Pella Chronicle

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

August 26, 2013

A 60-year celebration

(Continued)

"Some of us enjoyed the pool hall, so we'd go to school and then skip classes to go over to the Ottumwa pool hall," Emry recalled. "The nuns got used to where we were going, so they'd call the Ottumwa pool hall looking for us."

Since the owner of the pool hall refused to lie for them, the boys were given five minutes to get back to the school under threat of losing their basketball eligibility. That usually did the trick, they readily admit.

"But we had some pretty famous 8-ball players," Reardon added with a smile.

Then there was the time that the boys decided to pull a prank in typing class. At the end of class, they typed up a letter and sent it to the principal saying they were from the recruiting office looking for 17-year-olds to recruit.

"We signed it 'Col. U.R. Duped," Rater said. "We never thought she'd do it, but here comes a sargeant from the actual recruiting office, telling us we were guilty of impersonating an officer. He was in a blue suit and sunglasses - it scared the bajeezes out of us."

Nothing actually came from the incident, but it taught the boys a lesson about their pranks.

"And I'm probably still in the FBI databse," Rater said.

The girls all attended Ottumwa Heights College, which was sold and became Indian Hills Community College. But the distance between the two schools didn't deter the boys.

"We'd sneak out and hollar for the girls," Reardon remembered. "The nuns would be yelling back, 'You'd better not!'"

CCHS and then Walsh were known for their basketball teams. The school itself had no gym, so they practiced and played anywhere they could find space - the YMCA, the YWCA and the basement of the coliseum all housed the CCHS basketball team at one time or another. They played their home games at Ottumwa High School, usually on Thursday nights to coordinate schedules.

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