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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

A Watch Party, Leroy, IL 1939

Updated: Jun 4, 2020

As we draw to the end of the shelter in place, consider the old time "watch party." At the end of the year they called New Year's Eve parties, watch parties. In Leroy, eighteen young people had a progressive dinner, traveling from house to house for the courses of their meal. These photos were made on the 29th however, so the young people were PRE- enacting the party for the Pantagraph photographer, Charles Driver. Perhaps this big city reporter even gave the kids some tips for having fun on their night out.


Primping in front of the mirror are four of the young women. If you look closely you can see that one young lady has an unfortunate run in her stocking.


Christmas bells and mistletoe were still hanging, so Iola Webb and Joanne Dawson stood under it, hoping their boyfriends would notice.



In the PRE enactment, there was no food on the plates! But Evelyn Hurley and Ronald Clevenger look like the cat's pajamas in their best party clothes!




Christmas trees and toys were still out and Phillip Meredith was young enough to enjoy them. I'll bet you didn't know that candy "rich in dextrose" was good for you!


Noisemaking was an essential part of bringing the new year. Jean Day, Jean Wirt and Iola Webb warn off all the ghosts of the past year by banging on pots and pans.



Tired out from all the fun and noise, Jean Day and Jean Wirt rest on the sofa.


So as we prepare to go back out into the world, bang a pan to scare away the virus, it can't hurt.

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