Some other fun facts:
- There was indeed an edition of the school paper
that was burned. There was a positive review of "Midnight
Cowboy", which was R-rated and very controversial at the time.
Also, a letter to the editor criticized the class of 1971 as
being rowdy hooligans. The principal said those article
reflected badly on the school, and had all 2500 copies of
the paper literally burned before distribution. (This was a
Roman Catholic school, Monsignor Bonner, which is still there
today. In my time there were about 2500 students, today there are
"Midnight Cowboy" became a classic and made the careers
of the principal actors. But the bigger story is that the letter
about the Class of 1971 turned out to be very accurate.
In those days, our high school and all the other high
schools in the diocese of Philadelphia had their graduations in
Convention Hall, because it was big enough to hold the graduating
classes of 800+ and their families.
The Class of 1971 was so rowdy at their graduation
that, for the first and only time in the history of graduations
there, our high school was banned from Convention Hall. They
couldn't do anything to the Class of 1971, so they punished us,
the Class of 1972, by not letting us graduate there.
Instead, our graduation was held at the Sun Oil Recreation
Center in Feltonville, PA - which is a much smaller hall.
Graduates were given 3 tickets for their families, which meant
parents and maybe one sibling could go. The Sunoco people knew
why we were there, and had lots of their people on hand, just in
case, even though the Class of 1972 was nothing like the Class of
Our response to this was typical (for us, anyway).
While waiting outside the hall for things to start, one of
us began to sing the Texaco song ("You can trust your car, to
the man who wears the star...") over and over. Soon all 600
of us were singing it. The Sunoco people, and the faculty,
were not amused.
For some reason, the procession hymn chosen for
the ceremony was "Amazing Grace", which very
few Catholics knew in those days, it being a
"Protestant" hymn. So we had to learn it in the days
preceding graduation. But they made a mistake in the lyrics
- or maybe it was a prank by whoever typed up the sheets.
"Through many dangers, toils and snares"
was printed as
"Through many dangers, oils and snares"
Which is exactly what all 600+ of us sang as we entered the
hall. Several times, in fact, because there were so many of us
that it took a couple of playings to get us all into the hall,
and then we wouldn't stop until we'd gone through all the verses
Given the ownership of the hall, that typo can not have
been a coincidence.
I'm not a Catholic anymore - in fact, one of the ironies of
parochial schools is that so many of their graduates left the
73 de Jim, N2EY