Annual Thanksgiving football game between Webb City and Carthage at Hatten Field in 1949.

Ancestors, Legends & Time

THANKS to LIVING in Webb City

Jeanne Newby

I remember attending Westside School and feeling safe taking a shortcut home down an alley for my hour-long lunch. I have fond memories of attending the old Eugene Field School (on Fourth Street). We enjoyed May Days and remember Mr. Myers, the janitor who sliced our apples? I remember the old Webb City High School on Broadway, the drill teams, and the janitors, Mr. Baker and his son Billy. Does anyone remember the airplane? 

Shirley Riggs Bunch

We had a dance every other Friday night after home games. They were in the gym at the “old” high school. Everyone brought their 45s and took their turn at playing disc-jockey! Parents chaperoned the dances. All the girls wanted my daddy, Waggie, to chaperone every time because he was Webb City’s answer to Fred Astaire. He danced with all the girls there and made the least of us feel like Ginger Rodgers for the evening. 

Marty Blankenship

I attended the old Eugene Field School. In later years, I was the one who got to tear down the school and replaced it with duplexes. 

Fred (Fritz) Rogers

I attended the 5th and 6th grades at the old Eugene Field School that was located at 4th and Oronogo Street. Does anyone remember being a school boy patrol who stopped traffic to help kids get across the street? 

John W. Powell

Marbles were a popular game. Before school and at recess, the graveled playgrounds were covered with urchins down on their knees shooting “doojies for keeps.” 

Jerry Pryor

Teachers were treated with respect. If you got in trouble at school, you didn’t run home to tattle to Mom or Dad because if you did, you usually got into twice as much trouble as you had at school. And teachers cared about you even after the school bell dismissed you for the day. Many teachers paid personal visits to homes to learn more about the student. We even had teachers over for dinner. And neighbors came over for dinner. 

Wanda Sykes

I remember pep rallies in the school auditorium. Such enthusiasm! Surely we couldn’t lose. I remember running out on the field after winning a game to congratulate the players… one in particular! We had the greatest school dances, dancing to the greatest music ever and doing the jitterbug! 

Shirley Farrell Hickam

We had free dances (Junior high school, Senior high school and sometimes all-school) in the gym of the old high school after most basketball games as well as on special occasions. During the World Series, we could bring portable (transistor) radios to school and listen in class. And we had the freedom to ride almost anywhere on a bicycle without fear or concern. 

Bob Chancellor

A few of my friends recalled some fun memories of the sixties in high school, do you recall the long chains made from gum wrappers? How about the “spirit sticks” for cheering the loudest during the football game, you had to carry that spirit stick wherever you went, if you were caught without it, you lost the spirit stick. If you successfully held on to the spirit stick, you were able to keep it. 

The Sixties

One friend recalled that her elderly aunt would bring out her “charm string” from that dear aunts old school days. The charm string consisted of buttons or gems from special events in her life, such as a special date or dance, a wedding, a graduation, etc. She said to look at the charm string was fascinating but to see the glow in her great aunt’s eyes as she recalled her many memories held in each button, charm or gem was the most enjoyable moments of all. And her aunt must have had lots of fun in her young days as the charm string was really big and was a memory from high school days through her early 20s, which included a button from baby’s first dresses, anniversaries, and birthdays. What a neat way to hold memories. 

Memory Buttons

Do you remember when our grading system was E for excellence, S for superior, M for medium, I for inferior and F for failing. When we talk about being a straight E student, it doesn’t mean anything to the youth of today! They only know the A,B,C,D,and F system, and yearning to be a straight A student.

Back when I was a student at the Webb City High School, it was the custom for the junior class to provide the senior class with a prom, thus the Junior Senior Prom. Sometime through the years this has changed. Now it is just “The Prom.” But that’s another story. 

This true story involves two boys and their dates to the Junior Senior Prom. On the evening before the prom, the boys picked up their dates and they all went to the grocery store to do the shopping. Then on the evening of the prom, the boys picked up the girls and they all went to one of the boy’s home.

Dressed in evening clothes wear and tuxedos, the boys proceeded to prepare supper for their dates. Spaghetti was the requested menu. Then the dinner was served in formal fashion, with candlelight and proper seating of the girls. After the meal they all loaded into the car and proceeded to Joplin for the actual prom. I’ll bet these four young people remember that night for a very long time. It will be remembered especially since they did not have to have reservations, stand in line and spend hard-earned money to try to impress the dates. I’m told the total cost of the candlelight dinner was under $20.

Maurice Clark

What fun memories of school days a few years past. Those were the days! Thanks to those who shared their memories with us.

Jeanne’s new book, “The Zinc City, Webb City, Missouri” is now available at Webb City Chamber office and other local retailers, such as Maggie Jane’s Gifts, at 8 S. Main St.

Jeanne Newby

A lot of us appreciate the Bradbury Bishop Fountain, but Jeanne actually worked behind the counter making sodas while she was in high school. She knows everything about Webb City and is a member of the Webb City R-7 School Board.