Bay Recreation dances, 1946-47

Students gather for a photo during a formal dance in the Community House in 1948.

I found a letter in some of my dad’s papers. It is a report by the chairman, my dad, J. Ross Rothaermel, of the Youth Dance Committee for the school year of 1946-47.

My folks volunteered to lead the Recreation Youth Dance Committee for the Bay Recreation Department in 1946. The recreation department offered dances in the Community House, for the high school students during the school year. Dances were held on Friday nights, often after a game. The high school students looked forward to the dances and they were well attended.

The year my dad and mom volunteered, Dad had the idea of including some of the high school students in the planning. “Afterall, the dances are held for the students and if they help plan them they can’t complain that we don’t run the dances to suit them,” he said. Dad formed the following committee for the year 1946-47: seniors Madelon Herdtner and Peter Wolf, juniors Charlotte Thompson and Tom Larson, sophomores Sally Irwin and Art Hook and freshmen Janet Smith and Roger Alexander.

The new committee proved to be very helpful. The committee decided they didn’t want to refer to the dances as “Rec” dances, so another new idea that year was to give each dance a name. They selected the dance records and trimmed the Community House for each dance. Each dance was run as a separate party. The committee also helped publicize each dance by advertising the dances on the blackboards in the home rooms and making posters for the bulletin boards in the halls.

The following dances were held: The Autumn Whirl, Halloween Party, Kandy Kane Kapers, Bubble Bounce, Cupid’s Capers, Lady Shamrock Shuffle, April no dance, Easter Weekend and the Spring Fever Semi-formal.

Twelve dozen balloons were blown up, lucky numbered shamrocks were handed out at the door with door prizes on them, and for the semi-formal, my mom with some help from one of the chaperones, made 100 corsages with yellow jonquils and green ribbons. Each girl was presented with a corsage as she arrived at the dance. 

Besides Mom and Dad, two other groups of parents from each class chaperoned the dances. Refreshments were served, selected by the students. James O’Neil supplied the cola. He trucked the Coke in and returned the empties in his truck after each dance.

Dad ends his letter to the Recreation Board with, “It would be nice if the committee had a budget and let the students spend it the way they wanted. Spend the money on door prizes rather than an orchestra when the students would rather play records.” My folks then say how much they enjoyed chaperoning the dances and how well behaved the students were. It made their job easy. 

Dad and Mom continued on through the summer with the new idea of summer dances, again with a student committee. This was an experiment to see if the students were interested during the summer months. I don’t know how that turned out.

My sister Gay and I got dragged along to many of these dances. Truly, we loved going. Today, I feel I know the students who graduated around this time better than the ones who came after. There was so little to do in Bay at the time, this was a "big deal" as you would say today. 

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Volume 9, Issue 23, Posted 10:32 AM, 12.05.2017