Richard Anthony (1960)
Just a story out of my Journal concerning the Outhouse Event of Halloween 1959. Perhaps this will be the beginning of our book about Montpelier. I cannot vouch for anything in this record. I find the mind to be a strange thing, particularly when one remembers anything more than 50 years ago. Rich Anthony
31 Oct 1959 Halloween. This night, having been planned for quite some time, I, Glay Homer, Layne Wilcox, Bob Moss, Skip Modula, and several more that I can’t remember, drove Skip’s old Jeep Pick-up close to an old two-seater outhouse up by the Oregon trail, pushed it over onto the truck. Somehow we got it to stay on, and drove down the back streets, to the High School, backed up over a curb and sidewalk between the school and Gym, and deposited the toilet there. I think we put a sign on it saying “Teacher’s lounge”, and left it for the Halloween gift to the school. The next night, Jack Evans, Steve Pugmire, and Jerry Peterson poured some gas on it and fired it up. The fire department was called and doused it, but by the time they got there, it was pretty much gone. I think it burned a couple of little pine trees nearby, and maybe some sparks got on the roofs of both buildings. Well, it was no secret as to who had put it there. Coach Grant found out the house movers, and Glay and I and perhaps Bob had to clean up the mess. We may have loaded it in Doyle’s truck to take it to the dump–I do not remember. Nobody seemed to know who burned it down. So we decided to find out. Before school started, we were asking around. It did not take long before Bob Moss met Steve Pugmire coming to school and said: “Alright Pugmire, why did you burn down the toilet?” Pugmire told him to be quiet and asked how he knew. By then it was all over. Bob should have become a detective. Anyway, that is the story as I remember it. I have heard two other renditions of the event.
The following is an editorial in The Grizzly for 16 Nov. 1959, concerning the “house”.
THE BURNING OF THE OUTHOUSE—A JOKE CARRIED TOO FAR?
Returning to school, Monday November 2, following the Halloween week end, students found a large spot just south of the flagpole covered with ashes. On Halloween night, an outhouse had been moved onto the lawn in front of the High School as a practical joke. It stood there the next day for people to see and chuckle at. Late that night is was soused with gas and burned down by Jack Evans, Jerry Peterson and Steve Pugmire. The only real damage done was to a large spot on the lawn, that will have to be re-seeded, and to one pine tree planted two years ago.
In first period Algebra II class, ideas were discussed pro and con about what should be done. One radical group felt that an assembly should be called and everyone given a lecture on this juvenile act and those concerned made to pay for it. The other radical group felt that putting it there was a good joke, something the school need to laugh at itself after two months of hard work. They felt that the only reason some wanted an assembly was to get out of school and to get a big laugh out of. They felt that it wasn’t nearly as important as the act of breaking into the high school and stealing the FFA Sweetheart money.
Some felt the same as Spencer Rigby. “Putting the building there was a good joke, but burning it down right there was carrying things too far. Those who did this should have to pay for it.” Mr. Perkins suggested that it would have been a good idea and fun to take it out back and (as Paul Rohner expressed it) “have a burning of the outhouse.”
The office is upset about it for the fact that it was burned so close to the High School. Flames were leaping to the top of the building and could easily have set fire to the dry leaves on the roof and to the High School. Mr. Phillips said, “It was done by some who were not thinking”. Those who were involved had to clean up the mess and will have to pay for the damage. -----------
There was no mention of the outhouse in the News Examiner. We won the district championship on Friday, the 30th of Oct. Deposited the toilet the next night on Halloween, Pugmire, Evans, and Peterson burned it on Sunday night, Larry Dayton died on Saturday from injuries the night before in a car accident, and so with all the excitement, it was never mentioned. Perhaps the reason it was not mentioned was because the perpetrators were part of the Championship team. Perhaps it was because of the editorial in the paper the Thursday before Halloween. Printed below:
TIME OF YEAR FOR OUT OF WORLD VISITORS
As Halloween approaches it is pleasurably beholden on us to again emphasize the fact that for decorum, good citizenship and all around conduct, children in these years put to utter shame the Halloween antics and escapades of the elders. Contrary to wide publicity on youthful delinquencies, improvement in general conduct of children or teenagers, over that of the immediate or preceding generations, is in many ways not confined to latter October days, but may be observed on other days and months throughout the year.
Not so long ago the destructive pranks and waxing of windows, long before and after the holiday, were routine and something, it seemed, that had to be lived with. In more recent years, however, there has been very little of that sort of thing, due to school, church and group parties. In fact, few are the reports of anything of a destructive nature, or malicious acts designed to embarrass anymore.
So it is and confidently in advance of Halloween we speak on behalf of all those reconstructed elders, in praising boys and girls for their enlightened observance of this mighty important occasion. Important not alone for the light-footed darting apparitions flitting here and yon, and for those hideously masked hobgoblins, but also for their victims and hosts–those work-a-day mundane house dwellers, who seldom have the privilege of consorting with such outlandish callers. There is a price, however. But a Treat is always better than a trick.
Perhaps Mr. Taylor, the Editor, decided that the championship they won was more important than the toilet episode, and that he would just not mention it. Or perhaps Mr. Phillips put out the fire, and not the fire department, and nobody knew anything about it. Or---perhaps the truth is not to be known in this life.