2007.09.26 Homecoming is history

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

When I received a short note from Morenci teacher Caryn Shaner about homecoming, I suppose I could have tried to discourage her.

She told me the theme for homecoming floats would be Morenci history. The theme is usually something like movies, TV shows, super heroes or board games. Some tiring idea that repeats every few years.

Morenci history, she said. Something different, something that could connect the youngsters with some older folks and help them learn more about their community.

Instead of asking, “Are you crazy?” I said that I loved the idea. I think I used the word delicious.

Then I contacted the local pastors to ask that Caryn be added to their prayer chains.

Morenci history? I challenge you to come up with four significant events in Morenci history that could be translated into a homecoming float for high school classes. Floats generally follow the theme of “Beat Clinton!” or “Trample the Redskins!”

This is the first year for Clinton to compete in the Tri-County Conference and Morenci’s football team will face the Redskins for the final game of the season. Doing anything to the Redskins sounds a little rude. I wish they would come up with a new mascot.

I started thinking about Morenci history and the first thing that came to mind was when the so-called rubber factory burned down—burned twice, actually. Now how can you work the Redskins into that theme? If only we were playing the Madison Trojans that night.

Maybe we don’t need a “Cudgel Clinton” theme this time around. Just show some Morenci history, and the more obscure the better, perhaps.

That meant it was time to contact Jim Whitehouse who really knows that sort of thing.

He remembered the story about Harry Moore and the napalm. He wasn’t sure Harry was involved, but so many stories from that era were about Harry, he said, so he made it a Harry story.

There were a pair of guns next to the monument in front of the auditorium and a couple guys (one of them Harry?) made a napalm-like substance in chemistry class. They packed the gun barrels with it one night, set up a fuse and waited for a passing vehicle, which turned out to be a large truck.

They touched off the fuel and twin jets of fire raged all the way across Main Street in front of the truck. The driver, in an understandable panic, slammed the brakes and the truck jack-knifed in  the middle of the road, doing a much more effective job of stopping traffic than the totally unnecessary stoplight.

The gun barrels were soon filled with concrete, Jim says, and if you don’t believe him, go down to Wakefield Park and check it out.

That might make an interesting float and perhaps his next recollection would, also: the old swaying football bridge across Bean Creek. He remembers when David McVay fell through a rotten plank. Maybe Clinton football players could fall through on a float.

Jim eventually realized that our biggest claim to fame is that Morenci, Ariz., is named after us. Maybe the sophomore class could make a model of the big open pit copper mine. “Send Clinton to the Pit!” or some such nonsense.

I mentioned the float business to my father who thought along the lines of “how it used to be” rather than a specific historical event.

 Maybe the old town band could be replicated with their distinctive hats or perhaps a float could depict forming corn shocks.

I sent a few ideas off to Caryn: making a wrecking ball to destroy old buildings such as the hotel, the mill and the auditorium; depicting the arrival of rail service to Morenci; taming the virgin land with a team of Bulldogs; making a sawmill or a brick factory. Really great float ideas. I almost mentioned Jim’s suggestion about the famous football winning streak of the early 1950s. And that brought to mind the track winning streak and a host of other athletic achievements.

Homecoming is scheduled Oct. 19. Construction begins that week. There must be four historical moments that would work.

Or are they even sticking with local history? I wrote Caryn and asked how things were going. She never wrote back. Did she ever return to school? Is she now just part of Morenci History?

 

  • Cecil
    THE MAYOR—Cecil Schoonover poses with a collection of garden gnomes that mysteriously arrive and disappear from his property. Along with the gnomes, someone created the sign stating that he is the Mayor of Gnomesville. He hasn’t yet tracked down the people involved in the prank, but he’s having a good time with the mystery.
  • Front.rest
    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
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    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.rock Study
    ROCKHOUNDS—From the left, Joseph McCullough, Sean Pagett and Jonathan McCullough peer through hand lenses to study rocks. The project is part of Morenci Elementary School’s summer camp that continues into August.

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