Jan Benson's walk down "Memory Lane"


I can remember the re-run of that Riverview saga done in July of 1962 when a total of 8 of us went to Riverview again on the bus all the way down Western Avenue - Well, it was a gorgeous, hot day, and Riverview was really crowded.  I had a $20.00 bill with me, and my parents said that if I wanted, I didn't have to come home with any change - boy was I ever rich that day.  The funniest thing I can remember about ever going to Riverview in my entire life was this day going on the TUNNEL OF LOVE ride 4 girls and four guys (not madly in love, but paired off, nonetheless).  Each guy and a girl sat in a seat going into the tunnel - but in the tunnel we had the bright idea to change seats - coming out of the tunnel with someone else than we went in with.  We wanted to see if the operator would notice.  We said - we'll ride again, please.  He said OK and away our boat went.  In the tunnel again we exchanged seats and came out with another coupling.  He, again, didn't seem to notice, and we rode again.  The fifth time we came out of the tunnel we were two guys, two girls in each seat!!!!!  He laughed and laughed and laughed.  That would never happen in 2011!!!!


I can also remember the Senior Prom on June 5, 1964 at the Hotel Continental (brand new at the time).  I don't know one couple - not one couple, who came to the Prom in a limousine!!!!!!  The truth is - most of the guys didn't even own their own cars at that time, either.  Thus, we went to the Prom in our father's cars.  My father, actually, took the bus to 400 North Albany in North Chicago on Saturday, June 6, 1964 so that my boyfriend could have his car for us to go to the Dunes the morning after the Prom.  For the Prom night - Vern Scarpelli's dad gave us his car and Vern drove that night.  After the Prom, we didn't go to hotels or summer cottages that night, instead we went out to what we thought were exotic, fancy restaurants for dinner.  Granted, I got so sick on the food, but boy did we think we were cool to go out to Villa Venice in the Western suburbs for the dinner and "gondola" ride up some dirty water trench out back of the restaurant - AND, at 3:00 A.M. we all met at the White Castle on 71st and Western to dance in the parking lot!  Amazing that even after 45+ years that was still the coolest date I think I ever went on.  Now, you all can think back on the Prom and all the fun you had that night.  I think you will find that very few of us can say that we didn't thoroughly enjoy PROM 1964-Theme: "Stairway to Heaven" 

Jan Benson Greco

In thinking again (or still) about our 4 (or more-or less) years together, I cannot stop a journal from forming in my head.  I always was extremely wordy - but here goes anyway - Von - use it if you like or delete it if you want - that works.  Thanks for thinking of this idea - I think it is so cool.


I cannot get past December 26th any year without remembering fondly every one of the MISTLETOE MADNESSES at Willowbrook Ballroom!  I think that for four years the holidays took a back seat to "Mistletoe"!  It was always colder than a witches ---, but we traipsed through snow and sleet and ice to get to Willowbrook and play dress-up for one night!  Girls wore 3 inch (the 5 inch heels of today), and guys wore tightened ties and very tight dress shoes and danced all night long!  Again, like Prom, it was out to dinner at some nice restaurant after the dance and home in the wee hours of the morning. 


What about Career Day at Calumet High School?  Since so few of us had cars in high school (I certainly was a have-not), we took the Jolly Green Giant (CTA) and went to Calumet High School for a day in April - where we saw presentations of occupations - and presentations of colleges who wanted to enlist students for the future!  Boy, was I ever impressed with the presenters - DAH!  I was such a naive person then (and Now!).  I felt that we had a day off of school, but I guess if the fact be known, that day was more informational than any other while we were in high school.


Homecoming is something that high schools take for granted, but we went, remember to a brand new high school, and until we were juniors there was really no one to "Come-Home"!  That first Homecoming was really a blast!  The parade, the game, and the dance were all so new to us - just like the high school we attended, that we didn't know what to expect.  Having taught in a high school for 30+ years, kids today go to the Homecoming and Prom, etc., in large groups - not necessarily as a couple(date) situation.  I think that has its pros and cons, but I was fortunate enough to always have a date to go to this stuff, whereas, if you didn't have one in the 60's you would not have been able to go and have all the fun that we had. 


How about the first year we (POMS) participated in the St. Patrick's Day parade - it was colder than ever and sleeting the entire day.  We had worked so hard to make new pom poms which took about 3 hours a piece (NO, we could not just order and buy them, like the kids do today) to make!  Well, it meant that not only did we freeze walking down the street, smiling and our legs turning blue, but the crepe paper kept on running the color on our white short skirts that either we or our mothers' made for us(AGAIN, homemade - not purchased) with kelly green dye that would NEVER come out of the white cotton skirts!  We didn't even care that we were frozen, we were so high on being in the parade, that who cared!


How about the first time we played a basketball game at REAVIS High School - boy was that ever stepping out of our comfort zone!  I felt like we were in a foreign country and they were the "bad boys"!  The silly school wasn't more than 2 miles aways from Bogan but they were not in Chicago - so they were FOREIGN!!!!  It was December 7, 1963 - and the Four Seasons even had a song about that date years later!!! LOL


What about the "BLUE DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP" we played in football?  And, then what did they do - not play it on a Saturday, oh no, they played it after school one day - the poor football players were probably "pooped" before they began, but no, they were "pumped" and so were we as fans!  God, did we think we were NFL Champions just being able to play there!!!! 





History was in the making in our minds at Bogan!!!!!  From the first days we went there with the school colors being Bronze and White, to the changeover to ORANGE AND WHITE, we started a high school that stands to this day - and those of us who went to the school last year and toured it, saw that it is in AWESOME SHAPE! 

I'm sure I will think of so much more, and you can use, dump, or just read and laugh, but I had to share my memories, because as I become more and more dementia-ridden, I still have the best memories of 1960-1965!!!!!!!  We really did have the best high school and friends EVER!  Love ya all!   JAN