Entering high school can't help but be a milestone in anyone's life.
Beginning high school marks the beginning of a new phase in a young person's academic career. It marks the transition from childhood to adulthood.
However, for the Class of 1971, the beginning of our freshman year in the fall of 1967 was a mixture of excitement and dread.
You see, it was a tradition at Forsan High to initiate the freshman class.
As I recall, all freshman were required to wear only a tow sack and "beanie cap" to school to begin the freshman year. A tow sack is a coarse burlap bag that may be excellent for carrying grain, but extremely uncomfortable as clothing.
Freshman boys and girls were required to bring the following items to school with them on initiation day:
In addition, freshman boys were required to bring two raw eggs. Freshman girls were required to bring a can of worms.
- 'Butch Wax' (used to keep flattop haircuts flat)
When we freshmen climbed aboard the morning bus for the twelve mile or so ride to school, any seniors aboard the bus had the pleasure of "decorating" us. Decorating consisted of smearing butch wax in our hair, pouring a liberal dose of garlic into the sticky mess and painting our faces with lipstick.
Once at school, we were at the mercy of any senior we crossed paths with. At lunch time some of us had to carry their lunch trays.
However, before we got to eat our meals, we were marched out into the school courtyard. One by one, the freshmen boys were forced to drop to their knees and permit a senior to crack a raw egg on the forehead. The egg white and yolk dripped or was smeared in our face.
The second raw egg was then cracked on our forehead (or teeth) and we were forced to swallow it.
One freshman gagged on the raw egg and actually regurgitated the egg on the senior that stood over him. I regret that I can't recall the freshman or senior's names today.
We were not allowed to wash the egg from our faces. Instead, we had to allow it to dry and stretch our skin for the remainder of the day.
After we were allowed to return to the cafeteria to finish our meal we were marched out into the school parking lot for the infamous "belt line".
The belt line consisted of the senior class boys forming two rows spaced out across the parking lot. The freshmen boys formed up in line at the entrance to the space between the two rows of seniors.
The freshman at the beginning of the line had to bend over and grasp his ankles and wait until the first two seniors in the belt line whacked him with their belts. The freshman was then allowed to race down the remainder of the belt line as the seniors did their best to connect with their belts.
I seem to recall I was fairly lucky. After enduring the initial hits from the belts, I literally flew through the belt line. I don't believe I allowed much contact from the seniors!
I don't believe that the freshmen girls had to endure the raw egg "lunch" or the belt line. Rumor was that the girls had to place two raw eggs in their bras and smash them. I don't have an idea what they did with the worms.
As horrible as it sounds, the initiation wasn't so bad after it was over. In fact, we developed a somewhat smug attitude and looked forward to the time it became our turn to initiate the freshman class.
Unfortunately, times changed by the time our class reach our senior year. We were not allowed to decorate the freshmen on the bus. Instead, we had to wait to they arrived at school. Afterwards, they were allowed to clean up!
By the time we became seniors freshmen could not be be forced to eat raw eggs or run the belt line.
There were quite a few Class of 1971 members who were upset by the changes. As harrowing as our experience as freshman was, we had looked forward to our chance to initiate our freshman class.