Back in the mid 1940’s, Emerson school was quite the gathering place for middle school age boys. I lived on the corner of Ellis and Fremont Streets and was one of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders from Stevens Point schools, who gathered there to play basketball outdoors. Boys from Emerson, Jefferson, McKinley, Jackson, Lincoln, St. Joseph’s, St. Stephens, and St. Peters all came Saturday mornings to play basketball together from 10:00 a.m. until noon.
We’d make up teams on these Saturdays and play against each other. Special friends, Joe Sanks, Chuck Feigleson, Richie Marko, Ken Hurlbut, Dave Hurlbut, Fred Upthagrove and I looked forward to Saturdays! The basketball court was near Reserve Street, east of the school building. When we had free time, we were all shooting from different places on the court, aiming at the hoop at once. When a whistle blew to stop playing and the competition was to begin, all the players scrambled to the corners of the court for just “one more shot.” All the balls were bouncing in and out of the hoop at once!
We had great coaches, men who taught us basketball fundamentals along with fair play and team spirit but most of all, to enjoy the game of basketball. So many good coaches made impacts on all of us and I especially remember ‘Chesty’ Flugaur and Scotty McDonald. Several of us went on to play varsity and intramural basketball in high school at P.J. Jacobs, and even played at the collegiate level. Learning the game of basketball at this young age prepared us for life — and these years at Emerson playground along with great coaches was our ticket to that life.
Our Saturday morning basketball program changed drastically back then as a new program started up in Wis. Rapids at St. Peter & Paul school. This program was only including catholic boys so our players from St. Joseph, St. Stephens and St. Peters joined this new program — protestant boys were unable to join. This division among the schools wasn’t the best move for many of us but we players have remained good friends into adulthood and retirement years.
Emerson School was a GREAT place to grow up with friends!
Dick Cable (1933-2022) | Student at Emerson School 1945-1947
When 5th graders were leaving the old Jefferson School back in 1955 and moving on to the next grade, it was a very BIG deal to move to Junior High and a new building. That was my experience… and, my dearest friends and I felt so important and grownup going to Emerson Junior High School.
My memories outdoors, on the playground are not many — my memories are indoors, remembering the building and the classrooms — the beautiful, marble, wide stairwells and the smooth banisters. Kids would pass going up and down the steps with plenty of room to spare.
Changing classes by changing classrooms was another BIG deal — we loved that. Very large windows on the north and south sides of the building, let in much enjoyed morning sunlight every day. My music class with Mrs. Kautz, was on the south side of the building and her piano playing and our singing, was a joy.
I had some classes on the northside of the building too. One huge memory I have in my math class with Miss Mrytle Borgstrom in 1956, was the day I became Aunt Judy for the first time. Little Debra Lynn Cable was born to my brother, Bill & his wife, Virginia (Fischer) Cable. For some reason I felt quite entitled to ‘show off’ and talk incessantly that day during the class because of this newfound thrill in my life!! I was soon called up to the blackboard by Miss Borgstrom, fully embarrassed and scared to death to tell the entire class about my newborn niece!! I think Miss Borgstrom wanted me to tell the story and then be quiet!!! I don’t remember how that went, but it was truly, a monumental event in my young life!! Now, Debra Cable Dean is 66 yrs old and my memory of her birth is still like yesterday – in my 7th grade math class at Emerson Junior High!
The gymnasium was in the basement, and we attended gym glasses there along with school dances. I remember the girls’ locker room and showering for the first time with other girls my age – and experiencing shyness. Oh, growing up wasn’t always easy… My favorite school dance was our 8th grade dance. The young man I was sweet on, asked me to this dance — Tom Razner escorted me from my Ellis Street home to the dance and like all our friends, we did the box step in fine fashion, that we learned in gym class. I remember singing “Graduation Day” with friends, Nancy Moberg and Myrna Cornwell harmonizing for the crowd and promising myself I’d ALWAYS REMEMBER this memory – and I have! On the walk back home after the dance, Tom stopped me on the corner of Ellis St and Reserve St, (a block from my house) and planted a quick, sweet kiss on me — this monumental, 1st kiss of my life, and his, I DON’T REMEMBER!! Now, how can this be?? Obviously, Tom’s memory is better than mine! He and I have a very special relationship to this day.
The auditorium was a lovely, large room with velvety seats and a nice-sized stage. Whenever the student body was to get immunizations for various illnesses, we assembled in the seats and were called up to the stage where city nurses administered the shots – a fearful day for many of us. I remember getting my TB test there and worried all the way to school that morning. Our school plays were held there too, and what fun they were! Although memorizing parts was new to many of us, we learned so much about the theatrical world by having a part in a play at Emerson. Our Principal, Mr. Ben Held, was a firm yet understanding man of good principles – he’d address the student body in this auditorium, always reminding us to ‘bear this in mind!’
A huge event held in this auditorium years before I was born, was the performance of Madam Schumann-Heink, a world-renowned opera singer who had family ties to the Stevens Point area. Newspaper stories carried her visit and performance all over the country. I was happy to know the Emerson High School auditorium at that time, was the perfect venue for an international star to perform in our town.
Emerson Junior High was a very special place — those formative years were major to our maturing and getting us ready for high school and beyond. Many friendships made during these years remain to this day because many classmates stayed in this area, found careers here, married and raised our families all the while, remembering the good old days of Emerson Junior High.
Judy Cable Anderson | Student at Emerson Junior High 1955-1957
Being a young man that lived just down the block from Emerson School, I recall playing Buckets and just hanging out with friends. Playing basketball was one of those things. I remember playing outside in the summer but when winter came of course it got cold and we couldn’t play basketball.
So one day my friends and I decided to look for indoor accommodations. Well here is a gym right in front of us. You might have called the leader in me the Leader of the Pack. We walked around the school looking for an entrance. I tried one of the doors hoping one might be open. And Bingo! The door closest to Clark Street was unlocked. We walked in and went downstairs because that’s where the entrance to the gym was.
We found a ball in the gym and agreed that the ball couldn’t hit the floor because the janitor would hear us, so we took turns having guys stand on each side of the basket to catch the ball so it wouldn’t alert the janitor that someone was in the gym.
Well it worked for awhile until someone didn’t do their job and dropped the ball. We waited a bit to see if the janitor heard us. No one came so we started shooting again. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a movement and . . . busted. There stood the janitor. He wasn’t mad but calmly said ‘You kids can’t be in here.’
So we left. But that didn’t stop us. A few days later we tried it again. The doors were locked this time. Not sure how we got in a second time, but I think there was a window that was unlocked, so the Leader of the Pack did his job again. All for naught, the gym doors were locked this time and the doors were chained.
These are fond memories of the old gal (Emerson). Then there were sanctioned basketball games between all schools. Coaches I remember are Ed Lemancik and Neil Fuller
Thomas Razner | Student at Emerson Junior High 1955-1957