The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


In August, members of the Clay High School Class of 1946 got together for a reunion held at Christ Dunberger American Legion Post 537 in Oregon.

Among the attendees were Joanne Lutz Shanks, Joyce Siewert Kelly, Marilyn Phillips Brossia and Doris Phillips Hartman. The four shared a special bond, (other than the fact that Marilyn and Doris are sisters). Back in 1942, the four held the distinction of being Clay’s first majorettes.

“Three of us attended Coy School together,” Joanne Recalled. “Joyce came in the seventh grade. She belonged to a drum and bugle corps.
“Another girl, Ruth Drake and I watched her twirl the baton and thought it was real neat,” Joanne said.

When the girls’ music teacher Ralph Runyan, who was also the Clay band director, learned about their interest in becoming majorettes when they got to high school, he encouraged them to go for it.

When Ruth moved, Doris’ sister Marilyn joined the squad. “We were the leaders of the marching band,” Joanne said. “There was no stadium in those days – it was built in the `50s.”

Games were played right after school on a grass field between two corn fields, she recalled. Students sat on wooden benches.

“These were the war years,” she said. “Times were tough. “Gas was 12 cents a gallon, the speed limit all over the country was 35 miles an hour.”

The Clay majorette squad participated in various parades and performed at the old Swayne Field ballpark in Toledo for different occasions, Joanne said.

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