Museum Notes 8-31-2021

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I love driving by the old ruins of the Canadian High School on Kingman Avenue, now decorated with graffiti art. I try to imagine what the students were inspiring to be in a world so very different from ours today. This “Class Prophecy,” written by Helen Gerlach and found in the 1913 Canadian High School annual, gives us a glimpse of who they wanted to become.

“One bitter cold evening as I sat before the roaring fire-place, I recalled to mind the class of ’13 of which I had been a member. As I sat there staring with unseeing eyes into the flames, I wondered where they all were and what they were doing.

The flames danced and flickered and in them I saw an old man bent, and stooped with age. I thought I heard a voice say, ‘behold the successor to John Rockefeller the great oil magnate.’ I looked long and intently before I recognized our former class president, Rollin Thurman.

The logs fell apart and a shower of sparks danced up the chimney. I saw a mass of beautiful auburn hair and knew it could be no one by Ada Sparks. She was scolding two small boys for not learning the multiplication table. I knew then that she was a teacher.

I seemed to hear a great noise, and in the flames saw a large grand-stand filled with people. I had eyes but for one person and on enquiring his name, learned that it was Sudduth Haynie, the most enthusiastic baseball fan the world has ever known.

I heard a clock chime seven and starting up threw another log upon the fire.

The flames flickered up and cast a rosy glow over everything, I heard a sweet voice singing and looking around found myself in a large theater. Thousands of people were listening entranced to the beautiful singer Elsie Moore.

The flames turned blue, then yellow and I saw a strange animal approaching. Looking intently at it I saw that it was a camel, and calmly riding it – Fleda Shaller. Her wish at last had come true and she was in Egypt.

I had scarcely ceased laughing at the ridiculous figure when I beheld an entirely different scene. A scholarly looking gentleman feeding some hens! Imagine my surprise when I saw that Marion Foote had become a farmer.

This peaceful scene was disturbed by a clatter of hoofs and I saw Willard Fryar, the champion girl Rough Rider, deftly lasso and brand a steer.

The fire was dying down and in the flames I saw a white robed figure. I noticed a red cross on her sleeve, and when she turned I knew that at last Vivian Allen had become a ‘Red Cross’ nurse.

Strains of heavenly music came to my ears, and I saw a man seated at a piano. Long hair fell over his face, and not until he turned around did I recognize Wesley Parsell, the famous musician.

Suddenly everything became dazzling bright. I seemed to be looking into the arena of a circus. I heard people talking about the wonderful acrobat. I turned to look for him, and imagine my surprise when I saw John Humphrey turning handsprings in the air.

Standing just outside the arena was a gentleman who seemed to be greatly concerned about John. I enquired who this gentlemen was, and found him to be Oscar Studer, M.D.

But fires do not last forever, and mine went out leaving me longing for the happy school days of the past.”

The Graduating Class of 1913


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