Yesteryear’s Memories: The Vernois
A lot can be learned from a book, a manuscript, or even a small town school yearbook. The Vernois is such an example. The Vernois of 1908 is filled with people, places, and dates that were important to the high school class of that year. It was put together by the senior class and has the usual views of the classrooms, the biology and the chemistry rooms, and the admonition that a lot of the content is rooted in hard work but slanted towards lighthearted fun. It states in the preface that, “often a joke is saddled onto an innocent party for no better reason than he or she is good natured, broad-shouldered, and popular.” No one could ask for a nicer way of looking at their classmates.
With Frank Snyder listed as the president of the board, and James Dickson as principal, the book records some of the teachers like Renzo Muckelroy instructing in science and Silas Echols teaching history. The students have even included their nicknames… fun names like Hood-y, Cackle, Skin, and Poker. It may be a surprise to some, but this 1908 yearbook is loaded with jokes! Short poems about school life and flirting boys and girls; goofy answers given to teachers. One unnamed teacher asked a student, “Who were some of the leading statesmen opposed to the Constitution?”
The answer given by the sober student, “Saint Patrick was one.”
Mr. Echols, the history teacher, asked a certain young girl, “What does bibliographer mean?”
The girl answered unabashed, “Do I look like a dictionary?”
So goes the book. There are reports of the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams, the football team, the drama club, and the pages of hand-drawn cartoons. Poems about slipping on banana peels and songs comparing Mt. Vernon to Benton and Nashville.
All in all, there is much entertainment to be found in this yearbook alone, not to mention the decades of editions of the Vernois. A high school yearbook could just give you a new outlook on young people and