One of the buildings on the
campus of Chilocco Indian Boarding School was Haworth Hall. When I attended
school in 1953-55 the building was even at that time very old. The entrance
at the auditorium was one with wide double doors which swung out to a good
sized indoor atrium. To the right of this was where the principles office
was located. In later years this was moved to a basement room.
I spent some time there after
graduating to work as secretary to the principal. Looking back, sometimes I
wonder why they hired such a young inexperienced girl. Someone had to fill
in for the regular secretary while she was on maternity leave but surely
there were more qualified people. Not to complain it was a wonderful time
and a great opportunity to work even if it was just a temporary
appointment. I knew the school, loved the campus, and also was acquainted
with a number of the employees. Everyone treated me well and helped me do my
From the large entry room one
looked up wide steps which led to the upstairs rooms. To the left were the
open doors for the auditorium and stage. A wide walk way went all the way
through and out identical doors directly across this great area.
Part of that very large
staircase went to the basement classrooms and part of it went on upstairs to
The stage in the auditorium
was where many different presentations were made for the students enjoyment.
There was a projector room on up to the top of this room and this is where
movies were shown on a screen. These movies were where girls and boys were
allowed to enjoy each other's company as a kind of date. We all walked from
Home Five, Four, or Three depending on where we were staying. The matrons
sometimes walked behind us, other times they drove their cars slowly while
we walked. Everything was very tightly chaperoned.
On those nights we wore our
best dresses. Some girls wore high heels. We usually always wore hose. The
boys dressed in their best suits and ties. The occasion was altogether
Speeches, pageants, church
services on Sunday, visiting dignitaries, all shared their moments in the
limelight. The choir also presented their programs here. On the nights the
choir performed everyone, boys and girls, gathered in the basement. I
suppose this was to get us organized according to the way we had to march
into the auditorium. We always had fun during these times. Excitement ran
high as we were glad to be doing something different.
Sunday's were the only time
we wore the choir robes as I can remember. I was in the octet and sometimes
had a solo. It was all fun. Mrs. Dyer was our music teacher and I can
remember her getting frustrated with me because sometimes, I forgot the
words. I finally resorted to carrying a small card in my hand with a kind of
short hand on it listing the first word of each line. She didn't like that
much but it was better than forgetting the words. Most of the Indian
children were shy and didn't want to perform with a solo. I wasn't shy, so,
tag I was it. There were other girls who had beautiful voices and when they
would step forward it was a joy for everyone.
This stage was where I
performed with my dancing. That was a labor of love on my part. The stage
lights, music by one of the three B's, and the students accepting my
efforts all are great memories too.
Today old Haworth Hall, named
after the gentleman who chose the site for Chilocco, is quite alone and
quiet. There are no voices from the choir. So far away are the nights of
fun with a date at a movie. Nothing but the sound of the wind through the
broken windows remains. The old maroon velvet curtain still hangs across the
top on the stage with the beautiful C in calligraphy at the middle.