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Growin’ up in the 60’s

The Way I See It

February 13, 2011
By John Sheda
Several weeks ago, I shared the Christmas tree story at our grocery store in Chelsea. I promised the story about the baseball cards, but not yet!! I am still doing my penance. Ya, it was THAT bad! Speaking of penance, growing up Catholic in the sixties was quite an experience, and going to Catholic school extended that experience even further.  At least going to St. Joseph’s Catholic School did.  Maybe your Catholic school was different.

 At St. Joe’s, the nuns and parents had something called “The Double Jeopardy” rule. What? You never heard of it.  Hah! Then you didn’t grow up in the sixites ‘cuz this rule was not just limited to Catholics, I don’t think. They just invented it!!! 

The double jeopardy rule was quite simple and it was a rule with no exceptions, at least in my case, there weren’t.   This unwritten rule stated that if/when you got in trouble at school, you would be held responsible and punished.....ahhh, fairly. 

Simple, right? 

However, here’s where the “double” part of the rule comes in. When you got home and your parents found out, (they always did), guess what happened? Yepper! Punished again! But this time it might not be as fairly or as softly. No blaming the nuns. No going to the Principal and saying,“It wasn’t poor Johnny’s fault.” No threatening to sue the school.  In fact, no listening to my side at all. 

If you got into trouble in school, it was automatic you were going to pay the penalty a second time once you got home. 

 In the sixties, it was unique for us Chelsea kids because as all the schools were merging, all of a sudden the Tama and Toledo kids were coming to Chelsea for 7th and 8th grade. I believe the best came to Chelsea and the rest went to Montour. Just kidding!!!

It didn’t affect us Catholic kids but it was something to have such an influx of students enter into the halls of the Chelsea Public School. If my memory serves me correctly, the Freshman and  Sophmores then went to Toledo and the Juniors and Seniors went to Tama. That is, until 1968, when the new South Tama Community School was built. And what a school it was! State of the art. 

The School Board at that time and the School District did an extraordinary job in getting such a fine school built.  Kudos to everyone for that.

 The class of ‘68 was the first class to graduate from the new school and I am sure this class was just fine, but boy, oh boy, the class of ‘69. What a class!  Hah, guess which class I graduated in?  The school was absolutely beautiful, if only it wasn’t a school!! Everything was great about it, the new round gymnasium, the open lunch room and the little theater to name just a few great things about the school. If only they had forgotten to build classrooms!!! 

 It’s been a long time and my memory fades quickly but about my only extracurricular activity was basketball. Mr. Gibbs was the head coach but left as we approached my senior year. Mr.  Channing Hall took over and Mr. Bruce Hanna remained as Asst. Coach. 

The starting line-up in 1969 was.............Joe Crawford and Tom Tesar at forwards, Tom Townsend and Steve Kriegel at guards and Tom Fetter at center.

Me? Well, let me tell you. I was the “20-point” man. No! I didn’t average twenty points a game. I was on of the guys that was sent in to the game when we were either twenty points ahead or twenty points behind. Thus, the “20-point” man.

 Growing up in the sixties was great.  Band Concerts in Chelsea on Wednesday nights, Hootenannies on Saturday nights,  shopping, (yes, shopping), in Chelsea.  Going to the big town meant headin’ into Tama or Toledo and going to the big city meant we were going to Marshaltown.  Wow! Monday night shopping in Marshaltown. A big time for a little kid from Chelsea. Oh, I have also a story about Marshaltown and my Guardian Angel.  Ya, double jeopardy again. 

As Yogi would say, “Deja Vu all over again.” 

And THAT’ THE WAY I SEE IT. Let me know how you see it at  

“Bez prace nejsou kolace.”

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