The year of 1958 was unique.
The United States had 48 states; in 1959, we’d add two new states: Hawaii and Alaska. A 14-year-old boy by the name of Bobby Fischer won the U.S. Chess Championship. The satellite Sputnik 2 (launched Nov. 3, 1957) disintegrated during re-entry from orbit.
President Eisenhower was in his second term as president. He is responsible for the development of our Interstate Highway System. People were marveling about being able to drive across the United States and not stop for a stoplight. The system was much safer than the two-lane roads.
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Famous singing star Elvis Presley was drafted into the U.S. Army as a private. Pizzas were becoming popular with the opening of a restaurant chain called Pizza Hut. And in Cuba, Fidel Castro took over, as he began to attack Havana. Japan was importing cars named Datsun and Toyota.
With all this going on, the news in Lapel, Indiana, was as it tends to be, not of national or international significance, but important to local residents nonetheless.
The local newspaper reported that Town Marshal Jim Martin talked about car safety inspections. He also warned that dogs in town need to be kept under control. On Sunday evening, May 18, the Methodist Church held baccalaureate services for the seniors. The Lapel High School Girls’ Choir sang “Oh Sing Unto The Lord.”
Commencement exercises also took place on the following Wednesday in the high school gymnasium. The Lapel High School Band played the processional “Pomp and Circumstance.” The invocation was given by the Rev. Oscar Davis of Fishersburg. The Senior Boys Quartet — comprised of Dick Howell, Bob DeNoon, Ted Montgomery and Larry Mills — sang “Halls of Ivy.”
The 1958 LHS Yearbook opens with a dedication page, in memory of Carolyn Elsten. Carolyn would have graduated with this class; however, she died in a tragic accident. Her brother Cricket said, “In 1949, she fell out of a tree and landed on a fence post.”
The teachers for the senior class were Gerald Roudebush, History and Commercial; Evelyn Mousa, English, Music and Dean of Girls; Patricia Graham, French and Social Studies; Jay Beaver, Math and Physics; Hubert Dickson, History and Math; Lucille Rockey, English and Social Studies; Elizabeth Shaul, Commercial; Miles Cramer, History and Industrial Art; Ronald Sheets, Health and Physical Education, Dean of Boys; Evelyn Schmollinger, Home Economics; Gurney Mattingly, Math and Art; Gerald Quinn, Music; Paul Ducker, English and Chemistry; Annabelle Little, Physical Education and Health; and James L. Naden, Science and Math.
The 1958 senior class officers were President Dick Howell, Vice President Larry Galliher, Secretary Suzanne Shetterly, Treasurer Nancy Wise and News Reporter Jane Hiday. Student Council was Delpha Davis and Jack Busby.
There were 54 seniors in the Class of 1958: Anita Andrews, John Barbee, Terry Benefiel, James Devon Boyll, Etta Joyce Burns, Jack A. Busby, William Kirk Cobb, Don Cook, Larry Cunningham, Delpha Sue Davis, Saundra Lou Dempsey, Robert DeNoon, Patricia Ann Fields, Beverly A. Galliher, Larry Galliher, Sherman Eugene George, Darrell Gray, Sharon Kay Guthrie, Marilyn Lynn Haskell, Roberta June Haygood, Elinor Jane Hiday, Dennis Hopper, John Richard Howell, Robert Huffman, Nora Lee Kellams, Marion Elizabeth Koch, Michael Kuhns, Marilyn Joyce Lawson, Raymond McFadden, Melvin Meredith, Judith Lynn Michael, Phillip Michael, Charles Mills, Lary Max Mills, Leland Merle Modlin, Floyd T. Montgomery, David A. Neese, Marjorie Newby, Marvin Passwater, Gilbert Eugene Pettigrew, Patsy Ruth Rittenberry, Suzanne Shetterly, William Douglas Shetterly, Robert Simmerman, Larry Sisson, Gordon Stalker, Malcolm Stinson, Charlotte Taylor, Rebecca Ann Turner, Rebecca Ann Upton, Stanley Earl White, Nancy Lou Wise, Sandra May Wiseman and Donald Witt.
There is an amazing statistic about the Class of 1958. Out of the 54 seniors graduating, 25 were 12-year classmates. There must be lots of long memories for those lucky students.
The senior class play was “A Case of Springtime.” Mrs. Noggle was the director of the play. The senior class prom king and queen were Dick Howell and Suzanne Shetterly. The prince and princess were Jack Busby and Marilyn Haskell. The junior– senior prom was held at the “Stairway To The Stars,” Top Hat.
Lapel High School, through the past years, has always presented a great school band. There were 32 members of the 1958 band. The band officers were President Dick Howell, Vice President George Grace, Treasurer Pat Rushton, Secretary Barbara Wyant and Librarian Wilma Wyant. The majorettes were Sharon Welchel, Joan Forrer, Jane Mills, Joyce Elier (head majorette), Joyce Goul, Connie Daiser and Marianne Belmore.
The year was a tough one for LHS sports. The varsity basketball team finished with a 5-4 record. One of its losses was to Noblesville in overtime. The B team went 6–3.
Wish I still had my 1958 Ford Fairlane today. It would be fun to show off in the car shows. If I remember correctly, it only got about eight miles to the gallon of gasoline.
There was an old saying: “My car can pass everything except a gas station!”