Friday, May 20, 2005

Time Capsule: 1955

May 31, 1955 - Fifty years ago John Bellairs graduated from Marshall High School. According to the MHS yearbook, the Dial, he spent two years in the Latin club and the Chess club for all four years of high school. Dubbed "Genius John," the yearbook says his future included attending Notre Dame and studying pre-law. Only half of that came true: Bellairs did live in South Bend for four years but focused his attention on English literature and, during his senior year, becoming a minor television celebrity.


Matthew said...

I have a copy of that edition of The Dial. It formerly belonged to a girl named Ann Hitchens. John Bellairs signed it "To next year's editrix. Be good to pore li'l Yancey. / Good Luck / John Bellairs"

Yancey was Ann's boyfriend, and one of John's high school friends. It reads like they all used to hang out at Hitchen's Drug Store in Marshall. (Though I'm sure you saw that in The Dial, yourself.)

From what I gather from a half dozen or more autographs referring to it, the "editrix" bit had to do with Ann Hitchens' being the future editor of the 1956 Dial.

I believe Marshall must have been a little slice of Heaven in 1955. It isn't half bad today, but I love thinking about it back then.

Telly said...

A television celebrity?

bellairsia said...

Well, a very, very minor celebrity. You can read more about John’s escapades during the G.E. College Quiz Bowl in our South Bend section (or do a search for “college bowl” on our site’s front page) but it has to do with his ability to effortlessly quote from Chaucer’s Prologue to the Canterbury Tales on national television. It’s a good story.

As to the yearbook, yes, we did see Yancy, a few members of the Thunder family and some other familiar names. The Bellairsia reference room consists of the 1951, 1953 and 1955 Dials, the last one being the only one with a photo of John that we can tell – and they all small like Bounce dryer sheets, probably in part that each came with a few tucked in the front and back covers. There’s another photo of John helping with the student newspaper from the 1955 edition that we might get around to sharing with others in time.

Thanks for writing.