Recently, my cousin Delores of Greenville sent me a photograph of four mystery majorettes. She sent the photo and its negative because she thought the girl, second from left, was me. Well, that girl does resemble me a bit, but alas, it is not me.
Thus, I have in my possession a photograph that clearly should be in the possession of those four girls.
My cousin and I believe the photo was taken circa 1959-1963 in Greenville during an Eastern Maine Music Festival, that majorettes from various towns in Maine would have attended.
My cousin has no idea who took the photo or why it ended up among her late mother’s collection of photographs.
My cousin, who was a majorette when she was a student at Greenville High School, said she does not recognize any of the girls in the photo. So we can eliminate that school, as well as Bingham High School, my alma mater. But that still leaves a lot of high schools in the area for which the four mystery majorettes may have twirled batons and kicked up the heels of their perfectly polished white tasseled boots.
In those days, every high school band had baton twirlers and drum majorettes.
At my school, you had to try out to be a majorette, a process that developed only one or two new majorettes each year. I made the cut my freshman year, which probably was a reflection of the fact that I had spent the entire summer practicing — with coaching from my brother’s girlfriend, who was the local giver of baton twirling lessons. She was in her senior year a “head” majorette, the one who came up with the twirling routines and who marched ahead of the other majorettes, leading the parade.
From the cadre of the “regular” majorettes, a drum majorette was selected whenever the current one graduated from high school. I got that job my junior year, chosen, I suspect, because I had a reputation for being “bossy.” This was a good trait to have because the drum majorette had to know the parade route, lead the march, cue the band when to play and keep time so that the musicians ended on the same note and, incidentally, marched in step. The drum majorette also stood at attention in the cemetery on Memorial Day and saluted dignitaries seated in the parade reviewing stand. It was a serious job, but also fun because of the theatrical elements it en-tailed — the high stepping and prancing, the blowing of the whistle to signal the band that it was time to play or that a turn in the road was ahead, the marching backward, the square turns and pivot steps.
At my high school, majorette uniforms were one-piece, made of gray gabardine cloth trimmed with blue braid. The girls twirled the standard silver batons with white rubber ends, beautifully balanced instruments that flashed in the sun. They wore pillbox caps adorned with gray plumes.
As drum majorette I wore the same one-piece uniform, but with a tall white cap festooned with a royal blue plume. I carried a long staff — not really a baton — painted dark blue and wrapped with gold braid ending in lush tassels and with a large silver knob at one end. It weighed a ton.
Just looking at the photo of the mystery majorettes conjured up happy memories of my days of marching with the band, so I assume the girls in the photo also have happy memories of majorette days.
I would like to learn the names of the girls in the photo, and the school they attended in order to give each one of them a copy of the photograph.
If you recognize yourself or a friend in the photograph, let me know. I’d like add this picture to your trove of treasured memories.