Tiffany's 101 in 1001

An exercise in futility

The End of an Era…

February 13, 2008 By: tiffany1001 Category: Uncategorized

So again, not much happening on the 101 list (although I did finish 1 of my 35 books – Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson), so I’m going to reminisce again.

This weeks subject – Tyson Auditorium.

Built in 1950 as an addition to the “Versailles School (est 1938)”, Tyson Auditorium has a classic art deco style in light yellow-cream glazed bricks with limestone trim. Inside, concrete bleachers with wooden plank tops are arranged in a U-shape, with a large wooden stage on the west end of the gymnasium. Seating capacity is 1850 (coincidentally this is roughly the current population of Versailles as well). The total construction cost for the auditorium was $178,000 (the cost for the Versailles School was only $130,500 in 1938). Another little known fact is that the 1954 Milan Indians state basketball championship team played all their “home” games at Tyson Auditorium that year, in order to accommodate larger crowds than their own home gymnasium could handle. The South Ripley Raiders have occupied this gym since the school’s establishment in 1966, but the last game for this historical auditorium will be on February 22nd, 2008.

This gets me to thinking about all the memories I have from Tyson… I thought I’d make a random list and hope that my friends and family will add to it with their own memories.

First – I went to elementary school from kindergarten through 5th grade here – so practically all of my childhood school memories are tied to Tyson School & Auditorium.

  • Kindergarten classes were held in “temporary” buildings put on the gravel parking lot next to the Auditorium. There were 2 class rooms, with a set of shared restrooms in the middle (I think). I can distinctly remember waiting in this parking lot for my mom (or someone else’s mom) to pick me up from school and drive me to “Brownies” – you know – the thing before girl scouts. It was common knowledge that the driver of the car must tell you the correct password before you would ever get into someone’s car other than your own parents. We don’t mess around with strangers in Versailles!
  • Playing with my pogo ball in the concrete loading dock ramp during recess.
  • Having Laura count all the freckles on my skin for something like 3 whole days of recess. I think she got close to 3000 before we gave it up.
  • Practicing our “Beach Girls” performances on the old basketball court outside.
  • School carnivals! One special year, I won the cake walk 6 or 8 times and took all these cakes home with me. My friends and I stayed the night at my dad’s house where we ate most of all the cakes and sang beach boys songs all night long. We had to cover one of my dad’s animal “trophies” hanging on the wall because someone was scared.
  • In 5th grade, some famous psychic said that there would be a major earthquake to hit Versailles (we do lie on a fault line, evidently), so we had earthquake drills alot that year. At one point, Ms. Avedesian told us that the drills were pointless and we should just wave to the 1st graders when the floor fell out from under us and we fell to our death. seriously.
  • Also that same year, Mr. Wilson sent me “out to the hall” for the first of only 2 times that I can ever remember being in trouble. Samantha and I were talking too much, so he sent me out there to sit by myself. I think he came and yelled at me later and let me come back into the class.
  • Mr. Maltbie’s art class was in a separate building near the kindergarten buildings. There was a kiln in there to do clay projects.
  • Boys would play kickball on the tennis courts during recess. The girls would make up cheers for them. Stereotypes at their finest.
  • Also on the playground was a set of “logs”. They seemed very large at the time, but were probably something like old telephone poles. These logs were laid end-to-end to make one long line. If you ever got in trouble, you had to sit on “the log” during the whole recess. Samantha and I also had 1 week on the logs for stepping on each others heels in a line one time. Thanks, Mrs. Mills.
  • Mr. Susnick (principal and Megan’s grandpa) and later Mr. Collier’s office was on the top floor with a really high desk that most of the kids couldn’t see over.
  • During PE, one of my favorite memories was of going to the gym, getting everyone around a gigantic piece of cloth cut in a circle, and having us simultaneously lift the cloth up and down… Once it got enough air under it, we took a step in and sat on the edge of the cloth so that we were under a big tent!
  • Learning the “50 States” song in the cafeteria (where we always had music class). I also have a distinct memory of learning “kookaburra sits in the old gum tree…”
  • Having an all-night “book-in” for the whole school in the gym. I can’t remember how old I was, but I’m guessing 3rd grade. We stayed all night at the school and read books. wow.

And now for some other random memories…

  • High School graduation… Megan giving her 1998 tassle to the Bogard twin that graduated with us (his brother, Aaron, I think, graduated on time, in 1995). Singing Onward Christian Soldiers and playing Battle Hymn for the Republic for the last time. Giving my graduation speech.
  • Selling concessions during ball games for sophomore class officers? Making popcorn was the worst!
  • Getting dressed for floor shows in my old 3rd grade classroom. It was also such a frenzy of excitement before the show, and then afterward we were screaming and laughing and talking about how many times we dropped our batons/flags.
  • Cheering for 7th and 8th grade boys basketball games.
  • Keeping stats for the Varsity basketball team junior and senior year.
  • Crowning the homecoming king senior year.
  • Megan announcing Chrissy Copeland the homecoming queen. So much love in her voice!
  • For every ballgame, you know where people will sit… They’ve sat in the same seats for YEARS.
  • Playing in the pep-band for all the home basketball games.
  • Getting free popcorn during the 4th quarter.
  • School dances after basketball games… Waiting for “November Rain” to come on before asking your crush to dance with you… The DJ always played the 8 minute version, so that was the best song! My Dad being a chaperone for all the dances and always being nervous. Someone’s dad watching his daughter kiss her boyfriend after a dance one night (not me!)
  • Watching my sister cheer
  • Helping my dad paint the gym one year when I was really little. I got to paint the cheerleading room! He also accidentally tipped a paint can onto my head and proceeded to wash it out of my hair with gasoline!

Finally – here are some pictures that will have to last forever…

Versailles High School and Tyson Auditorium

Old Tyson

Elementary School Cafeteria


Inside of Tyson Auditorium

Tyson Panoramic

The sun has set on Tyson Auditorium…

Goodbye Tyson

6 Comments to “The End of an Era…”

  1. whoa! I remember those parachute thingies in elementary school. I hadn’t thought of those in forever! I used to LOVE when they pulled that out for the class to make huge mushrooms. The best was sitting in the middle. Ah, memories… :)

  2. Leah Chandler says:

    Memory lane…beautiful. I remember falling on one of those logs when I was pretending it was a balance beam…I busted my chin open and had to get stitches. :( I also remember getting ready for floor shows…all of the nerves…FINAL COUNTDOWN! And I remember homecoming…shiny dress…Jason Henry…One Moment in Time. Tyson will be missed for sure. Maybe I should make my way down there…

  3. Is the game still on? SRHS is having a snow day today…

    I have too many memories to count, but highlights would have to include:
    -floor shows (sheer-to-the-waist, ladies)
    -keeping stats for the boys’ basketball team my senior year
    -elementary Christmas programs
    -pep band (Tiffany and I rocking out to Sweet Child Of Mine)
    -the animal guy who came to the elementary school every year
    -junior high dances (my first kiss)
    -graduations, especially Erin’s (rock on, class of ’93) and my own (1998 – it was hot and I did indeed give my ’98 tassle to one of the Bogan twins. I wasn’t as mean and terrible as everyone thought :))

  4. Greg Halcomb says:

    One of my favorite Tyson memories was the Animal Show where the guy would bring a big snake, and other assorted exotic animals for the whole elementary school to see. At the time I was amazed by the animals themselves, but now I’m more amazed at the liability insurance and permits that the guy must’ve had before he could bring wild animals into an auditorium full of kids.

  5. Well, I’m sure I have a thousand memories, but the ones that stick out now are:
    - trying to do cartwheels kike Leah could on the log
    - cicada season at recess
    - “the man in the woods” and Jeremy coming in from recess one day after he had fallen and scraped his knee, but told us the “man in the woods” shot him
    - in kindergarten, going to school the day kindergarten wasn’t supposed to, but grades 1-6 did have school and having to find my way up all of the stairs to the top floor, trying not to get stepped on by the big kids and trying to get the attention of the secretaries behind that GIANT desk in the office
    - going to basketball practice at Tyson over Christmas break so that we could prepare for the tourney – it was always freezing and the lights took forever to come on all the way
    - waiting on the steps/hallway (even outside once!) so nervously before floorshows
    - boys basketball games/pep band/sitting in the stands
    - our basketball games, especially trying to avoid the dead spot on the floor

    oh, I’m getting sad now…

  6. Patty Cross says:

    Fun memories, Tiffany! I had to laugh when I read,
    “At one point, Ms. Avedesian told us that the drills were pointless and we should just wave to the 1st graders when the floor fell out from under us and we fell to our death. seriously.”
    Kind of reminds me sitting in the hallway with our arms crossed over our heads to ward off the nuclear bomb.


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