, did we? Lots of practice though. Just in case.
And the big senior class trips to Washington D.C. I guess we all know that seniors go to Florida and Jamaica and wonderful places like that now. We thought D.C. was wonderful back then, and I guess it was. We sure managed to have fun. First time away from home for a lot of us. Selling submarine sandwiches to make money to pay for the trip. Ummmmm! They were sure good. Do you think we could have made and sold enough of 'em to get us to Florida back then? Probably not. Almost forgot our class rings. Got them when we were juniors. Weren't we something? Flashy gold rings with our initials on them. I still have mine. Wouldn't give it up for anything.
Oh, the May queens. Such beauties we had at Blacklick. The proms.....complete with kings and queens and all the queen's court. Always the prettiest girls, always the most popular. And all the king's men? How come we didn't have a king's court...or "footmen" or something? And the crepe paper decorations.....remember streamers? Do they use that stuff now? I think not, but who knows? How come our queens didn't ride in convertibles for the Memorial Day parade. Or did they? Did anyone in town have a convertible? Seems to me most of us were considered lucky if we just had a car....any car would do. Loud mufflers....glass packs.
The football games. Great cheerleaders. Fans wearing cheap t shirts made to boas pride for the team. Halftime and Mrs. Taylor's wonderfully choreographed band presentation complete with prancing, dancing, twirling (ok, ok, these are my memories...maybe you saw it differently) majorettes. Anybody remember how very, very long the majorette's uniform skirts were? Seems they got shorter and shorter as the time passed and now they are barely (no pun intended) there. Same with the cheerleader's uniforms. The band....did we know anything besides "Down Main Street?" Played it every Memorial Day for the big parade through Belsano. The programs at each of the cemeteries. All the pretty flowers, the solemn music and the big "bang" from the guns saluting the veterans. Everyone jumped....even when you were expecting it. You just couldn't help yourself.
The basketball games in the old rickety gym. I thought those bleachers would collapse with all the stomping but they never did. How serious we were. Win! Win! Win! Great cheerleaders again. So we were a small school.....we made up for it with determination and spirit. I can't remember. Did we win many games? Were we pretty good? How did we manage to get enough guys to make up a team? We were lucky if there were 80 or so students there at any given time. Half boys? That cuts us down to 40....20 of them were freshmen and sophomores....young and inexperienced. 20 guys left. I guess Coach McKivigan did a pretty good job. Remember Sam Lloyd? Always to be found in the furnace room. Always a friend...a man who cared about us.
And when we weren't in school. Always something to do, someplace to go. Ceese's in Twin Rocks. The place to see and be seen. Such a bunch of good dancers we were on that tiny, little dance floor! And could we talk, and talk and talk? What in heaven's name did we have to talk about for hours on end? Oh, yes, the dances at the Miner's Hall in Nanty Glo. "Blue Velvet" comes to mind. Remember when they had "street" dances at Shutack's custard stand in Belsano? The pin ball machines at the Pinehurst Restaurant? And the skating bus every Saturday night. Remember Mrs. Cicero playing the organ on special occasions? The crystal ball....New Years Eve. The "couples" skates. The cute little pom - poms all the girls made for their skates....oh well, simpler times.
As I sift through all these memories...each leading me off in another direction......I realize how much I miss the "good old days" at Blacklick Township High School in the '60's. We were family. The kids at Blacklick were family and I miss knowing my classmates and friends. Good times. Gone forever but the memories are oh so sweet. I loved it all. Who would ever have guessed?
Linda Rae (Watson) Silbaugh
PHOTO: Some of the talent from the 1959 Blacklick Township High School High Varieties Show: Helen Sleboda, Mike Shutak, Dayle Stang, Jon Kennedy, Donald Maniccia, and Enos Silbaugh.
Linda Rae (Watson) Silbaugh moved to Belsano from Revloc with her parents and grandparents when she was three years old. She went through all 12 years of public schooling in the Blacklick Township system. She's married to Enos Silbaugh (BTHS '60), and they have two children and "one absolutely adorable two-year-old grandson," and they reside in Murphy, NC.
© Jon Kennedy 1998