“WHAT I LIKE ABOUT RENO HIGH SCHOOL”

RHS2009 My Term Paper
“WHAT I LIKE ABOUT RENO HIGH SCHOOL”
by Carmine Ghia Sept. 1957

I am writing this under diress pressure for Mrs. Lehners’ English class so I’m supposed to use good gramar and speling but I’d rather just rite down a bunch of stuff I like about Reno High School without all the fal-de-ral and let her correct it if it’s that big a deal to her.

Miss Stern let me borrow this typewriter. Mr. Marean told us in his Physics class that someday there would be a typewriter that puts letters up on a “screen” like a television’s with a typewriter hooked to it that you didn’t even have to touch. That’s pretty hard to believe! In Mr. Daniels’ journalism class we’re learning to use a “Speed Graphic” camera, a great big thing with film on slides that slip into the back of the camera. We go across the hall to a darkroom and develop the film for the Red & Blue school paper. Then we take it down to a printer on West Fourth Street by Central Jr. High who re-types what we write on some kind of machine called a Mergenthaler then prints the newspaper. An older guy in our class named Cal Pettingil Petengill Pettengill said that someday we’d all be “alumni” of Reno High and the alumni would put out a newsletter on a “computer,” whatever that is, in about 20 minutes without the typesetter, print it and mail it out for 44¢ a copy which is about eight times what a stamp costs now. I’d like to work on the newspaper if I could learn how to type and spel and use that camera.

They’re adding a new building for auto shop and stuff along Foster Drive so they can move all the shops out of the basement under the cafeteria. Mr. Morgan and Mr. Cline are in charge of that. The cafeteria is a nice place to eat and has good cinnamon rolls. It’s a good thing we have one because there’s nothing for blocks around the school, maybe Tony’s Dellickatesen Delikatsesenn Delicatessen downtown on First Street, Ramos Drug on California Avenue or Hale’s at Fourth and Vine. That’s about it. We hear that someday they’re putting up a bridge over the Truckee from Keystone Avenue but no one can figure out how to connect it to California and Booth Streets. So they’ll probably never build it and we’ll walk over the old Booth Street bridge to Hale’s Drugs or that new place they’re building on Vine, the Silver ‘n Gold, or something like that.

I like the music teacher at Reno High, Mr. Tellaisha and his wife Ruby. They built a great pep band for basketball games and assemblies. Assemblies are fun, each class gets to put on one a year and this year we’re doing “South Pacific.” One of our teachers said that there was a lot of language and meaning in that play that Rogers and Hammerstein wouldn’t be able to write fifty years later. But we had fun and sang “Nothing like a Dame” in spite of Mr. Finch telling us to sing “…like a girl.” What does he know? There’s a play opening on Broadway called “The Music Man” that the school will get to put on in a few years with a lot of “Barbershop” singing, whatever that is. Lauren House would probably like it, he’s a pretty good base baretonne altow tenor. We had an assembly the other day with a man named Pete Echevarria, who was the first guy in charge of the new Gaming Control Board and he was really funny. The Huskiettes marched in one assembly; they won’t date dumb guys like me but go for the jocks. We’ll see what they look like in 50 years. Ha!

The school has a club called “Huskie Haven,” once an old fire station downtown on Center Street with pool and ping pong tables and stuff to read and movies, but they closed it a few years ago. Now the Huskie Haven, which we all pay a couple dollars for on our Student Activity cards each year, has dances at the California Building and the State Building downtown, and skating nights at Idlewild Park with music and a weenie roast (the fire department floods the ice during the day so it’ll be smooth by dark). They’ve held a few ski days. They get a lot of good records for music at the dances, last Friday night the new Chordettes and Buddy Holly songs. Buddy Holly flies in a little airplane called American Pie to a lot of shows, which sounds pretty dangerous to me.

Mrs. Lehners probably won’t like my sentences chopped up like this but I’ve got to get this turned in by second period next Friday. I don’t understand the “Sessions” baloney; at Mary S. Doten we just stayed in one room and at Central we had “Home Rooms,” now we have “Sessions” with numbers and the only people I get to meet are the people with names close to mine, Ghia, so all I know are people with last names beginning in F, G, or H, and the cute chicks are in other sessions. To make it sillier, we have Sessions officers, so we have a president of a group that meets 12 minutes a day.

We’re decorating the gym tomorrow for the Sophomore Dance tomorrow night, and after the Senior Ball decorating fiasco last year, the girls were told to bring their dungarees and their father’s Oxferd Oxford shirts if they wanted to change after school to work in the gym. The Senior girls came to school in their dungarees and ratty shirts and were sent home before school to get into skirts or dresses. Mr. Finch said this is a school, and no student from Reno High is going to be seen in dungarees with torn-out knees, belly buttons and straps showing under sleeveless blouses, short tight skirts, red-and-blue hair, nose rings, tattoos, and boys with “Bite Me” on their t-shirts. When we walk across to the new Village Shopping Center being built across Foster Drive, we’re going to look GOOD!

That’s some of what I like about Reno High, and the ribbon in Miss Stern’s typewriter has almost run out. If this were 50 years later I could write, “send me an ‘e-mail’ with your favorite things about Reno High, and if we have an “alumni” newsletter going by then – maybe we’ll call it the Huskies Trails – something like that, kind of catchy, you could put your favorite memories in the newsletter along with mine.

But heck, who knows now what an “e-mail” is in 1957?

© Karl Breckenridge website 2001

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5 thoughts on ““WHAT I LIKE ABOUT RENO HIGH SCHOOL”

  1. I knew Mrs. Lehners. My older sister used to date her son. So is this someone’s actual paper they wrote in 1957? I recognize a lot of the places mentioned and some that have obviously been long gone.

  2. This was so much fun to read. I had all the teachers mentioned except Mr. Marean. I do have some thoughts to add later but for now, just one: when I came to Reno from NY in 1953, I asked one of the neighbor kids if wearing dungarees was appropriate for some event and boy, did I get razzed about that word and never used it again. It was blue jeans from that day on. Did I import the word dungarees? And remind me of the senior ball decorating fiasco…I think that would have been my senior ball? Mr. Ghia?

    • Mr. Ghia and I concur that you look good 60 years later in dungarees, Levis, jeans, cargo pants, anything you wear – the girls at Reno High today would gladly trade their figures for yours! And yes, I do believe that would have been your Senior Ball.

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