By Ray Py ~ Class of 1954
Jane Rettke, Rudy Uhlig--They authored a hit!
Tom Ward, a Chicago lawyer and prominent Wauwatosa High School alumni of the January class of 1949, and former co-captain of the Tosa state championship basketball team in 1948, has written the following letter to Jane Rettke Moe, expressing gratitude of thousands of Tosa alumni for her "creative output" as the lyricist of our school song, "Hail Wauwatosa." Mrs. Moe, 90, who lives in Highlands, N.C. was a senior at Tosa in 1932 when she and a classmate, Rudi Uhlig, won a contest for submitting the words and music of a new school song.

Mrs. Moe was first contacted by our web site in April and told us she graduated before the song had ever been arranged and played, and wondered for many years if it had ever been performed. She told us in an interview last April that she had never heard the song played or sung.

Mrs. Moe gave us permission to share Tom Ward’s letter which he wrote on May 30. Dear Mrs. Moe:

For at least the last 60 years, I have been hearing "Hail Wauwatosa" never having any idea who wrote it or how it came to be written. The (Raider-Room web site) identifies you as a co-author, and makes the stunning statement that until recently you had never heard the song played, and were uncertain it had ever been performed. Let me assure you it was "performed" tens of thousands of times.

I was captain of Wauwatosa’ basketball team that won the state high school championship in 1948, helped continue what was then a state record winning streak until my mid-year graduation (along with two other starters) in January 1949, and then was co-captain of the University of Wisconsin basketball team in 1953. That song was played and sung all over Madison with such frequency as to drive non-believers wild.

When my class graduated from Wauwatosa, having had "Hail Wauwatosa" played at every football game, basketball game, assembly and probably before most checkers matches, we were told by faculty that 86% of Wauwatosa graduates went on to college, and 85% of that body went to Wisconsin. As you may be aware, Wisconsin led (and may still lead) the universe in party-activity. With at least a significant minority of Wauwatosans at practically every party, the faithful, at some point, joined in chorus singing the song, while the infidels hooted, tried to drown them out, and generally behaved in a declasse manner. It was great fun! I always believed the non-Wauwatosans were envious because - at least as far as I know - Wauwatosa was the only school in the state that had an original school song. Everyone else warbled parody lyrics to the music of "On Wisconsin:, "Cheer, Cheer for Old Notre Dame:, or the University of Main song. We had our own.

It is a real pity it took so long for you to be informed you had authored a hit. For myself and, I feel certain, thousands of graduates we are most appreciative of your creative output.

Tom Ward

"Hail Wauwatosa", the fight song, now greets visitors who have speakers on their computers when they visit the Home page of our web site, and who visit the Sound page. The song was recorded at the Spring concert of the Wauwatosa East High School band, under direction of Rob Engle. That recording was also sent to Mrs. Roe who heard the song for the first time when she played the recording.

"I liked what I heard," she told us in a letter.

Mrs. Moe lost track of her colleague, Rudi, who we discovered became a U.S. citizen after graduation from Tosa, and professional musician, is believed that he passed away in the 1990s.

You can see pictures of Jane, Rudi and a copy of our Tosa fight song by visiting the archives on the Tosa Alert and Tosa Life pages. You can contact Mrs. Roe at 315 King Circle, Highlands, NC, 28741.

1950s male Tosans thought $10-$15 was adequate for The Big Dance. Girls thought they spent too much.
Kids today can spend several hundreds of dollars to attend their high school proms, but back in the golden age of high school–the 1950s–sanity prevailed. A survey conducted over a two-year period (1954-55) by Tosa’s Mr. Ehn and his Hi-Y clubbers showed that Tosa male students felt comfortable spending between $10 and $15 on a date at the Big Dance.

But the same survey showed that Tosa ladies (who the survey said received the benefits of this male-over- indulgence), thought their dance partners overspent at the prom by about $10. This observation forced the student writer to conclude that Tosa girls "had lesser knowledge of Prom expenses and similar financial matters."

Here’s the Cardinal News story from April, 1955:

Well, boys, don’t complain after the Prom when you’re broke. A survey taken by Tosa’s Hi-Y last year shows, among other things, that members of Tosa’s fairer sex expect their Prom dates to spend from five to ten dollars less than the extravagant boys claim they spend. Could be, of course, that the girls have a lesser knowledge of Prom expenses and similar financial matters. At any rate, figures don’t lie (so they say), and 300 Tosa girls can’t be wrong.

Hi-Y’s survey of Tosa’s social customs, taken last spring (1954), and tabulated last fall, reveals many additional interesting facts. The survey questionnaires were filled out in home rooms and tabulated by Hi-Y members.

Questions on the survey included choosing one’s friends, going steady, expenditure of time and money on dates, the necessity of a car, desirability of Dutch treats, entertainment on a date, and a special section concerning school dances.

Tosans indicated that they chose their friends by considering mainly their interests, general popularity, and personalities. The opinion on going steady was that of favoring one person, but not excluding all others.

The question on expenditures of time listed the following curfew hours: school nights, 10 to 11 p.m.; weekend dates, 12 to 1 a.m.; Prom, 3 to 4 a.m.; and special occasions, 1 to 2 a.m.

Figures for expenditures of money included special occasions, $5 to $10; movie date, $2 to $3; outdoor activity, $1 to $2; and Prom $10 to $15.

About two students to one said that a car is necessary on a date. This is undoubtedly due to the widespread area in which Tosa students live. In regards to Dutch treating, the unanimous decision was "occasionally." Desirable entertainment on a date was listed as dancing, roller skating, strolling, parties, picnics, movies, skating, drives, and sports.

The section on dances, especially interesting to Hi-Y as a dance sponsor, showed Tosan’s opinions that dances are worthwhile, those who attend enjoy the dances, and four major dances a year is about the best number.

By Ray Py
Tosa Class 1954