In 1959, television was still in the developmental stage. Most programs were in black and white. TV show “Bonanza” became the first regular show series to be shown in color. “The Twilight Zone” was popular. A cartoon show called “Rocky and Bullwinkle” became popular with the children.
In February of that year, newly formed National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched the satellite Vanguard 2, and later announced its selection of seven military pilots to become the first U.S. astronauts (later known as the Mercury Seven).
What was going on in Lapel in 1959 was much more down to Earth.
Lapel had a golf course and a bowling alley. According to the Lapel Review’s “Bowling Notes” for April 2, 1959, Joan Teeters had the high individual score of 185. Freda Males was second with a 182; Patty Brattain and Edith Hormell followed with a score of 170. The teams with the high scores were Lapel Cleaners, Kluth Insurance and Remley’s Tavern.
“The Lapel Order of Eastern Star installed new officers that Saturday night. Sister Alta Anderson extended greetings to the large crowd present. Officers installed were Worthy Matron Mary Lou Fisher; Worthy Patron Robert “Bud” Fisher; Associate Patron Betty Duganich; Associate Patron Joe Duganich; Secretary Helen Stottlemeyer; Treasurer Betty Smith; Conductress Neva Goul; Associate Conductress Betty Hoover; Chaplain Lela Provence; Marshal Hulda Cox; Organist Betty Acherman; Adah — Dorothy Mears; Ruth — Donna Rockhold; Easter — Martha Lewis; Martha — Bertha Bodenhorn; Electra — Ester Huntzinger; Warder — Gerald Stottlemeyer; Sentinel — Leo Provence; Promptor — Letita Jarrett; Solomon — Joe Swing; Correspondent and Pro. Tem. Iona Heiny,” as listed in The Lapel Review.
The staff at Lapel High School was busy preparing the 1959 Senior Class to face the world.
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The class sponsors were Gerald Roudebush and Evelyn Mousa. That year’s senior class officers were Kenneth Mears, president; Larry Crowder, vice president; Mary Belle Ropp, secretary; and Patricia Rushton, treasurer.
Other ’59 LHS Faculty were Lucille Rockey — English and Social Studies; Elizabeth Shaul — Business Education and Bookkeeping; Don Somers — Math and Science; Fred St. John — Vocational Agriculture and Drivers Education; Paul Ducker — English and Science; Patricia Graham — French and Social Studies; Gurney Mattingly — Art and Math; Evelyn Mousa — English and Music; Sandra Herod — Home Economics; John G. Hurley — Business Education and Physical Education; Marian Noggle — Latin, English and Library; Gerald Quinn — Music; Gerald Roudebush — Administrative Assistant, Business Education, Social Studies and Physical Education; Lucille Armstrong — office secretary; Jay Beaver — Science and Math; Barbara Bohannan — Science and Physical Eduation; Ray Craft — Science and Physical Education; Miles Cramer — Industrial Art and Social Studies; Robert M. Forbes — Principal; and Dale Prough — County Superintendent.
The Senior Class roster included: Robert Eugene Banning, Frank Barbee, Diana Sue Bird, Keith Bronnenberg, Marilyn Kaye Buchhorn, Julie Ann Busby, Nancy Pauline Castor, Robert Edwin Coyle, Larry Crowder, Stephen Eiler, Nancy June Farrell, Hildred Keith Flowers, Ronnie Goodman, George Edward Grace, Nancy Hackleman, Dianna Gayle Hall, Judith Fern Haskell, Bonnie Jean Hutson, Beverly Sue Insko, Joyce Jones, Thomas King, Hayes Merlin Krentz, Robert Lee Light, Jo Anna Lynch, Kenneth Irvin Mears, Ronnie Lewis Michael, Rosemary Carrie Michael, Avis Estel Miller, Arnold Wayne Needler, James Newby, Helen Peterson, Rosetta Poffenbarger, Robert Lee Rhoads, Mary Belle Roop, Barbara Joanne Rumple, Patricia Ann Rushton, Wayne Edward Scott, Iris Faye Starr, Marcia Kay Stoops, Norma Turner, Sharon Kay Weaver, Barbara Diane White, Judith Emily Williams,Dixie Sue Workman and Barbara Carol Wyant.
The 12-year classmates were Barbara White, Barbara Wyant, Beverly Insko, Norma Turner, Sharon Weaver, Nancy Castor, Nancy Hackleman, Avis Miller, Judith Williams and Frank Barbee.
Diane Bird, Ronald Michael and Rosemary Michael transferred from Durbin School.
Keith Bronnenberg, Helen Peterson, Nancy Ferrell and Bonnie Hutson transferred from Jackson School.
The 1959 Lapel “Car Check Queen” was senior Sharon Kay Weaver dressed in her formal attire. The town conducted a parade that included about a dozen law enforcement vehicles, a huge float and the high school marching band.
The king and queen of the Junior–Senior Prom were Nancy Castor and Larry Crowder. “The Music Makers Band” supplied entertainment for the prom.
LHS Seniors were anxiously awaiting on six-day trip to New York City and Washington, D.C. The group was scheduled to board a New York Central train in Anderson. The itinerary called for visiting the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, White House, U.S. Supreme Court Library and Smithsonian Institution.
The 1958-59 LHS varsity basketball team had some problems getting started. They lost their first 10 games of the season. Coach Ray Craft and assistant coach Jack Howell managed to win only three games that season.
On a positive note, “Dancing Under Hawaiian Skies” was a great hit. The prom theme was “Aloha — Oe.” Barbara Rumple sang “Song of the Islands.” Avis Miller and George Grace played “Farewell To Thee.” Betty Belle Roop read “The Prophecy Of The Graduating Class.”
A parting note about 1959: The U.S. Mint changed the penny design from the “wheat penny reverse” to instead reflect the Lincoln Memorial. When was the last time you received a wheat penny in your change? Today, they are a collector’s item.