I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
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 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, a suburb of Milwaukee, the last time my mother and I were in Wisconsin. It still looks as though it is 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. 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 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 written in all capital letters:
"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 proudly sang that song often, as did many, if not most all, of her other classmates.
Student War Effort During WWII
World War II 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 conflict.
Suffice it to say that almost everyone in our country was involved in small or large ways with the war effort. Included were the students at Whitefish Bay High School. Numerous photos in this book relate to endeavors accomplished by the students to aid the war effort.
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."
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, during "The Pearl Harbor Day Drive," that gathered enough money to fund the purchase of two army jeeps! That and their "April Bond Drive" were among their significant accomplishments that year.
The combination word, Froshmore Alliance, stood for the organization composed of Freshman and Sophomore girls who routinely met for recreation and 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 enjoying their annual "tea and tag dance."
Photos From '43 Whitefish Bay Annual
Bugs Bunny War Bond Drive WW2 Cartoon Played in Movie Theaters. War bonds and Stamps Sold Would Help Pay for the War Effort.
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, Madrigals, Senior Choir, Froshmore Alliance, Tower Club, Hi - Y, Band, Music Appreciation, Orchestra, Girls' Athletic Association, and Art Club.
I was amazed at the number of different athletic opportunities they had for the Whitefish Bay High School students, given the school size. Some 577 students had their pictures 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. Their Turnverein Clubs may have influenced the local school boards to encourage fun and stimulating activities, including exercise.
These were among the many sports offered at Whitefish Bay: Football, Basketball, Volley Ball, Track, Cross-Country, Golf, Tennis, Spur Club, Bowling Club, Archery, and Field Hockey.
High School Buddies
My mother had a lot of fun in high school, and one of her dear buddies remained as such throughout their lives.
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 their bloodlines made it so.
This caption is what is in the album 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 became 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 to her children.
My Dear Mother
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 would have liked to become a nurse, her parents dissuaded her from doing so, and she went to business college after high school. Years later, she worked at my dad's real estate and home building business.
This caption is what is in the album concerning 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 then 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.
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
Comments are most welcome!
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 10, 2021:
I found it fascinating how so many of the students devoted themselves in one manner or another to help the war effort. It was a unifying effort in those days!
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on March 10, 2021:
Peggy W Going back down that memory lane has taught lots about that side of life and at that time. It is an interesting insight and a good history lesson.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 09, 2021:
I also found it interesting to know what the students were doing while in high school during WWII. I would imagine that students in many other schools were doing similar things. It is a piece of history!
Jack on March 09, 2021:
Great memories of your mother. Interesting to know how students were coping with WWII.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on January 11, 2020:
Hi C E Clark,
Thanks for the compliment on this piece. Like you, I thought that it was a very informative way to take a look back at what high school days were like in the 1940s, particularly with a war raging.
It must have been pretty to see those snowflakes! We rarely get to see snow in Houston. Stay warm up there!
C E Clark from North Texas on January 11, 2020:
A wonderful way to remember your beautiful mother, and a lovely tribute to her at the same time. Yes indeed, her inner beauty shows through her eyes.
I have always said no amount of makeup or high dollar clothing can hide who a person really is. One's eyes are the windows into their soul . . .
This article is also a good way for people to learn how things were back in the 40s. Much better and more interesting I think, than most of the textbooks on the subject.
We had a chilly night (and another on the way for tonight) here in N. Texas, and fat sloppy snowflakes starting around 8 AM this morning. Haven't had snow in a couple of years or more. Snowed for a couple of hours and accumulated about 2 inches. Mostly gone now. Just as well as it made for slippery streets, because it was such wet snow. Hope you are warmer down there . . .
Posting this on AH & FB
Robert Sacchi on July 04, 2016:
Yes, high school football in Texas is legend.
Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 04, 2016:
In Texas...football is almost a religion! Most high schools of any size have their teams. :)
Robert Sacchi on June 25, 2016:
Yes, that's another reason not to have a footbal l team. High School Football wasn't big in New York. Our school wasn't the best when it came to school spirit so there was no way to come close to justifying a team.