A Little Piece of School Spirit
In the summer of 2013, the Museum received a large box of yearbooks, high school newspapers, and other memorabilia belonging to Robert Slager and Ruth Locker Slager of Kalamazoo. Of all the items in the box, it was the smallest items that caught the Museum staff’s attention.
These handmade wooden pins from Milwood School and Kalamazoo Central High School date back to the late 1930s and early 1940s. Ruth and Robert’s son, Ron Slager, believes the megaphone pin with the “M” for Milwood belonged to his father. The KCHS pins belonged to either his mother or father, since they both graduated from Central. He speculates that they may have been made as part of a wood shop project or even in an art class.
Both Ruth and Robert were involved in activities and sports while at Central. Ruth was active in the Girls Athletic Association. As a member of the G.A.A., she was responsible for helping plan the annual Silver Ball turn-about dance, where it was up to the girls to ask the guys out for a night of dancing and games. Robert was a manager for the baseball team and a starting guard for the 1942 football team.
After graduation in 1943, Roger served in the United States Navy during World War II. He later owned and operated several businesses in Kalamazoo. Ruth graduated in 1940 and worked as a secretary for Dr. Homer Stryker at the Orthopedic Frame Company, now known as Stryker, Inc. They couple married in 1948 in Kalamazoo and remained lifelong residents.
Even though they may be small, these pins were important to the Ruth and Robert as mementos of their school days. Ron saw the value in these pins when he donated them to the Museum. As he put it, “Sometimes it’s the little things that people remember.”