A Camelot Day at High School

An email to my high school classmates:

Hey guys and gals,

I haven’t emailed the whole group for awhile so here goes. Excuse me if I repeat some stuff—I can’t keep track of all the individual emails I may have sent some of you.

It’s good to hear that many of us are shifting into the “fully retired” mode now. I’ve been doing six Saturdays and one Sunday for over a year now and I’ve never been more busy and loving every minute of it. Grandchildren abound but now I hear Wes and Laurie are great-grand-parents! How can that be? And I thought they were the same age as the rest of us!

I know you all remember that ’38 Buick I had in high school because it comes up in conversation every so often. Well a few weeks ago I reconnected with Tom who is now retired and living in New Mexico. He told me he had an old picture of the car and some of you girls and he emailed it to me! I didn’t even recall that he took the photo, much less still had a copy of it.

Remember that warm summer Friday in early September? It was a teacher conference day or something and there were no classes. Mac and I spent the morning polishing, waxing and detailing that old car until it looked like it just came off the showroom floor. Then we drove it over to school and somehow managed to park it on the lawn on the campus between the new building and the old building. We were the only high school in Chicago that actually had a campus.

Remember some of you girls from the College Club and The American Girl Club were having an impromptu beauty contest, vying for Homecoming Queen? You spotted that shiny Buick out on the campus and came running out and draped yourselves all over the car. We were all laughing so hard! You girls were gorgeous.

Remember the Assistant Principal and Disciplinarian spotted the car parked out on the lawn? He came marching out of the new building and headed toward us until he spotted his daughter on the hood of the car, then he changed course and walked briskly into the old building without a word. Thanks Jan, you saved our butts again.

Remember the sock hop that evening in the school gym? I think Tony and his band were playing that night. Us guys and gals reunited and joked about the car and the swimsuits. Mac and I told you girls you would have to come back Saturday and re-wax the car because you left smudges. We laughed and rocked and rolled all night.

Remember the last dance? You found your someone special and danced slowly, cheek to cheek.

Remember we all piled into cars, the Buick included, and headed out to Criz’s on North Avenue for cokes and BBQ?

Remember… well at this point in the evening I guess the memories become more individual, ya know what I mean?

Do you remember that very special late summer Camelot day at high school over fifty years ago?



You don’t remember it exactly that way?

Nah, me neither… well maybe just parts…


15 Comments on “A Camelot Day at High School”

  1. Tom says:

    Great story. I knew that picture was meant for you. Tom

  2. Very fun Jim. But I expect as much.

  3. John says:

    I remember Skip’s Drive-In and Russells Barbecue (Thatcher) out on North Ave. Where was “Criz’s” located?

    • jimpadar says:

      Excellent question, John. There was a direct competitor to Russell’s, a couple doors south of Russell’s, on the northeast corner of Thatcher and North Avenues. I don’t remember the correct name for it, but it was partly owned by one of our Assistant Football Coaches, Hy Criz. If you went to our high school, you called it Criz’s. Caused no end of confusion when you told someone to meet a Criz’s and they weren’t from our high school. Anyone out there remember the real name of the place?

  4. bill ritchie says:


    What memories! Of course you and I didn’t go to high school together but I went to Skips and Russell’s (still do in Schaumburg) I worked at the North Ave. Outdoor (did you ever go there?) Also, when my dad came home from WWII he bought a used 1938 Buick, the first car I ever drove. I liked it so much I bought one in 1976 (paid plenty for it). I love the picture on your post.

    We’re on our way home from AZ and looking forward to a Crab House lunch.


  5. Silvia says:

    Thanks for another great story I almost forgot we didn’t go to the same high school. Your’s sounded a lot better that the one BVM nuns ran.

  6. Jay says:

    Great story. It reminded me of a friend and I talking about the old “Spin and Marty” show on the Mickey Mouse Club; where the “poor” kid lived on a ranch. We’d watch the show and then go out and play in the alley. As he said “We didn’t even have a tree.”. Thanks

  7. Rich Rostrom says:

    What is the year of this photo? 1950? 1955?

    Because some of the girls look more 1920s or 1930s style. Especially the blonde in front on the far left, wearing a sash. Also the brunette next to her, with the flower in her hair, and the girl leaning over the hood, with a headband and curly bangs, though not so much.

    The four girls in back, and at the far left, seem more 50s.

    But styles do get recycled. I was laughing to myself on the El Friday night, when I saw a black kid with a short afro and a “pick” comb stuck it. He looked just like some of my classmates in 1968.

    • jimpadar says:

      You are not hinting that I am trying to trick you, are you? You have a keen eye… I am pleased to be able to answer your question without hesitation: “I don’t know.”

      But I was in High School from 1952 to 1956.

  8. jim brown says:

    good story Jim,, memories of warm summers and swimming at the lake and everything was beautiful. The 1934 plymount and 41 Ford and 48 buick. All fond memories.. Thkank you for bringing those memories bac,k

    jim brown

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