Senior Cliff Dwellers 1938
It was the graduation year for Joe and John Compton, Polly Carpenter, John Womack, Sarah McGinnis, Duke Hill, Eula Mae Gamble, Coble Tate and 21 others, all of whom you’ll meet again in this yearbook.
There were stirrings of war in Europe. Hitler was in the headlines, and was named Time’s Man of the Year. (Mussolini is mentioned in this yearbook).
That year was about midway in the Golden Age of radio, with Jack Benny; Amos ‘n Andy (five nights a week at 7:00); Burns and Allen; Fibber McGee & Molly; Edgar Bergen with Charlie McCarthy (ventriloquism on radio!); Fred Allen; Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons; Kate Smith and so many others. Roy Acuff joined the Grand Ol’ Opry in 1938. That fall, on Halloween, Orson Wells, in his famous “War of the Worlds” broadcast would scare our recent graduates nearly to death, along with most everybody else.
The top five favorite movie stars were Shirley Temple (for the fourth year in the row), Clark Gable, Sonja Henie, Mickey Rooney and Spencer Tracy. Popular songs that year were “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “A-Tisket A-Tasket,” “Thanks for the Memory,” and “Whistle While You Work.” Singing those songs were Ella Fitzgerald, Martha Tilton, Helen O’Connell, and a host of others.
FDR, now in his second term, had as his vice president a crusty old Texan, John Nance Garner, who said the office “wasn’t worth a pitcher of warm spit.” No one remembers anything else he said.
Some smokers preferred to roll their own from tobacco in little cloth bags (Golden Grain, Bull Durham) or slender metal cans (Prince Albert); other bought ready-mades like Lucky Strike, Camel, Old Gold, Chesterfield (“Not a cough in a carload!”), Spud (one of the early brands with menthol), Kool, Phillip Morris and many others. No filter tips back then.
In 1940, for his master thesis at UNC, school principal H. C. Beatty did a study of Cliffside graduates for the years 1934-1940 (available on this web site). It showed that, of the 27 graduates (10 boys and 17 girls) of 1938, three went to college (two boys, one girl); eight went to work in other communities (three boys, five girls); and 16 remained in Cliffside (five boys, 11 girls).
Source: This Fabulous Century – 1930-1940, Time-Life Books