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CITY BEAT: SOME PHOTO ID’S AND UPDATE ON SEARCH FOR DHS/SDHS TROPHIES

 

 

Paul Osborne
Editor/Publisher

     WHILE I was looking through some old photos to use with this week’s “Scrapbook” on local cruisin’ in our city’s past (pages 4 and 5 of print and online editions) I came across the photo of two young women serving as “car hops” at the old Perry’s Drive-In at 22nd and Cantrell streets decades ago.

     Actually, as I remember in shooting the photo, the women were from Junior Welfare, or another local organization, and were re-creating the era of car hops as part of an event they were going to hold. They had some car hop outfits and pretended to be serving a customer in the parking lot of where Steak ‘n Shake was located in 1939 (later Perry’s) as part of creating some publicity for the event.

     Unfortunately, the photo did not have the identities of the two women written on the back and I can’t help but wonder who they were — and where they are today. I shot the photo and used the women’s names when it was published decades ago, but I can’t find the article or the photo ids anywhere. (We didn’t have digital storage back then.)

     Anyhoo, if you are one of the ladies pictured, or know who is in the photo, let me know and I will share the information with our readers.

     • IDENTIFIED! While I am on the subject of identifying people who have been photographed by this newspaper, there was a photo on the front page of one of last month’s (December 20, 2023) editions of girls enjoying the 2001 Christmas Parade in downtown Decatur. The caption read: “These girls captured the excitement of the holiday season. Wonder where they are 22 years later?”

     Well, thanks to an email from one of the girls’ mother, I now have some answers. (The mother sent a photo.) Check out the “then and now” photos and on page 15 of today’s print and online editions.

     • TROPHIES UPDATE — Several weeks ago, Jack Sunderlik, one of the players on the last Stephen Decatur High School state championship basketball team, sent me an email asking about what happened to all of the trophies, plaques and photos that were won by Decatur High School/Stephen Decatur High School over the years. I’ve printed some of the answers I received from readers, ranging from they’ve been destroyed to they’ve been preserved and stored.

     • DURING my regular Thursday appearance on WSOY’s Byers & Co. last week, Brian Byers and I discussed at length the “trophies location” comments and within a few hours of that discussion, it was announced that the trophies had been found — at least some of them.

     Former Mayor Terry Howley was given some of the credit for finding the trophies, but Terry told me: “I had nothing to do with this other than making a call to Craig Bundy at the Keil Bldg. Craig is the Director of Athletics for Dist. 61 and a former student of mine at St T. Craig got in touch with the AD at Stephen Decatur Middle School and she located them in a closet at the school. She found the 4 basketball state championship trophies – nothing else to my knowledge was found. I think most of the other contents of the trophy cases there are long gone when the high school closed in 1998-1999.” Terry also stated “I remember years ago that SDHS had a give-away at the school of awards won to anyone that wanted them for keepsakes. The administration said they would keep the state championship trophies in basketball for posterity. Finding them stuck away in a closet last week makes me sad to think of the lost sense of pride in those achievements years ago.”

     • I HAD ALSO contacted Denise Swarthout, Chief Communications Officer of Decatur Public Schools, who told me: “We have several of the trophies you and Brian spoke about. They were in storage at Stephen Decatur Middle School but now, with folks talking about them, they are headed here to the Keil building to be catalogued and determine how we can best display these trophies. I’ll let you know which ones I’m referring to, as soon as we get them here.”

     I have heard from more than a few people directly involved with Dist. 61 over the past several weeks with different stories about what happened to all the trophies, plaques and photos — ranging from being thrown away to being preserved. So, who was right? It seems there was some truth in what everyone sent to me.

     A caller earlier this week said that some of the DHS/SDHS hardware was in storage at MacArthur, which is what a former teacher at MacArthur told me when I walked with her a few weeks ago.

     Although we don’t know for sure how much of the DHS/SDHS history items remain, we do know that state championship trophies have been found. From all indications, some other DHS/SDHS sports achievements’ memorabilia is long gone. I’ll have an update as soon as inventory is taken of what is left.

     • I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 for the City Hall Insider. Thanks to Brian for helping me generate some answers to an important question through our discussion last week.

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