Floating

A football game and a dance in one day equals high school Homecoming. During the 1960s, each class at Immaculate Conception high school in Elmhurst, Il built a float for the parade to herald the game and the dance.

Float-making offered more competition than the game or dance, although narrowed looks about fashion choices happened at the dance, given we wore uniforms every day that wasn’t homecoming.

Mr and Mrs. Addison let us build our freshman float on their driveway, upping the popularity of their freshman daughter who was suffering from advanced shyness at this time. Mr. Addison was a lawyer and knew how to sway in his favor.

We worked at night because it wasn’t fun to make tissue-paper flowers during the day. Repetition needs something like darkness to enhance it. This was particularly true among boys in our class. They liked to do everything at night. They might have liked school better if it was surrounded by night. I don’t know.

We made an animal of some kind. It might have been a badger, maybe a tiger. On the float truck, it resembled road kill. This illustrated its crushing defeat under the boot of Immaculate Conception’s mascot…a shining armor KNIGHT.

We took liberties. Our official freshmen mascot was a PAGE. According to history, KNIGHTS start out as PAGES serving the KNIGHTS. They polish armor and fetch things; but we took liberties and proclaimed ourselves KNIGHTS up front, before earning the right.

We tissue-papered chicken wire to assemble a pop-eyed KNIGHT stomping our opponents’ mascot. Tom Chadwick suggested we shower the float with red tissue to simulate bloodshed. This was vetoed by Mrs. Addison. She was robustly tall with very small feet so she tottered; but her command was unassailable. We surrounded the vignette with white, like a cloud. It was her driveway.

 

 

 

 

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About Mrs. Fitz

Hello! I'm Michele Fitzpatrick, a Chicago writer. Like our town, a work in progress. As a journalist, teacher and writing coach I think all of us live our stories and sharing them creates moments that remind us we're connected. And that is enough.
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