Memories of Mishawaka

From Marilee Gardner, MHS '54:

The jacket clubs. We DEBS had 18 members; our best friends were THE MATADORS. We all got together on Sundays and played ping pong at someone's house, or in the summer we played softball or football. Then our cheerful happy principal Mr. Myers forbade us to wear our jackets to school.

We had dances after every football game at The Rose Ballroom. None of us ever had rides so we walked from the stadium downtown, then back home again after the dance.

There were soda fountains at all the drug stores.

If we had some extra change, we might go to Kline's at noon for a hot dog or stop at Tribe-O-Rea after school for a cherry coke.

From Mary K. Smith, MHS '55, from her 45-Year Reunion Speech:

We dressed up to go to school and girls wore skirts -- not jeans.

You knew what high school a girl attended by the way she wore her bobby sox. (We wore ours rolled like tubes and stuffed with old nylons.)

We wore hose and flats to school and panty hose did not exist.

Every guy had a pair of gray flannels and a pink shirt.

We took typing, not keyboarding.

From Dave Geyer, MHS '56:

The Mistletoe Ball, often at the Indiana Club or Erskine Country Club, with all the girls in their gowns and corsages.

Pizza on Saturday night at the Volcano.

Tower Hill after the prom.

The Lariat Drive-In on Lincolnway.

Summer FOP baseball leagues at all the Mishawaka Parks.

Summer dances at the Playland Park ballroom.

Playland rides.

The 4-H Fair.

The Blue Sox women's baseball team.

From Jim Lifke, MHS '56:

The White Spot Drive-In located "out in the country" at the corner of Highway 20 and Liberty Drive. Had the best pork tenderloin sandwich around.

The miniature golf course across the highway.

George's Chili Parlor on Main St. in front of Bock's Roller Rink. The best grease chili and hot dogs in Mishawaka.

From Marlene DiFiori, MHS '64:

The Rose Ballroom upstairs (located not too far from to the Tivoli Theatre but before the Ball Band Plant) after ball games where so many dances were held on Friday nights. Very crowded dances. Free, if I remember correctly.

From Pam Weesner, MHS '65:

We entered Mishawaka High School in 1961, the largest incoming freshman class in the history of the school -- Baby Boomers filled the building to overflowing! The first-floor main hall was packed wall to wall with teenagers trying to get somewhere other than where they were. Sometimes it was faster to run up a flight (or two) of stairs, cross the hall and run down a flight of stairs (or, as some of the boys did, slide down the banister) in order not to be tardy.

My senior class home room was the auditorium. There was a huge old dictionary in the back that I used one time to look up diarrhea for the excuse I was writing after skipping the prior day. I thought my goose was cooked when Miss Martin walked right behind me as I bent over to add the troublesome word to the note I was about to hand her!

The closest thing we had to a co-ed gym class was when the boys ran around the track at the top of the gym as the girls exercised on the gym floor far below. We girls hated the shorts we had to wear; they were so baggy and ugly. And we had to sew our names on the shirt pocket and the shorts' hem. No permanent marker - hand stitching!

Mr. Chelminiak writing sentences with fill-in-the-blanks on the blackboards all around the biology classroom; trying to identify different trees, and dissecting a poor dead frog.

Miss Emmy directing the junior and senior class plays. What a blast!

Lunches at Kline's drugstore. The place was packed wall to the walls. Every day I had a hot dog and green river phosphate or a flavored Coke (cherry, vanilla, etc.).

Ratting my hair. Spraying it stiff. Crying before every dance or school picture because it wouldn't do anything I wanted!

From Jerry DeDapper, MHS '65:

I came from St. Monica and had a smaller circle of friends than most. I had general courses, and the teachers I knew and respected most were Mr. Wood, Mr. Armel, Mr. Mamolenti, and Mr. Portolese. I remember Mr. Blue, Mr. Arndt, and even Ms. Cable in study hall in the auditorium. Roger Favorite was my counselor, and I held him in great esteem.

I took lunch at a small mom-and-pop grocery that was two blocks west of the north side of campus. I remember the drugstore mostly because they sold cigarettes one at a time.

I have memories of the greenhouse on the roof and the "new wing." I even got into the clock tower once.

From Kevin Tansey, MHS '66:

Kraft's Drug Store at Mishawaka Ave. and Main where I could get 6 boxes of Good & Plenty's for 25 cents to study with every night.

The Blue Flame Tavern across from Kraft's where they left the side door open at night so you could see the country bands with their white shirts under blue lights.

Luigi's Pizza.

Battell Park tennis courts when they were clay.

From Mark Stephens, MHS '67:

Shopper's Fair, where I got my first catcher's mitt.

McKee's Drug Store on Milburn and Ironwood.

The old museum next to the YMCA, called the Children's Museum. School City of Mishawaka used the museum basement as a storeroom for school supplies.  I remember seeing the brown grade books the teachers used, and stacks and stacks of the terrifying "pink cards."

Merrifield Park -- ice skating on the flooded tennis court and sitting around the bonfire afterwards in the winter; fishing under the bridge.

The rink. I had a memorable experience on the rink/tennis court one winter day when I was in the 8th or 9th grade. I could skate fast; I just didn't stop too well. The common practice was to slide up to the fence near the entrance and grab hold of the fence to stop. I was coming in for a "landing' one day, and as I reached out to the fence, a beautiful girl from the MHS Class of '66 stepped directly in front me. I didn't grab the fence; I grabbed both her breasts instead. Honest to God, I didn't mean to do it. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't talk; I just left the rink.

Merrifield Park tennis court. Friday nights dancing to Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs (c. 1964).

St. Joe River at the Merrifield Bridge. Remember the rope tied to a tree limb on the west side of the bank? It was great for swinging out over the water. That rope was there for years.

The "Blue Daniel" -- the largest hill in the Mishawaka Hills, near Ewing and Ironwood. I used to ski down it with a couple of friends.

The White Spot Restaurant on McKinley.


Returning from Marine Corp boot camp in 1967 and spending the night at the old Mishawaka Hotel just because I wanted to.

From Alice Beard, MHS '68:

Cream-filled cup cakes from Kuss' Bakery.

The colored lights on the snow at the stones, steps, & waterfalls at Battell Park, leading down to the river.

From Mark Greenwood, MHS '70:

A place called Bob's Hobby Shop (located at Main at Lawrence).

That museum next to the YMCA that we were expected to go to on occasion.

Kamm's Brewery.

From Jon Groth, MHS '70:

The old root beer stand next to the high school.  That had to be the best root beer on the planet. 

The corner grocery stores. On the east end, there were Maurie's (at LWE and Home St) and several others, and of course Sara's Market across from Beiger. 

Slow dancing at the Y sock hops.

I spent a lot of my younger years in Little League at a field just east of the Lincoln Highway Inn, built mainly by Mr. DeCloedt with some help from Mr. Creevy and Tom Baiz and several parents. 

From Lora Nicolini, MHS '70:

Kuss's Bakery. I will never forget the glazed donuts that melted in your mouth.

Sadie's hamburger joint on Main Street.

The beautiful old library across from Main Jr. High.

Those of us in orchestra will never forget our beloved Madelin Hackett and her polka dot dresses!

From Robin Lee Hacker, MHS '74:

Shopping at McLellan's and Gerard's.

The downtown stores staying open later during Christmas season.

Princess Bakery made the best everything! Especially their gingerbread men at Christmas -- chocolate chip buttons and eyes instead of yucky raisins!

The smell of Kuss bakery.

The circus was always held at Dodge's parking lot.

Sandy's or Kline's drug store for lunch.

Halloween parties downtown and bats circling the belfry at First Methodist Church

Pier 1 opening at The 100 center. Wow was that exotic!

Indian guides at the YMCA.

From Bonnie Hacker, MHS '76:

Volleyball, sledding, and the fountain in Central Park. (We used to swim in the fountain.)

Merrifield Park and outdoor ice-skating

The first pay toilets at Greyhound Bus Station. (My grandma made me crawl under; she wasn't paying.)

Miss Nettle's store. (She used a razor to cut bonus points from canned goods before you left with them.) A sack of candy for a quarter!

Walking past Ballband to Main Jr. High everyday, saving bus money to stop at Kuss Bakery after school.

The Tivoli Theater.

St. Joseph Hospital and the nuns.

Open lunches at MHS (how cool was that?) and the ala carte line.

From Lora DeFauw, MHS '77:

YMCA dances for the three junior highs on Friday nights. Everyone walked en masse to Bonnie Doon's on 4th Street for cones afterward. If you liked someone, this was your chance to hold hands.

Nice folks from Mishawaka, now gone:

Miss Irma De Bruycker was a Belgium lady on the south side of Mishawaka. She had a little store where children would visit to buy candy and to learn about planets and stars.

Miss Olga Csapo ran a dry cleaning store on Lincoln Way East, west of the high school. Some from MHS would spend their lunch hours visiting with Olga, and avoiding the school cafeteria.

Mr. Martin Felton was a kind man who for many years was the one who kept North Side Elementary operating. He kept the boiler working to keep us warm; he kept the plumbing working; he kept the building spotless, and he was able to fix everything that we broke or wore out.

Mishawaka sites, 1950s and '60s NEXT PAGE >