By Mike Lunsford
Terre Haute — I haven’t seen much basketball this fall; the weather outside has been too nice lately to turn my attention to things indoors just yet. So this is the first Sidelines of the year; I was already writing about hoops in October last season. I hope the old adage of it being better late than never still rings true.
The idea for this story arrived on my front step soon after I received a call from a faithful reader, Judy Hughes. Judy had taken in an old Rosedale High School yearbook from her friend, Margaret Beauchamp Rambacher. Margaret’s brother Dick found the book in their father Harry Beauchamp’s belongings and Harry’s kids just wanted to see the old annual displayed somewhere, perhaps at the school.
I do mean it’s old too; it’s a 1922 Outlook, the very first of its kind. Judy knew that I’d fawn over the thing like the Holy Grail. It’s cover is crumbling and green and it had been kept in plastic before she ever gave it to me. Like any curator who has been loaned an antiquity from a rival museum, it’s going to truly take willpower for me to give the book up to someone else.
The annual has certainly given me a look at the past — one of the primary reasons we have yearbooks to begin with — but it’s given me a glimpse at our future too.
Many of the names in The Outlook can still be found attached to some of the good folks who live in my end of the county. But above all, the yearbook has shown me not how much we’ve gained in the last 80 years or so, but rather how much we’ve lost.
There’s not an abundance of photos in the annual, but those that are there mostly show a generation, that for some reason, appears more serious, more determined about tackling life than mine did. Virtually all of The Outlook’s illustrations were hand drawn, and the seven-member faculty that was pictured — including principal Lee Owens, who also taught history and Latin — was young, starch-collared and well-groomed. English teacher Ellen Newkirk appeared kind and intelligent; writing teacher Roy Williams parted his hair down the middle and had a humorous smile on his face.
The advertisements in the back of the book allowed me to see just how vibrant and active the now-sleepy little town of today once was with its lumberyard and car dealership, its meat market and restaurants, its barber shop and hardware store. It really was a different world in those days when the trains stopped at every little burg on the line and kids kicked coal off the cars to help heat their homes.
There were apparently only two sports offered to Rosedale athletes in 1922, both coached by a baby-faced physical education teacher named Clyde Cunningham. There were no girls teams. The baseball season was played over three weeks in the fall; there were 10 boys on the team, and they won four of their five games, the last played on Oct. 24, an 8-2 win over Fontanet 10 days after the Beantowners had defeated the Rosedale squad 8-6.
Basketball must have started on the heels of baseball; it was obviously the sport of choice since the 10 players on the roster and coach Cunningham enjoyed a 20-game schedule and had more space devoted to it in the yearbook. I don’t think the school had a nickname then; there isn’t one to be found in the annual. I do know that the Hotshots moniker came along around 1930 or so. I have heard that at one time Rosedale’s teams called themselves the Colts.
Rosedale’s biggest blowout in the 1921-22 season was a 35-2 win over county-rival Bridgeton; the squad then dropped a 34-10 decision at Marshall, another Parke County team, in its biggest loss a few days later. Long, and I’m sure, cold, road trips included travels to Concannon, Farmersburg and Bellmore.
I also noticed that all of the players on the team had nicknames. We don’t do that much anymore. I have no way of knowing why Harry Jukes was nicknamed “Boola,” why team captain Eli Seville was called “Skee” either. Donald “Pickle” Reeves and Eugene “Red” Taylor were on that roster too.
On one of the opening pages of The Outlook is a picture of the school as it stood in 1922. It’s hard to imagine that the building sat in what is now the town park, a stone’s throw from Main Street. The players who were returning for the 1922-23 season were promised a new gymnasium by the school board; I actually have a photograph of it somewhere.
As much of a basketball fanatic as I am, I have to admit that my favorite section in The Outlook is the one where the senior pictures sit next to the lists of the soon-to-be-graduates’ school activities; their own personal mottos were included. How sincere they looked, how serious those 13 seemed to be. Basketball player Herm Walters’ motto was “Dare to do your duty always; this is the height of true valor.” Boola Jukes’ read “Before us lies the timber; let us build.” class president Elizabeth Conley’s was “Keep true to the dreams of thy youth.”
Glenn Cowger, who played basketball for three years, acted in the class play and who helped put the yearbook together, chose this motto: “I desire no future that will break the ties of the past.”
I couldn’t agree with him more.
You may contact Mike Lunsford by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail c/o the Tribune-Star at P.O. Box 149, Terre Haute, IN 47808. Look for Lunsford’s “The Off Season” on Page A1 throughout the year.