Whitefish Bay High School Annual From 1943 During World War 2
Photos From My Mother's High School Annual in 1943.
Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
My mother grew up living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her family when she was a child. It was a close-knit family of German heritage. It consisted of her parents, an older brother who was the eldest of the siblings and an older sister. She was the baby of the family with a five-year spread between herself and her sister. Her maternal grandfather lived with them during his older widowed years until he died.
Her parents also owned a summer cottage on Okauchee Lake. The home where she grew up as a child in the City of Milwaukee no longer exists. But the Whitefish Bay home where her family had moved during her high school years still stands.
We drove past the home in Whitefish Bay which is a suburb of Milwaukee the last time my mother and I were in Wisconsin. It still looks as though it is being well kept and hopefully enjoyed as much as my mother's memories were of having lived there.
That is where she attended high school and I have her 1940 and 1943 annuals. She was a senior in '43 and no longer has any need of these annuals. There are probably a few of her classmates that might still be alive but most of them have probably already joined her in the next life.
It is obvious where the name "The Tower" originated. A portion of the building has a very imposing and upright edifice which was featured on page 5 of the annual. Across from it on page 4 was their school hymn which was written and composed by Bob Stamp.
The song was copyrighted and published by the Music Department of the High School.
The title of the song is "THE TOWER OF WHITEFISH BAY."
The words of the hymn are the following:
"IN WALLS THAT WILL STAND FOREVER,
IN HEARTS THAT ARE FIRM AND STRONG,
THERE SHINES BRIGHT AND CLEAR A GUIDING LIGHT
THAT FILLS OUR HEARTS WITH SONG.
AND WHEN WE FEEL THAT FERVENT BLAZE,
WE CHEER FOR THE BLUE AND GRAY:
FOR THE LIGHT THAT WILL SHINE THROUGH ALL THE DAYS
FROM THE TOWER OF WHITEFISH BAY."
I am sure that my mother fervently and proudly sang that song often as did many if not most all of her other classmates.
World War II
This may just have been the last "popular" war in which the United States of America became embroiled if "popular" is a word to describe any war.
Suffice it to say that almost everyone in our country was involved in small or large ways with the war effort. This included the students at Whitefish Bay High School.
Page 7 of this annual had the following written under this cartoon of soldiers:
We, who are graduating into a world of war will remember our last year in high school as one of commando training, jeep buying campaigns, pre-induction courses --- and, a year without a prom.
We will long remember this year when many of our junior and senior boys left for the armed forces.
It is to these boys that we, the class of 1943, dedicate this Tower."
Numerous photos in this book relate to things being accomplished by the students to aid the war effort during World War II.
"In an all out effort to aid the war program, students participate wholeheartedly in buying war bonds and stamps. Hi-Y, Froshmore Alliance, and Tower Club sell stamps three times a week in the front lobby."
Bugs Bunny War Bond Drive WW2 Cartoon Played in Movie Theaters. War bonds and Stamps Sold Would Help Pay for the War Effort.
Photos From '43 Whitefish Bay AnnualClick thumbnail to view full-size
Under this picture below was the following caption:
"Sponsoring a drive to collect books and magazines for service camps, the National Honor Society collected 150 books and 650 magazines."
Additional information gleaned from reading my mother's annual continued to be of interest. According to another caption "Junior and senior girls are doing their part in the Civilian Defense program by serving as assistant block leaders. They collect vital salvage from homes in their blocks and distribute pamphlets and questionnaires."
It was the Student Council who was responsible during "The Pearl Harbor Day Drive" for gathering enough money together to actually fund the purchase of two army jeeps! That and their "April Bond Drive" were among their significant accomplishments that year.
This combination word stood for the organization composed of Freshman and Sophomore girls who normally met for recreation as well as social service. The social service part of it had more meaning in this war year.
They sewed articles for the Junior Red Cross and parka hoods for the British War Relief. They also collected used toys and presented children at the St. Rose's Orphanage with Christmas gifts among their other activities and accomplishments.
They also had some fun. It was not all doom and gloom during those high school years just because of the world war. They did have their annual "tea and tag dance."
Societies and Clubs
Just because of the world war it was not all doom and gloom on the home front despite the shrinking numbers of classmates and even instructors leaving the school to join the armed forces. The remaining Whitefish Bay students had plenty of fun and numerous activities to keep them happy and stimulated.
Some of the societies and clubs available to them included the following:
- The National Honor Society
- Quill and Scroll
- Latin Club
- Student Council
- Honor Study Hall Monitors
- French Club
- Spanish Club
- German Club
- Literary Club
- Chess Club
- Library Club
- Tower Staff
- Home Economics Club
- Biology Club
- Shop Club
- Radio Club
- Dramatic Club
- Junior Choir
- Composers' Club
- Senior Choir
- Froshmore Alliance
- Tower Club
- Hi - Y
- Music Appreciation
- Girls' Athletic Association
- Art Club
Selection of Photos Showing Other Whitefish Bay ActivitiesClick thumbnail to view full-size
I was amazed at the number of different athletic opportunities that existed for the Whitefish Bay High School students given the size of the school. A total of 577 students were pictured in this 1943 annual with 79 of them in the Senior Class, 158 in the Junior Class, 168 in the Sophomore Class and the remaining Freshmen numbering 172.
The Milwaukee, Wisconsin area was heavily settled with many people of German heritage back in those days and their Turnverein Clubs may have had some influence with the local school boards as far as encouraging a great number of fun and stimulating activities which included exercise.
These were among the many sports offered at Whitefish Bay:
- Volley Ball
- Spur Club
- Bowling Club
- Field Hockey
Other Sports Related Photos From Whitefish Bay High School, 1943 AnnualClick thumbnail to view full-size
Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin location
High School Buddies
My mother had a lot of fun in high school and one of her good buddies remained as such all throughout their lives.
In fact after Lois Petry married she and her husband became godparents to my brother Jim. My parents also became godparents to one of their children. The kids from each family called the other parents "aunt and uncle." Although it was merely an honorary title we could not have thought of them any more endearingly than if in fact their bloodlines made it so.
This is what was written about my mother's long time buddy.
Her dark eyes and cute grin have won "Pete" many friends. Her four years' work in Junior and Senior Choirs merits real praise. As another Fox Pointer, Lois also enjoyed Home Ec. Club her Sophomore year."
My Aunt Lois went on to become a registered nurse and until she died was a fast and loyal friend to my mother. I intend to pass these high school annuals on to her daughter Julie who will cherish them and pass them down the line to her children.
My Mother as a Young LadyClick thumbnail to view full-size
Of course no one in my opinion could have turned out any better than my dear mother. She always looked on the bright side of things and was a vivacious individual with an infectious laugh. I loved hearing the stories of her childhood and growing up years.
Although she thought that she would have liked to become a nurse her parents dissuaded her from doing so and she instead went to business college after high school. Years later she worked at my dad's Real Estate and home building business so it served her well.
This is what was written about my mother:
Carol's work in shop has given her a lot of fun although she was only one of five girls in that class. We hope that when she graduates she will leave her cheerful laugh to someone of the underclassmen, for the school would be a dreary place without it."
Yes she took shop just for the fun of it. Who knew at the time that she and my dad would hand build the first home that I first remember as a child!
To my dear mother Carol I dedicate this post. Others may also enjoy this 1943 annual to see the fashions worn during the first years of World War 2 at that time in Whitefish Bay.
Do you have old high school annuals?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Peggy Woods