Archive for Wednesday, February 13, 2002

1929 BHS graduates live together at Vintage Park

February 13, 2002

They graduated together as high school seniors.

Now, 73 years later, the trio is together once again, not as high school seniors, but as senior citizens.

Oscar Turner, Hazel Kapelle and Dorothy Barnthouse, all 1929 Baldwin High School graduates, currently live together at Vintage Park.

Even though each one has led a different life in different places, all three of them still remember their days together in high school.

Barnthouse and Kapelle started first grade together at Baldwin, while Turner started at No. 10 school southwest of Baldwin.

Once he reached high school, Turner attended Baldwin High.

"Two neighbor boys and I wanted to go to high school and my parents wanted me to go to high school," he said. "So we rented a house in town and stayed there during the week and went home on the weekends."

Kapelle said Turner didn't always spend his time studying at home.

"They made them think they were going to study," she said, "but they were playing cards there."

But Barnthouse said their class was expected to be studious at school, especially when they were with one of their teachers, who also happened to be the principal.

"She made us sit up and pay attention," she said. "She wanted order and she wanted attention."

"She was a pain," Turner said.

But their class did study the four subjects available English, Latin, ancient history and mathematics.

"We studied algebra the first year and geometry the second," Turner said. "That's the only thing I got any good out of."

He said he wasn't that good of a student.

"I graduated with a grade of 83 and you had to have at least an 80 to graduate," he said. "There just wasn't anything interesting about school."

Barnthouse and Kapelle fared a little better in school.

"Dorothy was a straight-A student," Kapelle said. "In grade school, I had straight As, but when I got to high school I had more fun. but I still got As and Bs."

The class of 1929 was one of the smallest to graduate from Baldwin for several years, Barnthouse said.

"We only had 13 or 14 in our class," she said. "I don't know if it was because more of us flunked out or because there just weren't that many that attended high school."

Turner said he thinks there were more girls than boys in their class.

"What irritates me is I can't remember all the people in class," he said.

But there are some Barnthouse said she would never forget, including her group of best friends.

"We called them the professors' kids because their fathers taught at Baker," Kapelle said. "You probably didn't know that, did you, Dorothy?"

There were some fun times including riding in Turner's new car.

"My dad got me a Plymouth," he said. "I got the choice to go to college or get an automobile and I got the car. I wanted it, very stupidly as I realized later."

Turner was the first in their class to own a car.

"Oh, we thought we were doing something when we got to ride in that," Kapelle said.

After graduation, the three went their separate ways.

Kapelle went to work.

"I got a job right out of high school at the bank," she said.

She worked at Baldwin State Bank for 12 years, she said, before deciding to stay at home in Baldwin and raise her son and daughter.

Barnthouse opted for college after high school.

"I went to Baker," she said. "I didn't have a choice because my dad was a registrar and taught physics there. But I think if I did have a choice, I think that's where I would have gone."

She majored in English and minored in French. After college, she taught school for three years before getting married and raising two daughters and a son.

"We lived in several places in the east," she said. "But when my husband retired, we came back here. This was my hometown. People back east couldn't understand that. They thought I was going to the desert."

Turner took up farming after graduation.

"My dad wanted me to farm, so I did," he said. "But it was during the Dirty Thirties. I'd like to have starved to death."

To make extra money, he said he hauled peaches and heifers from different parts of the country.

"Eventually, I built houses over eastern Kansas, western Missouri and northern Oklahoma and managed to make a living," he said.

During that time, Turner married and raised two daughters and a son on a farm just southeast of Baldwin Junction.

A lot of time has passed since the three Vintage Park residents graduated high school together. They said they never would have imagined living together so many years later.

"I don't think it occurred to us one way or another back then," Barnthouse said. "It's just not something we thought about."

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