Class of 1948 Memories
The following are recollections of members of the MHS Class of 1948, first posted in 2019 - 71 years after graduation!
Bob Blake: Mrs. Beale said I was not college material. She said the same thing about Bob Cox. I became Assistant Superintendent (15 years) and Superintendent (two years) of the Milford Public Schools. Bob Cox became a World History teacher and Supervisor for the Milford Public Schools. Basketball games were played at Central Grammar, under the "overhang." I started dating my wife, Mim, while at Milford High School and we have now been married for 67 years (written in 2019).
Al Dello Russo: Herb French coaching all boys sports, U.S. History Class, and study hall; Freshman year home room at Central Grammar.
Joyce Reed Jarzanski: In our Senior year, some classmates decided it was time to set a precedent and elected me as first girl class president, not only of Milford High, but the first anywhere in the State of Connecticut. We forgot that at that time we were living in a male-oriented society. Little did I know that newspapers and different organizations would make such a big deal of it. I was really nervous at first, but even the boys eventually accepted me.
It was an eventful year. About halfway through, quite a few classmates decided to have a Senior Skip Day. I remember being called down to the office after attendance was taken. Miss O’Connor carried on like they had committed a CRIME. Fortunately, I didn’t know where they went, so I didn’t have to lie.
Planning Class Night was a lot of fun. We had a great committee, and everyone worked hard – especially Kay Nash. We became close friends. We took a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta used the music to write our words about our “adventures” in four years at Milford High. Kay was brilliant, and I know whatever she did would be a tremendous success. Unfortunately, she seemed to disappear after graduation; I don’t think anyone heard from her again. That will always make me sad. I will never forget her.
It was an honor to be elected the first female president of a Senior Class, but I had a lot of help and made a lot of friends. I will always be grateful and will remember everyone with fondness and be glad for the experience.
Ruth Miles Hassenmayer: Skip (Walter) Hassenmayer and I met our senior year in history class. Skip was playing football for Coach Herb French then. Academically, I remember taking to Spanish and barely surviving geometry. After school, our gang would head down to Broad Street, where we could sip on "nickel Cokes" at Mitman's Confectionary store. I would also spend time hanging around Devon Center with my good friend (our senior class president) Joyce Reed.
With the implementation of ration during World War II, our crowd was conditioned to be thrifty. Practicality and planning ruled the day. Skip wanted to give me a ring for Christmas, but I wanted to wait. At graduation, I was excited to meet Skip's parents for the first time. In April 1949, we were engaged, and married the following fall at Devon Union Church. In time, our lives became very busy raising four sons.
Walter E. (Skip) Hassenmayer: My family moved from our hometown of Middleton, N.Y., to Milford as the result of World War II. My father took a job with Chance Voight making airplanes, and we lived at Ryder Trailer Park. As the war was ending, my parents moved back to Middletown, and I stayed behind to finish at Milford High School. I worked part time at the Park and lived with Mr. and Mrs. Ryder as my guardians.
I met Ruth Miles our senior year, and we graduated together with the Class of 1948. We married in September 1949, and I was working at the Park full time, servicing and delivering new mobile homes. By 1955, I had started a new business, and our family, which now included two sons, was outgrowing our trailer. We found property on Platt Lane, and put together a pre-fab house on the lot, and in 1959, as we were expecting the third of our four sons, we moved in.
It is at this Platt Lane property that Ruth and I have regularly hosted our class reunions since our 55th in 2003. We were already using the property for the Milford Masons' annual clambake, so we decided to hold our class reunions the same weekend. While the clambakes ended in 2014 and our numbers are dwindling, we still host the class reunion – every summer.
Ruth Penlington Jones: From September 1943 until June of 1948, I shared a locker with Nancy Perkins Seibert. I was known as a walker. Perk was a “buser,” and Perk’s bus from Woodmont was always late. However, every once in a while, she would get to school before I did, so she would hide in our locker. When I’d arrive and open the locker – Surprise! Perk was smart enough to only do this perhaps five or six time in four years; still, she shocked me every time.
Rosemary Kelly Lynch: When I attended my granddaughter’s graduation from Foran High School in June, I was amazed by the size of the graduating class and the school itself. That brought back memories of September 1944 and my freshman year at Milford High School, where Joseph A. Foran was principal. I remembered feeling a bit overwhelmed trying to keep track of all the class changes in the three-story yellow building, which seem so big after Devon Grammar.
And, when I recall my years at Milford High, I always think of Miss O’Connor, the school’s vice principal and my Latin teacher, and Helen Philbin, my classmate and very close friend. In the spring of 1948 (my senior year), Miss O’Connor was the person who first suggested going on to nursing school. She knew someone at St. Raphael’s School of Nursing in New Haven and even got the application form for me. Then, one weekend in August when I still had not heard anything from St. Raph’s, I ran into Helen. She asked me where I was, that classes at the nursing school had started just a few days before.
I’m not sure what happened, but my acceptance letter never reached me. But that Monday, I was officially a nursing student, on my way to a new chapter. If not for Miss O’Connor and Helen Philbin, I probably would not have become a registered nurse, a career I cherished, and definitely would not have met the young intern Bill Lynch, who was my husband for 62 wonderful years.
Evelyn Schatz Owens: One of the things I remember about Milford High is not being in the high school building but being in the lower level of the Milford Grammar School for my Freshman year. You frequently did not get announcements, and there was not the same camaraderie as in the main school. I also remember the many afternoons playing girls’ sports, which was a life-changer for me with the awarding of a full scholarship to Arnold College. I would never have been able to attend college without that scholarship, and now it has come to a full circle. On our 60th wedding anniversary, our children pledged a Scholarship for 10 years to a local high school.
All in all, I remember with fondness my years at Milford High ——“GO Maroon and White.”
Elizabeth Lurix Simpkins: I remember sitting in back of Art Markey in most of my classes due to alphabetical seating. A lot of entertaining information was obtained during this time in class! I also remember the happy sounds that came from teacher Carolyn Caruso clipping down the hall in high heels. I never had her for a teacher, but I always enjoyed listening to the clip, clip, clip!!!
Gloria Hickox Smith: I loved Mrs. Thomas (English teacher), and she taught me to love Shakespeare. She always thought I was my aunt, so she would say "Miss Hickox, what did you do to your hair?” and many times I would have to explain.
Marylee Wilson Sorman: During our last two years at Milford High, we had a split schedule to accommodate the growing number of students. Juniors and seniors attended the morning session, which gave us the whole afternoon off. I was able to work afternoons and attend Madam Moiselle Modeling School at night.
About that time, Grace Gotthardt asked me if I was interested in a typing position at U.S. Motors Company. Part-time jobs at the G.E. in Bridgeport and Wilson H. Lee in Orange then seemed less attractive, so I said “yes.” I worked for U.S. Motors for three years, until marriage.
Painting at left by Rosemary Cadieux Markham, Class of 1948.
MILFORD HIGH SCHOOL
Toulson (Yellow) Building
1908 - 1951
Built on Michah Tompkins property along West Main Street.
A stone plaque in front honors regicides Goffe and Whalley,
who hid at the site of West Rock, New Haven, for two years after the English restoration of 1660. The 'Yellow" building in 1993
opened as 39 units of senior and special needs
apartments operating as the River Park Apartments.
Rosemary Cadieux Markham: I enjoyed my years at Milford High School, which was then located in what everyone referred to as "The Yellow Building.” I especially enjoyed Herb French’s U.S. history class and Mrs. Gotthard’s commercial class. I enjoyed being on the junior and senior prom committees, which were held in the Town Hall then and were glorious to attend!
Likewise, graduation was very memorable on stage in its presentation on stage at Town Hall.
After school in winter, we’d ice skate on the frozen pond behind Town Hall. Summers we’d meet classmates at Fort Trumbull Beach.
In the 1950s, I married Dick Markham and we lived on campus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Dick as studying electrical engineering. I enrolled in an art course at the university, which led me to studying art and painting oil portraits, seascapes, and landscapes for five decades.
Pat Nettleton: I remember those cold winter mornings walking from my home on Noble Street to Milford High School. As I’d arrive at school, I’d see the students getting off their buses from Woodmont, Devon, and Walnut Beach. I’d wish I lived father away so I could take the bus instead of walking. The school bell rings and we run to our lockers to gather up our books to get to our first class. At lunch some ate in the cafeteria and others ran across the street for a 5 cent Coca Cola and a sandwich from "Frank Pizza." Remember what else was across the street from the Town Hall? Russ Clark Real Estate, Tots Toggery, Myers Men's Store and Eve Grays, with those great Shetland Sweaters. Now that was the way to dress: A pretty Shetland Sweater, a pleated skirt, bobby socks and penny loafers!
Hubba-bubba and woo-woo baby – and don’t forget another spot, Ross Soda Fountain, where you could order a "Brown Cow" (root beer with vanilla ice cream) and when the cinnamon coffee cakes were being baked at Nemicks," you could smell then right through the Milford High school windows; the same windows that you could hear Johnny Slater let out his "Tarzan Yell" – or belting out a song with his strong voice.
Kitty Wilson: My family (my mother, grandmother, and I) moved from Fairfield to Milford during the summer of 1947. I entered MHS that September, and that year truly was about the happiest of my pre-college memories. I was very warmly received by my classmates and the camaraderie was very special. Pat Leavy was my dearest friend as we shared so much. Many memories, at this point, come flooding back: I recall walking to school every day with Billy Hodges and Ruth Russell. It was quite a trudge, but we were never late for our first class. As for the “highlights” of that year: our Senior Prom was in the Town Hall and our Graduation in June of 1948 was quite spectacular. Overall, my one year at MHS was a joyous one. Thank you to all who were kind to the new kid on the block and made my memories of MHS so very wonderful!
Joe Viscount: Doc Stanley and his point system; Miss Pollard was a ferry pilot; our soft leather football helmets; Washington Field (c--- -b----); basketball games at Central Grammar; lifting Marjorie Phelan during the senior play (Joe Viscount was Ham and Marjorie Phelan was Henriette in the "The Fighting Littles.")
Grace Flake: Grace sent the following note in the Spring of 2020 to Rosemary Cadieux Markham:
My fond memory of the Class of 1948 is when as Captain of the Cheering Squad I requested of Coach Herb French to design new apparel for the squad to wear during basketball games.
Approval was granted - even the cost of material was paid.
NOTE: If you are a member of the MHS Class of 1948 and have some memories of your time at high school to share, send them to: email@example.com.