For high school boys there was a big unknown out there and by 1944 there were already deaths from our class, and several from other classes. Life went on, of course. Saddle shoes were in vogue, khaki pants, argyle sweaters, and girls wore skirts and sweaters. There was "sock hop" dancing in the gym during the three lunch periods. Sports seemed to take on added importance and the high spot for the class of '44 was the untied, unbeaten softball teams which featured stalwarts like Daryl Luce, Gordon Olson, Paul Schaefer, John Kruckman and others. The "Nautilus" for 1944 is on my bookshelf; many of the kids are dead now, most of the teachers are, but names and faces stay in memory.
Over the years I've bored people with stories about Marlon Brando, who was at LTHS in 1944**. He came from some other school, lived out of town, east of the river and didn't mix with other students. I sat across from him in a study hall in the school cafeteria for several months and he never spoke. He was small, but muscular and one morning he turned on a much bigger boy who was hitting him with spit balls. The resulting fight brought Mr. Underbrink to restore order. I'll never forget his comment to Brando, that "you'll never amount to anything." At that time most would have agreed.
**Editor's note: Marlon Brando attended Libertyville Township High School from 1938-1941.