By: Bonnie Clapp


I moved to Bates on New Years Day, 1952, with my husband Don, who had started work at the mill some months before, and my son Jim and daughter Linda, who was six months old.  We were joined by Debra, 1952, Steve, 1954, and Gilbert, 1955.


I was only in Bates a few weeks when they found I had taught dancing and asked me to teach some of the girls in a drill dance.  This was the first Sweetheart's Ball.  I did this long enough to have a daughter of one of my first girls.


I spent many evenings at the Community Hall with the young people.  I taught dancing to them; also volley ball.  I couldn't go and take my young children so he girls took turns watching them so I could go.


I helped to plan town Halloween parties.  Also Carnivals for Boy Scouts.  Also had Girl Scout and Cub Scout troops.


I helped to plan a lot of weddings.  I remember one where Don and someone else got in the back seat and rode halfway to Unity with the bride and groom before they heard Don laugh and knew they were there.  People always knew if Don was in the crowd by his laugh.  Don coached the grade school ball team and some baseball.  He was also the first President of the Local Union for about 16 years.


A friend and I were the first to dam up Vinegar Creek by hand to make a little swimming hole for the kids.  Then the company sent a Cat down to dam it each year.  We spent many an afternoon all summer there.


Once after a big class of boys had graduated and an inexperienced team came up, after getting beat several times, I told them if they won a game I would give them a taco feed, and you know they did win.  There was about 25 of them and he cheer leaders and coaches.  A friend helped me cook the tortillas.  They had a contest to see who could eat the most.  One ate 26, I believe, and a lot almost ate as much.


I kept an Awana Club going by myself.  I really enjoyed it and I guess the kids did too as I had almost every kid in town.  They couldn't wait to get old enough and the older ones came back to help.


There are so many things happened but since we can't use names, it really wouldn't mean much. 


We moved from Bates in 1972.