by Mimi Loupe
The social event of Parkside School was held each May to celebrate the arrival of spring. On a day in May, two large maypoles were erected in the school yard, each with colorful streamers attached.
To me, this was absolutely magical. Parents were invited. We wore our best clothes. At the designated time each class walked in single file and took a seat in chairs set up in the school yard. Our principal, Miss Gertrude Whiteside, made a welcoming speech praising our community and its students.
Next, two very elegant Parkside School students appeared and took their places on the upper level of the school yard. They sat in two chairs decorated to look like thrones. The King and Queen of the May had arrived!
In 1938, when I was seven years old, Donny Atkinson was King and Roberta Taylor was Queen. Each class took a turn dancing around the maypole. We sang a few festive songs... I tell you it was an extravaganza. And all presided over by the Queen of the May wearing her best party dress and a crown—an honor to this day, bestowed on very few.
Oh, how I dreamt of being Queen of the May! How she was chosen I never found out. Some say the teachers picked her and it was also whispered that you had to go to dancing school and have curly hair. Now, I could skate with the best of them, but I couldn't dance a step. I didn't know a waltz from a cha-cha. I put dancing on my list of things to do. My mother said I had a natural wave in my hair... If I could have ever won that great honor, I would still be taking bows.
I can not take full credit for all the memories or the photograph above. I was helped by the Queen of the May herself, Roberta Taylor Harvie, and my friend Toshi Ishikawa Brown. I consulted my old friend Roy Thomas, but his only memory is being dragged there by his mother.
The Parkside School May Day event was separate from the large pageant put on by the Parkside District Improvement Club for many years. Does anyone recognize the lady-in-waiting? We'd like to find out!
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Page launched 12 February 2013.