September 30th…“TELL US ABOUT HOW SPECIAL YOUR HOMECOMING FESTIVITIES WERE IN YOUR CHILDHOOD HOMETOWN OF KIESTER, MINNESOTA.”
Each Autumn, with celestial clockwork, our good Lord bequeathed a crown of fine silver frost upon the rich farmlands of southern Minnesota. That regal mantle of silver elegance ushered in the finishing rush of local farmer’s harvesting and also ushered in the delightful time for our hometown school to “Welcome Home” former students to the alma mater (which means….dear mother) and join in a rousing celebration of family known as “Homecoming”.
This school tradition had its genesis in the early part of the 1900’s around our nation. Homecoming, in our community, pivoted around a traditional football game with a local rival community school. Oddly enough, with all the chilly Fall weather in our area, the opposing football team was from a town nearby called, FROST, Minnesota. Kinda cute, ya? 😉 Be that as it may, our farming village would plan for at least a few days of celebration that would include the following (and more)…..wonderfully decorated floats (on flatbed wagons, pickup truck beds, etc.), funny class skits at pep assemblies, a roaring bonfire rally, the big game night, and following the game, was a glorious Homecoming Dance in the High School Gymnasium.
Since the farmlands around us had received its crown of silver from The Lord, our school also chose to place silver crowns each year upon a King and Queen to rule over this celebration of joy and alumni visiting school once again. Tradition, throughout most educational facilities of our nation, lent that as qualifying mandates, in order to be a King and Queen, candidates should have made significant contributions to school life and even that of the local community. Nominees would then be brought to the forefront of the student body and a secret ballot system would be used to vote for each year’s King and Queen of Homecoming.
Our most beautiful sister, Rosemary, was amazingly active in her days at Kiester High School. Just a sampling of her activities included Band Officer, Future Farmers of America Chapter Sweetheart, Cheerleading, etc………pretty much if you name it, she was part of it. Our darling mother, Clarice, used to make comment that if the family car were a horse, she’d just have to point it towards town and it would find its way over familiar roadways when you consider the zillion trips Mom made to ferry big sister back and forth so she could be involved in the life of our school. We were all so proud when Rosie’s classmates honored her by voting for her to be Queen of Homecoming that year.
Our “Bulldogs” usually trounced the opposing team each year, so next on the agenda of the gala evening was to dress impeccably well and take your beautiful lady to do the promenade around the school gymnasium floor and then enjoy dancing and fellowship with fellow classmates and visiting alumni.
Being just a little “ankle-biter”, at the time, I was too young to attend the dance that night. But, we WERE granted permission, during school hours, to have our teacher give us a tour of the festive decorations that morphed our normal gymnasium into a place of magic and color that would come alive that evening for the High School generation of my sister. Placed delicately in my memory’s haven is that Homecoming time for this Norwegian Farmer’s Son.