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Little Stevie

359 Posts

Posted - 05/01/2012 :  18:44:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"Once I realised my musical career was on the wain, I thought. . . what next?"

How about becoming a Thespian?
I had done some "acting" my whole stint at Jefferson.
Starting in Miss Barr's kindergarten class. Recited a poem called "Little Danny Donkey". My line had something to do with Danny not washing behind his ears.
During the next 5 grades there were many skits I was in. I had become an old pro, being in Cub Scouts, where we did a skit at almost every pack meeting.
But the apex of my career came in the 6th grade. Mrs. Stodola's class.
Every year, her class put on an operetta for the school in the spring.
Our year, the operetta was none other than Walt Disney's:

"Babe's In Toyland"

I had landed one of the supporting roles as one of the older children, realizing I'd be leaving Toyland in a few years

For the younger children, the kiddies from one of the 1st grade classes were asked to be a part of this epic. One of which was a neighbor of ours, Phil Gourney.

His home can be seen in one of Larry's alley photos. On the right, just before the Kessey yard.
Phil's family moved into their home after the Rapchaks left Magoun Ave. The tragic thing was that Phil's father died from a heart attack while building the garage you see in the photo.

In one of the early scenes of BIT, we were singing the song "Lemonade" while skipping around Mother Goose, played by Michelle Merrick, while she filled glasses with lemonade for us.
As I came around for the third or fourth time, I noticed Mother Goose wiping up something on the floor while giving me an extremely dirty look for a 6th grade girl.
Seems I had kicked over the pitcher of "lemonade" which really was just water, on my last revolution around her.

All in all, the operetta went off without another hitch.

Below is the only photo of my short lived acting career. That's Phil standing in front of me with his hand in front of my face.

Maybe his tights were just that. Tight.


Edited by - Little Stevie on 05/01/2012 18:49:22
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642 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2012 :  00:52:32  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nowadays, Lil' Phil would be 'cuffed and hauled away for public indecency.

Interesting photo; I'll say no more, except that the costumes are pretty elaborate for a grade school
production---today many high schools couldn't come close to those soldier uniforms. Did Jefferson have an auditorium?

Mrs. Stodola---did you tell me that was BARB Stodola, who was married to a Hammond judge? I think I
worked for her briefly in 1979 in downtown Hammond.

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Little Stevie

359 Posts

Posted - 05/02/2012 :  23:07:26  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Jefferson didn't have an auditorium per se, just a stage at the east end of the gym. Curtains & colored floodlights. Pretty nice for a elementary school.

I'm not sure what her first name was but yes Mrs. Stodola was married to a Hammond judge.
This operetta thing she put on every year was thee highlight of the school year.

Edited by - Little Stevie on 05/02/2012 23:09:19
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642 Posts

Posted - 09/22/2012 :  05:13:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Looks like it's about time to wrap up this thread on Jefferson School, which was started by my late brother Mike.

Jefferson was the quintessential mid-50's, small-town school, newly opened in 1954 just
as the post-war suburban boom was taking hold in Woodmar, and the former open fields were transfomed
into a lovely, middle-class community---some of us who grew up there might even call it our own little Paradise.

But times change, and Jefferson would ultimately fall to the wrecking ball, asbestos and all, July of 2005.
Here's the last phone pics I took while the place was still standing, on a sunny, peaceful Sunday
afternoon in September, 2004.

Both of these show the outside of the kindergarten room...the southern-most side of the school. Notice
the miniature brown tiles under the window; I was able to salvage a number of these (along with the
pink ones that were also used on the outer facade) when the place was torn down in summer, 2005.

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642 Posts

Posted - 10/20/2012 :  19:50:55  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is probably the end of the road for the Jefferson School thread here on Sheptalk.
Time moves on, and there are increasingly few people who remember it or would ever care to
search it out here on the site. I'm glad that my brother Mike started the thread, and that we were
able to liven it up with some pretty amazing photos, etc---most of which I stumbled upon by chance
in the Hammond Library's historical room archives.

The year I spent at Jefferson School in Kindergarten - 1956-57-- was about the coolest,
most thrilling time of my young life, and it's great to have a place to post these memories, images, and
impressions from that time, even if the traffic is very limited. It's better than having the stuff sitting in a
shoe-box somewhere.

So here's little dorkey-boy (me) back in my heyday at Jefferson--

And here's the same guy in September of 2004, standing outside the Kindergarten room during the
final year that the building was still standing-

AND HERE'S the end of the road for Jefferson School, during its demolition, in July of 2005
(courtesy of Jim Stewart). This is a view of the west wall of the structure.

You can even see the blackboards, bulletin boards, classroom doors, cabinets, etc, in this "cut-away" view.

And that's that.


Edited by - HassoBenSoba on 10/20/2012 20:02:33
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Bill Bucko

359 Posts

Posted - 10/21/2012 :  02:44:31  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Too bad. I know I'll never forgive the fools who, not content with tearing down the Harding wooden portable, not content with tearing down Morton H.S., even dared to tear down the Harding elementary building I went to, in 1954-61.


Warren G. Harding Class of '63
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