It is not often you can relive a single month from your high school days by simply searching through an old, faded 10-page school newsletter.
That may be the case, though, with a recent find by Marilyn Brandon, of Cranberry Township.
Among her cache of possessions is a January 1942 edition of the Cranberry Hi-Light, a monthly compilation of school news and advertisements compiled by junior and senior high school students.
“I loved reading it, especially all the advertisements of local businesses. And the students – there were so many involved in writing it,” Brandon said.
Ralph Keniston, assisted by Alvin Cubbison and Laura Mays, served as editor in chief who oversaw the 1941-42 school term editorial staff. Other editors were Wayne Etzel, sports, who had William Watkins as an assistant; Isabelle Davis, jokes; Nina Shunk, alumni; Betty Jane Fry, exchange; and Kenneth Moore, literary.
Circulation was managed by Sue Schaming, who had Fred Davis as an assistant. Jack Stack was business manager, assisted by Betty Stewart.
Senior reporters included Doris Blauser, Francis Dolce, Betty Jane Fry, Eugene Kempf, Norma McKean, Marguerite Grolemund, Betty Ann Porter, Betty Schreffler, Roland Stephens and Betty Stewart.
The newsletter gave tribute to Miss Ester Bender in the high school’s commercial department for typing the publication.
“In former years, the copy was written in long hand and very often errors were made in printing because of peculiarities in writing.” The paper noted that Miss Bender “eliminated errors.”
War time is evident
Some content in the publication, issued just one month after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. declaration of war against Japan and Germany, reflects the times.
Here are some examples:
– “Mr. Johnson, Cranberry’s coach, received notice to report for a physical examination in Pittsburgh. Mr. Johnson may find himself in olive drab pending the outcome of the Pittsburgh trip.”
The article noted that while Johnson was originally classified as 1-H, his draft status turned to 1-A “since the United States began taking part in the fray.”
– “Over half the Cranberry students already are showing their patriotism by buying defense stamps in their home rooms once a week.”
A filled book would result in a Defense Bond, reported the paper.
– In the Senior Class News column, the writer offered, “I wonder why all the girls are becoming engaged. Must be the war.”
– The Junior Class News column reported, “Ten years from now Mr. Allen says we will be reading in our history classes about the exploits of Capt. Edgar J. Allen. Mr. Gehr predicts that he will have topped the record in potato peeling for the soldiers by that time.”
– An editorial noted: “As your patriotic? We are sure of it, but we must admit that very little spirit is being shown in the student body regarding the purchase of defense stamps … Come on now! Let’s buy defense stamps so that we may have a part in defeating our enemies. Let’s buy victory!”
– “The news of Alvin Cubbison’s joining the Navy disappeared mysteriously.”
– Sally Brigham wrote an editorial on “Help Defend America”.
“It is the plain duty of every American citizen to do his part during this present war. Our nation is facing a far greater difficulty than any of us realized (and) … we must prepare for the tragic years to come.”
One way to “help our boys in camp” would be to “get busy with our leisure time and put our hands to the task of defending America. Many people are doing Red Cross work, knitting socks for some homeless lad who, although not being mistreated, still misses the comforts of home.”
– Seneca Methodist Church sponsored a course in first aid “to train persons for first aid work in case of air raids.” The ten-week course, taught by Mr. Gordon of Oil City, drew 15 students.
– Harry Weaver is attending an air school in Maryland.
– The 1942 Berry Bush yearbook, edited by Betty Ann Porter, was coming right along. “The theme is about defense because of the condition of the world affairs,” noted the newsletter.
Typical high school chatter
Most of the information in the 1942 high school newsletter focused on sports, class activities and related school events.
– There was a small but probably much-read article about midterm exams. “School officials have decided to eliminate them and substitute a shorter, six-weeks variety of test. However, the end of the year would bring back the customary procedure of final tests.”
A special offer consisted of three popular magazines – The Colliers, Woman’s Home Companion and The American – for $4 total for 14 months. The class goal was set at $150.
– For the first time, Cranberry High School was organizing a cheerleading club. Composed of boys and girls, the team would wear blue uniforms that included “all-wool flannel jerkins and pleated skirts” for girls and flannel slacks and vests for boys.
The ensemble also included long-sleeve white shirts, white socks and moccasins. Each uniform cost $72 and was paid for at fundraisers such as Klondike sales, after-basketball game dances and rollerskating parties.
– The Alumni Association announced it would present “If I Had It My Way”, a Bing Crosby movie, as a gift to the 1942 graduates.
– The junior class reported success for two of its assembly programs. They were “The Sweethearts of Songs” variety musical show and “Bill, the Master of Mystery” magic show by Bill Neff. Proceeds from the class Klondike sales paid for the shows.
– Erma Bigler, Alice Schaming, John Boor and Phyllis Frank represented Cranberry at the Northwestern School Music Association Chorus at Youngsville. They were chosen the outstanding musical students at Cranberry.
– There was a report given on two sold-out performances by Slim Bryant and the Georgia Wildcats at the high school. Sponsored by the Pinoak PTA, all proceeds went toward buying chairs for the school basement.
– Mary Lewis was elected president of the French club. Other officers included Harry Kennedy, vice president; Sally Brigham, secretary; and Helen Szabat, treasurer.
– There were several columns featuring student-only news and gossip about dating, in-class behavior, movie news, dances, trivia quizzes, alumni items and more. Individual columns highlighted news in each class from senior to seventh grade.
The sports scene
– The Berries basketball team has notched seven straight wins with only one loss chalked up to Franklin. The “blue-and-whites” (then the school colors) defeated Tionesta, Randolph, alumni, Clarion (two games), Corsica and Rimersburg.
– The next game up was with “bitter rival” Youngsville, which was undefeated. The starting lineup was Fitzgerald and Hughes as forwards, Stack playing center and Stewart and Williams as guards.
– Cranberry High School purchased new varsity jackets. They were “blue velvet” with red and white stripes around the waist, neck and arms. The word “Berries” was embroidered on the back.
Advertisers were sold on the newsletter
The January 1942 issue of the Cranberry Hi-Light News is crammed with dozens of business advertisements from Cranberry, Oil City, Franklin and elsewhere.
One of the largest ads was for the Log Cabin Skating Rink, billed as a “skate, eat, dance” center in Seneca that offered “skate by floodlights.” The rink was located where the Log cabin restaurant would eventually be built.
A brief entry in the news noted, “about five of the senior girls are working at the Seneca ice skating rink this winter.”
– Pennzoil motor oil and Pennzip gasoline, “perfect partners … for a penny saved is a penny earned.”
– Anderson’s Furniture in Franklin “makes happy homes”
– E.L. Baum, general merchandise and Coreco oil and gas at Tippery
– W.M. Deyoe & Co. at 6 Seneca St., phone 11
– Cunningham Dairy for “quality milk”
– Brody’s, “feminine fashions for the young crowd.”
– Mong Dairy, where “our bottles are cellophane protected.”
– Bernstein’s ladies wear in Franklin
– James Lumber Co., planing mill and lumber yard on Buffalo Street
– Chacona’s, “the place to eat” in Franklin and Oil City
– Army Store, for “a complete line of sporting goods” in Oil City
– H.L. Buchanan, funeral director and ambulance service in Franklin
– Oliver Brothers, “radios, especially for your room, at $10.95.”
– Meddock’s Barber Shop “just below Oakwood Rose Gardens”
– Zacherl Service Station, gasoline and groceries in “So. Oil City.”
– Carbaugh’s Electric Service in Seneca
– South Side Pharmacy, Oil City
– Weaver’s Paint & Paper, Spring Street in Oil City
– A. & B. Stranford Dry Cleaners, “keep your clothes in ship-shape.”
– The Lotus Flower, “no two dresses alike” on 13th Street
– Crawford Funeral Home, corner of Hoffman and Seely
– The White Parlor at 13th and Elk streets
– Rouseville Garage, “terms cash,” managed by Sam Hartzell
– Rankin’s Garage for “general repairs and welding of all kinds” in Seneca
– Hoffman’s Barber Shop, “opposite Sears in Oil City.”
– Hewitt’s Shoe Shop, “for better shoes,” on Seneca Street
– Jetter’s Bakery, “home of bread, rolls, pastry,” in Oil City
– Bradleys, for “under garments for juniors and ladies.”
– American Legion bingo, every Saturday at 9 p.m. in Franklin
– Oil City Milling Co. for “flour, feed and grain”
– South Side Coney Island restaurant
– Klivans Jewelry Co. for watches, diamonds, radios, cameras, pens on Seneca Street
– James Oliver “for better shoe repairing” on East Front Street
– I.R. Grimm jewelry and art store, Oil City
– Pete Butiste, “for better tailoring,” on State Street
– Coreco gas and oil on State Street
– Oakwood Rose Gardens, “flowers for every occasion”
– Vengold Dairy Stores in Oil City and Franklin
– Borland Lumber Co., Oil City
– Franklin Hardware & Plumbing Co.
– Jos. W. Reinsel, funeral director, Oil City
– Lammers, “dependable clothes for men at fair prices,” Oil City
– Fletcher’s Garage for Chrysler and Plymouth, Fryburg
– Hagerty Music Shop, “dance records, sheet music, lessons,” Spring Street
– Fred’s Barbershop on Riverside Drive
– Oil City Battery Mfrs., new batteries recharge or rental
– Sadler & Shunk, decorating and paperhanging, Seneca
– Hay’s Bread
– Tharp Motor Sales/Nash, “a safe place to buy your used car,” East Front Street
– Jerko’s Ice Cream, Oil City
– Tait’s Greeting Card Center, Oil City
– Dickinson’s Jewelry Store, Oil City
– Jug O’ Curls, “guaranteed without an IF,” Transit Beauty Shop, Oil City
– Isaly’s, “the place to meet and eat” on Oil City’s North Side and South Side
– Guy C. Smith’s “magneto house” on East Second Street
– Lone Pine Farm, “rich, natural raw milk and cream from our own herd … direct to consumer”, owned by Fred M. Schruers of Cranberry
– Don Nosset Studios, formerly Art Nouveau, “Kodak finishing, portraits, commercial photography, in Oil City
– Fleckenstein Garage, White trucks and Hudson cars, Relief Street
– Morris Goldstein, “learner’s permits,” alderman on Sycamore Street
– Kramer Wagon Co., farm machinery and wagons, Oil City
– Burgi-Pearson Pennzoil station, Main Street in Oil City
– Pfendler Shop, “smart new things for the school girl wardrobe,” East Front Street
– Purity Milk Co., Spring Street
– East End Auto Wreckers, “buyers of late model wrecked cars”
– D.C. Boyer, “candy, ice cream, gas/oil, footwear,” Cranberry
– Morrison Bros.,”quality counts” milk and cream, Seneca
– Twin Oaks Service, Mobilgas, candy, pop, cream, owned by Kendrick Williams
– Brown’s Boot Shop, “Oil City’s popular family shoe store”
– McDevitt & Son, “we specialize in parts for old cars and we tow anything,” Oil City and Cranberry
– F.J. Hartsell garage, Pennzoil parking lot on Seneca Street
– Freeman Motor Co., Packard sales, Seneca Street
– Josephine Jawdy’s Linen Shop, 13th Street
– Esso, Gasoline Alley in Oil City
– Walker Drug Co., Seneca Street
– McCreary Tire Sales, Tony Pfendler on East Front Street
– Julius Stahl & Co., insurance and real estate, Veach Building
– Fallers, “Fallers For Furniture Fryburg”
– Millinery Modes by Nina Smiley, Franklin
– Riddle Bros. Restaurant, “open day and night”, Liberty Street
– Nunemaker’s Esso, Van
– Welch’s Business College, “enroll now,” Woolworth building
– Ed Walz Home/Auto Supply, “just arrived Victor Radio at $19.95”, Seneca Street
– Wallace Book Store, “school dictionaries 20c to $2”
– Phillips Autobody Service, “one half block north of Drake Theater”
– Freeman Rossman Barber Shop, South End Main Street
– Hazel’s Place, tobacco, gas, groceries, confections, Victory Heights
– Frank J. Gill Studio, “give your friends and relatives a fine photograph of yourself,” Seneca Street
– A.B. Wilt, Kodak and Argus cameras, 13th Street
– Gene Morgan, radio and sound service with “fresh tube stock,” East Front Street
– Smith’s Beauty Salon, “for a lovely permanent, try us”, State Street
– Oil City Sand and Gravel Co.
– Seneca Street Service Station, owners Charles Ralph and Charles Porter
– Max Jacobs, “Oil City’s oldest clothing store,” Seneca Street
– Lake D. Steffee, funeral director, Petroleum Street