I am honored to represent the class of 1958
at your 2008 homecoming assembly. And to have the opportunity to share a few
brief snapshots of the way we were in 1958.
Our athletes did very well. Wrestlers were
second in the state, Tracksters took districts and regionals. Golfers were
Big Nine duel meet champions for the 3rd year. Tennis and baseball
teams were Big Nine champs. A memorable sports event was a trip to the state
basketball tournament where we placed 4th. The cheerleaders were
named “best cheerleaders” for the 1958 state basketball tourney. Our debaters
won regionals and earned fifth at state. Our principal was the father of our
own Peggy Vihstadt Warren, so this building has lots of history with the class
of 1958. You may have noticed that none of the athletic awards included
girls’ sports. You are fortunate in this regard to enjoy so many
opportunities to compete. This was not an option for the girls in our class.
At school, some of us remember most a
special teacher we had. Others the class plays, Time Out for Ginger and The
Robe. Music concerts, homecoming and Christmas caroling, the clubs, High
News, Otaknam staff, student council, potlucks before football games,
football, the state basket ball tournaments, and other sports. There was
truly something for everyone. Much of it probably sounds familiar to you.
It was a time when the Whamo Co. introduced
the hula hoop, selling over a million hula hoops in 1958. Computers were a
long way off and we endured typewriters to do our reports. American bandstand
hosted by Dick Clark was launched. We enjoyed the music of the Everly
Brothers, Ella Fitzgerald, Perry Como, Ricky Nelson and others.
Gas prices soared from $.19 to $.20 a gallon
during our junior year. We must remember, however, that our earnings as
carhops and cooks at a drive-in like Jovaag’s root beer stand were a mere $.50
The hottest car in the school parking lot
for several of our high school years was a pink and black 1957 Ford
convertible. Pink and black—Elvis colors. We danced to his music decked out
in our felt poodle skirts.
Our advice to you--especially as we gather
this weekend—is that when you graduate, whether you remain in Mankato or
venture miles away, stay in touch with your good high school friends. In 50
years we have all experienced some wonderful times and also some sad events.
To share all of that with good friends from high school, always gaining their
support, encouragement and good wishes has been an amazing gift.
And if by chance you lose track or don’t
feel that you have time to keep in touch, be sure that you have the likes of
our Fred Lutz and Mary Hesla Huntley in town to cover the local news and keep
track of class members. They have always been the class of ‘58’s welcoming
committee. And what a special feeling it is to come home to such good
friends. They also organized the committee which has planned a spectacular
reunion for all of us with support from your high school staff.
So our wish for you is that you may return
in 50 years to the same warm welcome you have given us. And so from the class
of 1958 thank you so much. And enjoy your weekend.
Liz Nelson Shriver, now residing in
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Mankato High Student Council President and
first gal to be named to this role, 1957-58.