Freedom Elementary has a '50s party

April 02, 1995|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

A packed house at Freedom Elementary rocked to the beat of 40-year-old songs.

The Eldersburg school kicked off its 40th anniversary Thursday with a nostalgic review of the 1950s, performed with appropriate coolness by the third grade.

About 125 8- and 9-year-old children became foot-stomping, finger-snapping teeny-boppers, swaying to the music, popular in era when their parents were the students.

"These kids are really grooving," said Dave Anderson, a third-grade teacher and Freedom faculty member for 23 years. "They sing the songs while walking through the corridors. It may just be the start of a revival of the '50s."

"A beautiful new school named after a voting district opened in Carroll County in 1955," said the young announcer. "The fabulous '50s are really special to all of us."

The girls pulled their hair back into ponytails tied with net scarves. They donned poodle skirts, bobby socks and Keds.

Laura Hunsicker got the saddle shoe look by painting part of her shoes blue.

Allison Radoci had to reach a little further back than her own attic for her flared skirt with the poodle emblem.

"This was my grandmother's," she said.

The guys didn't have to look as far. They wore white T-shirts and denim jeans.

"Looks like our clothes stayed the same," said Josh Lapps, who pulled out the ultimate accessory, a pocket comb.

"Sunglasses, that's what gives me the look," Daniel Robinson said.

Stephen Engler rolled his short sleeve around a pack of candy cigarettes. "My dad said every guy did that," he said.

Men's hairstyles fell into three categories, said Stephen: "Guys' hair then was greased, crew cut or like Elvis'," he said. But he stuck with his '90s "do."

At WFES Radio, "Wolfman" Ariel Canter manned the console. Live performers delivered the top tunes.

Boys in hard hats swung shovels and opened the show to the strains of Tennessee Ernie Ford's "16 Tons." A bevy of beauties sang a soulful plea to "Mr. Sandman."

While their classmates belted out the lyrics to "Yakety Yak," a quartet of boyish voices chimed in with: "Don't talk back."

News and sports briefs, timely commercials and gossip from "Hedda Hooper" interrupted the hit parade.

Miss Hooper -- Amy Stickel -- reported that Disneyland opened the same year as Freedom Elementary, and led a stirring salute to Mickey Mouse.

The Mouseketeers of South Carroll, complete with traditional ears, sang "M-I-C . . . see you real soon . . ."

And, the dancing got everybody going. Couples twirled, twisted and jitterbugged.

"I sorta like dancing with girls," Josh said.

"All you need to do is turn and twist," said Daniel.

Mr. Anderson said he had no difficulty finding dancers.

"The boys were just as enthusiastic as the girls," he said.

With metallic shades and slicked-back hair, Mike Marquis wore the coolest dude look.

He led the dancers as they rocked around the clock and did a Travolta-like stroll past a double line of rock 'n' rollers.

He combed the audience for another partner and came back with the school secretary, herself a child of the '50s.

"It was a little hard twirling an adult, but it was fun," said Mike. "Besides, it was Miss Bea who taught us to jitterbug."

Bea Mathias, who admits to having been a teen at the dawn of the '50s, said she thoroughly enjoyed her dance with young Mike.

"I loved the whole program," she said. "As far as I'm concerned, the '50s was it. The kids did such a great job."

Mr. Anderson finished the program with a slide show of the school today.

Music from the "Lion King" played in the background.

As the children viewed pictures of their classmates and teachers, many sang, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight?"

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