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Sunday, November 8, 2020

Fond memories of Tivy pep rallies in downtown Kerrville

Tivy High School downtown pep rally, autumn 1956.
Car experts, please see note below. *
Click on any image to enlarge.

One of the things I’ve been missing during this prolonged pandemic is large community gatherings. Or even smaller gatherings. Or just "gathering."
I was reminded this week about a community gathering which took place for decades during Tivy High School’s football season each year – downtown pep rallies for all of the home games. 
While these started well before my time at Tivy, several features were the same over the years. During my high school years there were several groups which participated: the Tivy Cheerleaders; the Golden Girls and Antlerettes; and the Tivy Marching Band. We marched from Antler Stadium, straight down Sidney Baker, and then hooked a left on Water. We assembled at the intersection of Water and Earl Garrett streets, forming a large circle around the cheerleaders. Several cheers were given by the crowd, led ably by some very energetic young people, and then the Tivy Alma Mater was played. Cheerleaders, Golden Girls, Antlerettes, and the marching band were all in uniform. The marching band uniforms, I remember, were made of wool and were both itchy and overly-warm for most of the football season.
The Tivy students formed a huge crowd in the middle of a busy downtown area, and after the last notes of the Alma Mater were played, the crowd dispersed for the walk back to the stadium and our rides home, but not before stopping and buying a coke or milkshake in the downtown soda fountains.
From most of the photographs of downtown pep rallies in my collection, it appears the students far outnumbered the onlookers for these rallies, though quite a few folks from the downtown area participated, too.
Homecoming parades were even bigger events, with floats built by the different graduating classes and several of the high school clubs; plus fancy cars carrying the various candidates for homecoming king and queen. I remember these parades as large events; my senior year at Tivy I was responsible for a part of the homecoming parade, and I just about ran myself to death that day.
Imagine having most of Sidney Baker Street blocked by a parade for part of a busy Friday afternoon – as well as the cross streets between
Antler Stadium and Water Street, including Main, Jefferson, Schreiner streets, plus the downtown section of Water. Snarling up traffic on two state highways was more easily accepted back in those days. And many of those rallies occurred before the construction of IH-10; that means all traffic between San Antonio and El Paso used to trundle through downtown Kerrville.
Downtown pep rallies continued through at least the late 1970s (I graduated from Tivy in 1979). I’m not completely sure when they were finally abandoned, likely because of traffic concerns, and the stresses it put on a lot of folks.
Still, I have fond memories of those days, of marching in the band, of being proud of my high school, hearing the crowd end each pep rally with the words “We are from Tivy/ From Tivy are we….”
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who played a dented cornet in the Tivy High School band, which was then under the incredibly patient leadership of Mr. Avie Teltschik. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times November 7, 2020.

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* A special note for car experts:

Some of my eagle-eyed readers will notice the photo at the top, labeled "Tivy High School downtown pep rally, autumn 1956" features what appears to be a 1957 Chevrolet.  How could 1956 be accurate?
Well, as you might recall, automobile manufacturers unveiled their new models in the autumn.  The 1957 Chevrolet would have been introduced in the autumn of 1956.
But there's an even bigger clue in the photograph: the hand-made sign on the door, obscured by one of the Tivy Marching Band twirlers.  That sign reads "1956 Football Sweetheart."
So... despite having a 1957 model automobile in the photograph, I'm very confident this photograph was actually taken in 1956.

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