I asked Jackson-Wilson and Jackson Hole high school graduates about pranks they pulled in the old days.
Sometime during the 1930s, Hyrum Spicer and Byron Goe snuck out of school and needed to get back in unnoticed. There was a window in the back of the classroom, which was in the basement of the school. The principal was teaching the class.
A stairway led down to the room, which Hyrum and Byron thought could be used to their advantage. They rolled a large block of wood down the stairway. The principal heard the noise, ran over and opened the door, and the block of wood shot by him into the classroom. The boys scrambled through the window and sat at their desks. The principal went up and down each row asking students if they knew what happened. By the time he got to the culprits he stopped asking questions.
Gene Ferrin remembers his father telling him that he, Bud Walters and Mann McCain went around one evening pushing over privies. They stopped by the school, where, unfortunately, their football coach was in the commode. Yikes. Gene also changed the signs on the bathrooms in the new high school addition during the first week of class. In those days the school sat where the Center for the Arts is today.
One night six boys were tipping the outhouse at the old grade school. Jesse Wilson pushed so hard that he went with it. When he came out, all you could see was a couple of eyes blinking.
Debbie May Brown shared this one: On Halloween 1963 a police officer was parked on the corner by the Coulter House. He was told someone was in D&D Camera Shop, so off he went running. His car was then chained to one of the awning posts and decorated with old vegetables found behind the grocery store.
Classmates of Ken Ward and Linda Benson pulled a fast one on their teacher, Archie Reed, in 1966. Someone placed Playboy pinups on the pull-down map, but when Mr. Reed pulled it down, he didn’t look at it; he just started using the pointer. Of course the laughter wouldn’t stop.
Billy Hodges was a small kid. Small enough to hide under the desk of Miss Homec (now Jeanie Staehr) for almost half the class period before she knew what was going on. A first-year teacher in 1968, she typically arrived a minute or two after some of the students sat down. She had marked Billy absent, but nobody could keep a straight face.
Anita Aurit and Gene Hodges went to a movie during the winter of 1968. When they came out, Gene’s VW Bug was hidden under a huge snowbank. Anita can’t remember who all the perpetrators were, but she believes Ed Ricks was involved.
In 1971 someone put roadkill in the locker of Ranae Jennings Johnson. She always blamed Eddie Heaps, but he swears he didn’t do it.
Turns out, even teachers pull pranks. Cliff Schadler remembers his first day as a principal in 1972. Teachers Roger Parrott and Art Lohuis brought a six-pack of beer into his office, sat down, popped a couple open and said, “Let’s have a drink.” Cliff thought that was the end of his principalship.
Mark Mercill, Richard Pack, probably Bill Watsabaugh and others picked up Robin Winters’ VW and put it sideways in the parking lot so she was stuck. That was 1973.
The winter of 1975, Colleen Willford Hillman plastered a large pig poster to the back of Tom Jordan’s police car. She still appreciates Tom’s sense of humor.
Lisa Hester recalls her freshman year in 1978. She and Marsena Tucker had first period typing together. They thought it would be hilarious to take centerfolds from her dad’s collection of Playboys and roll them up into the typewriters. There was quite a stir the next morning when the covers came off the typewriters.
In 1982, PD Poindexter placed Limburger cheese in the principal’s top drawer on the last day of school. He thought it would sit all summer and rot away, stinking up the entire school. The janitor found it that very day and ruined everything (or saved it).
In 1984, Mike Thomas recalled, someone dumped a truckload of horse manure at the high school’s front doors.
In 1988 an officer caught five high school kids dressed in black carrying a ladder and a pile of sheets. Their plan was to hang 22 sheets over the high school’s solar panels with a message. When the officer asked for an explanation from the midnight crew, one croaked, “Senior prank, sir.” The officer smirked and replied, “Carry on.”
The Class of 1998 put cows in the mezzanine of the high school for its senior prank. Jamie Crosland said that the following year there were so many police patrolling that the Class of 1999 couldn’t do anything.
Avery Ann Nelson remembers a bunch of kinds camped out on the school lawn in 2009. Principal Dr. Gary Elliott decided to join, getting the crew a bonfire permit to burn all of their schoolwork. Avery Ann said he was the best principal that they ever had.