Civic Center Holds Sock Hop

The caption for this July 1, 1967, Missourian Youth Page photo reads, “There was fun for swingers and non-swingers alike at the Civic Center’s Sock Hop last weekend. Caught frozen in poses during the “stop the record” dance are, in the foreground, David Vann and his sister, Miss Peggy Vann, both of 437 rear North Middle; behind them are Ronald Conners, 620 LaCruz, and Miss Gwen Sides, 807 Ranney. Miss Sides is chairman of the center’s Youth Council.

(Click on any photo to make it larger.)

Non-swinger Deborah Allen

The photo was paired with this one:  “In a quieter corner (but not too far from where the action is), Deborah Allen, wearing a cast on her ankle, catches up on the current gossip with Miss Sylvia Duncan, left, and Miss Evelyn Hardimon.”

Civic Center registration desk

At the registration desk, James Hughes, left, 1706 South Sprigg, and Lloyd Francis Williams, Vine Street, exchange greetings; Miss Lucille Mosley, 1013 North Middle, signs up Miss Margaret Williams, Vine Street, as a Civic Center member.”

Gwen Sides covered the sock hop

Gwen Sides, chairman of the Civic Center Youth Council, wrote this account of the evening for The Youth Page. [I was editor of The Youth Page and I see some stuff I should have caught. Overall, though, Miss Sides did a much better job covering this story than a lot of our student reporters.]

“You should have been there,” said Miss Joy Jackson, 906 South Ranney.”

“It was a blast,” agreed Miss Brenda Colon, 513 South Frederick.

Their comments came after a membership dance held last Saturday at the Cape Girardeau Civic Center, 1232 South Ranney, by the center’s newly formed Youth Council.

 Sock hop without stocking feet

Though it was planned as a sock hop, nobody came in stocking feet – even though Miss Deborah Allen, 920 North Middle, came minus one shoe, with a cast on one leg, hurt in a gym accident at school. She seemed to have a good time, even though she couldn’t join in the dancing.

The dance was designed to get members for the Civic Center, and it succeeded; we now have 72 members.

 Street dance and carnival planned

The Youth Council now is making tentative plans for a street dance and carnival to be held later this summmer on the playground area just north of the center. The lot was purchased for the center by Alpha Phi Omega, service fraternity at State College, and has been graded and readied for playground equipment.

At Saturday’s dance, the chaperons were Mr. and Mrs. Ed Mosley, 1013 North Middle. Mrs. Herbert Gaden, 1624 South Sprigg, acting director of the Civic Center, also was in attendance.

 Balloons bustin’ out all over

Balloons were bustin’ out all over, as the boys broke balloons tied around the girls’ ankles while they were dancing. Miss Jackson and Jim Clemons, 320 rear South Fountain, won the balloon dance.

After the first dance, couple were  “rematched” in a puzzling game – with real puzzles. Girls drew part of a picture from one bowl; the boys drew the other halves of each puzzle from another bowl, then they had to find the holder of the missing half of their picture, who would then be their partner for the next dance. Miss Alice Sides, 919 North Frederick and Robert Estes, 1011 North Middle, were the first to match the puzzles.

 Open for 13 through high school

Winners of the “Stop the Record” dance – a variation of the child’s game of “Freeze” – were Miss Vickie Sides, 419 North Street, and Roland Conners, 620 LaCruz, who were able to stop motionless every time the record stopped. This is the first time the group has played games at a dance.

The Civic Center is scheduling a social each Saturday night from 8 to 11. From now on, admittance to the dance will be by membership card only. (The cards are available from Youth Council members or the center director, for 25 cents.) Membership is open to young people from age 13 through the summer after they complete high school. Dress at the dances is casual.

New South Cape blog

I’m not the only one looking at the 1960s in Cape Girardeau. There’s a new blog called South Sprigg Memories, Growing up on the wrong side of town.

Here’s the writer’s description: “Welcome to Sprigg Street Memories! My name is Darla June Franklin. My maiden name was Yow. This blog will be my place to re-live old memories and introduce you to the people who lived near me in the South Sprigg Street neighborhood of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.”

She writes movingly of the culture divide between the black and white communities from the perspective of a white girl growing up in a mixed neighborhood in South Cape in the early days of integration. She offers some interesting perspectives and her column has found its “voice” more quickly than most I’ve read.

I encourage you to stop by. I’m hooked.

23 Replies to “Civic Center Holds Sock Hop”

  1. This center must be very near where I lived at 1240 South Sprigg. I spent lots of time on Ranney Street. The Kelley family lived in the 1200 block of Ranney, as well as my buddy, Brenda Stafford. Hilderman’s grocery store was on the corner of Ranney and Hackberry. I haven’t been back there for a very long time but am hoping to visit this fall before the snow flies. I am sure it is going to look very different. I wonder if I can even get there? Where is Sprigg blocked off, anybody know?

  2. Darla, i didn’t live in your childhood neighborhood but I remember you from my 60’s shared teen years. I don’t think I had the pleasure of ever meeting you but I can see your pretty face & smile the few times or paths crossed. The first part of your blog that I read was about learned prejudice! I was born in Cape but my family moved to Memphis when I was starting 2nd grade. We lived in Memphis about 3 years & then moved to the Bootheel, then Jackson MS. We lived about 2 months in Jackson, at the exact time Meredith had the south especially MS riotous over his admission into Ole MS University. Blacks or “Coloreds” were basically submissive to their white inflicted low status in society & would not cross a street if a car was in sight for fear of their lives at the time. Rebel flags adorned many cars & National Guard Troops guarded the State Capitol! We lived in the county & although my Dad (non

  3. continued…Catholic himself, insisted my younger brother & I, attend Catholic School an hours school bus ride to our school. We not only paid tuition but bus fare every week. It was a public school bus that we shared with wealthy kids that attended a Jr High not far from our school. We had a school appointed student monitor watching over our behavior but the public school students would put the windows down & yell racist slogans & remarks at any black person they saw along our route home! The bus driver never reprimanded them! The bus would drive back into a beautiful housing area with big, beautiful homes, & waiting at the edge of the drive at many of these gorgeous houses were uniformed black maids! In the mornings they waited with the little children by the hand for the bus. The same young men that spat hate out the windows went home to be greeted by black women that probably had them in their care most of their lives…how can they consider them less than if they were enough to give them charge of the most valuable of their assets…their children! Your blog summoned many memories we share as children of the 60s, God Bless you. By the way, Brenda & I are both graduates of the Central Class of ’67 & are linked in other memories as well!

  4. Everyone looks so young!!! I had completely forgotten about the old time cola machines where one slid bottles along the maze to get them out.

  5. Don’t recognize anybody, but I should have been there looks like fun! Buy I had graduated and probably thought I was too old for that bunch!! 🙁 Silly me!

  6. I grew up on South Ranney Street and South Sprigg Street-601 S. Sprigg St. Went to May Greene School from 1960-1966. Wonderful memories and I always remember having “colored” friends. Skin color did not matter to me they were my friends! Graduated from Cape Central High in 1972. Darla, your brother was probably in the same class as my sister, Dorrliss Hale, we always called her Cisy.

  7. A legend from 60’s Central was the Goat Roast. The last vision I have of the event is Darla waving good-by as those in autos headed back down that long Bollinger county gravel road.

    The troopers and deputies passed us on their way in. Could someone confirm that the law rolled bikes into the river to get those who stayed to come out of hiding?

  8. Darla,
    I remember you as a fellow ’68 classmate, from homeroom to Teentown, Capaha park & the pool. If I remember right, you ran around with Wanda Stinnett, Kathy Roberts and a Richardson girl who I believe lived on Benton Street behind the Lutheran school.
    I had cousins, Mike & Lynn who lived on Walnut in the South Cape area. We visited them frequently. I look forward to catching up with your memories on your new

  9. Darla, I remember the May Greene School days. Like you, I cherished my colored friends. There was never a racial problem. You mention Brenda Stafford. Brenda, Married a good friend of mind (Danny Narsh) and lives in Houston, Texas. Her sister, Barbara married Terry Kitchen And lives in Cape Gir. Mo. Also, I noticed Lloyd Williams in one of the photos, he’s getting the Taylor twins e-mails and I’ll be posting them soon.

  10. Darla, you brought back some good memories reguarding Charlie Dietiker. What a great man! He planted a lot of seeds and I’m sure God’s rewarding him.

  11. Dear Darla,
    Thank you so much. My sister, Alice Sides Mason, just emailed me the blog. I am coming to the Vine Street Connection reunion in July. Are you coming? My cousin Mary Margaret Williams Lacey is involved with it. I hope you come so I can give you a hug. Where did you dig up the photos? I know that took a lot of research. Do you think Margaret could get copies of things to post at the event? God Bless you for having the mind, and heart to do this. Gwen Sides Julian P.S. Many people at Central may remember me as Sue Sides because at that time I didn’t like my name Gwendolyn because it was so different. Now, I love it because it is different. It is funny how age, time, and wisdom makes a change in the life of people. I love you for taking the time to think enough of African-Americans in Cape to research the material. Did you see the movie The Help? If not, please go see it. Well, I must try to get some rest because I must go to work in the morning, (smile) but I couldn’t sleep so I decided to check my personal email which is something I don’t do like I should because after working on the computer at work on a daily basis that is the last thing I want to do (smile). Love and I hope to see everyone at the Vine Street Connection in Cape. I believe it is July 20 or 21 at some convention center close to the Auburn Place Hotel. God Bless everyone for such warm comments, Gwen Sue Sides Julian

    1. Dear Gwen!

      What a great moment for me. I was just talking about you to a mutual friend (Patricia Jones-Amos) today and yesterday, about yesteryear. You sent me a introductory letter when you was writing a book (1999) during your years in the Chicago area. I still have the manuscript, and other articles you sent me. We must talk. I’m on Facebook. Take care! God Bless.

  12. Good Morning,
    Darla thanks so much for the blog! Madeline Webb is coordinating a Vine Street Connection event this summer and if you would get it on the blog that would be great! It will be at the Plaza by Ray’s in Cape Girardeau, MO. IF anyone needs a hotel room there is a block setup at the Auburn Place Hotel & Suites just call and ask for the Vine Street Connection group block to get the discounted rate. It would be wonderful to see all of our white friends join the event. It is 2012 now and we can party together. I look forward to seeing you there!



  13. Hi! to so many friends and school mates. I am a May Green school kid and a Former south Cape resident. I attended the tail end of the Vine-Street connection and saw faces of people I hadn’t seen in over 40 years. I cherish the memories and the pictures that remind me how blessed I am to have known so many of you. The Wrens, Williams, Wards,Sides, Lipes, Crites, Kellers, Dietikers, and yes I remember Darla Yow, and Betty Harris.The Taylors and connors and Griffiths as well. Thanks for the pictures Ken.

  14. Gwen Sides, remember our time at St. Mary’s. Just a few years ago. Good to see you are doing well. Are you on facebook?

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