If there is one thing Mineral Point values, it is history.
And if there is a Queen of Mineral Point History, Mary Alice (Clark) Moore just might be it.
Fitting then that she will lead the Homecoming Parade down High Street Thursday night.
After being curator of the Mineral Point Archives at the Public Library for 13 years, she recently stepped back to the role of assistant curator. Very few people in town are more knowledgeable about the history of our city than Mary Alice.
This isn’t the only time she’s been in the Homecoming parade–she was a court member herself as a sophomore in the fall of 1950 and also was in band, playing clarinet, throughout her Mineral Point school days.
Many things have changed since 1950s Homecomings, but there are other things that are still very much the same.
“The court came down the steps to the football field, as they still do now, but the girls had to ‘beg’ from an athlete a white cardigan letter sweater,” she said. The chenille letters of the day were just a M, not a MP as they are now, and were blue with red trim, as the school colors at the time also included red.
“Our crowns were homemade with tagboard and sparkle dust,” she added.
“Following the spirit rally and bonfire Thursday night, we would have a snake dance led by the cheerleaders that would go from the field all the way downtown and end at the theater for a movie,” she added, laughing, “I always wanted to be a cheerleader, but during tryouts, you had to do a cartwheel on the stage in the gym and I was not agile enough to do that.”
Taken from the 1953 Pointer yearbook, when Mary Alice was a senior, is the following excerpt:
“As usual Homecoming really began this year when the student body elected the Homecoming Queen and her court two or three weeks before the big event. The freshmen chose Laura Mary Humbert and Josephine Palzkill to represent them. Jean Clark (Mary Alice’s sister) and Janice Jewell were chosen by the sophomore class. The juniors chose Louise Bellack and Marilyn Sturdevant. The senior class representatives were Betty Bloom and Nancy Tyrer. Betty was our queen.
The night before Homecoming was the traditional bonfire ceremony on the athletic field. It began with the queen and her attendants coming across the field to the tune of Alma Mater. When they got to the stage they were escorted to their places by the senior football boys, who later crowned the girls. Mayor Bollerud gave an interesting talk. After that, Queen Betty and Captain Fritz Weitzel gave short talks. Dave Cline, president of the Student Council, was Master of Ceremonies. This event was ended by a huge bonfire and snake dance. Everyone who participated in the snake dance went to the movies.
The next afternoon was the colorful parade. The band led the parade, followed by the queen and her court on a float beautifully decorated by the Student Council. This float was followed by other floats entered in the parade by every class and different organizations. The floats were judged and the senior dog and freshman class float received first prizes, while the sophomore class and library club floats received second prizes.
A little later in the day was the football game with Boscobel. We lost, but that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits much. It was the last home football game for a majority of the team because seven of the boys were seniors.
That night there was a large attendance at the Homecoming Dance, many alumni as well as students. The gym was decorated in a great variety of autumn colors. The theme of the dance was ‘Shine On Harvest Moon.’ The music was very delightful. The climax of the dance was the grand march led by Queen Betty and her escort.
And so closed another enjoyable Homecoming at MPHS with many pleasant memories for all of us.”
“We had two main sports rivals in those days–Dodgeville and Darlington, whose team was always a force to be reckoned with, as it is today,” she said. “My husband-to-be, Pat Moore, played for Dodgeville, often ribbing me in good fun about the rivalry.”
Mary Alice comes from a long line of Mineral Point heritage, with her family’s roots here dating back to the middle 1800s. Her mom, Dorothy Huxtable, was a member of the Class of 1921; her father, Clarence “Slick” Clark, was a successful businessman.
She also shared many Homecoming memories with her children, all graduates of MPHS: Terri in the Class of 1976 (Homecoming queen), Sandy in the Class of 1979 (Homecoming court), Mike in the Class of 1980 (football player), Mary Pat in the Class of 1983 (Homecoming court), and Dennis in the Class of 1986 (football player).
She has 12 grandchildren, but they all live away from Mineral Point.
After graduating from Edgewood College with a teaching degree, and teaching in Arlington Heights, Illinois, as well as Fort Atkinson, she returned to Mineral Point. Mary Alice has also taken great pride in seeing many of her former students enjoy their Homecoming memories. Operating Merry-Mor Preschool for nearly 30 years, she helped mold the early education of countless Pointers, and many of her interns are still teaching in the Mineral Point school system today.
“I was very surprised, but honored, to be asked to be the Grand Marshal of the parade,” she said.
When asked, “What is special about Mineral Point Homecoming?” she responded, “Everything is special about Mineral Point! The faculty, students, and coaches all have a tight-knit bond. The students love their school and respect their teachers. We have a fantastic school system. I hear that very often from parents that are here, and even those who have moved away.”
“Homecoming is something that everyone looks forward to–no matter what your age, or if you never go to a football game, this town always comes together to celebrate Homecoming,” she added. “I am proud of our history, our youth, our schools, the lovely town, and of course, the community as a whole. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Go Pointers!”