Godwin came a long way during the time the class of 1941 spent there. Not five years before the class entered kindergarten the school was still basically a one room school house, bulging at the seams. By the time it graduated the school had two major buildings and a large library building - had it ever been fully used as a library it would have rivaled the size of the Ryerson library building in down town Grand Rapids. Frank Rackett sold the school the bulk of his farm - ten acres - which became a splendid sports facility in time for the class of 1941 to use in its high school years - tennis courts, a track and football complex, baseball fields, and a playground for the grade school. The General Motors stamping plant located on the southwest corner of Buchanan and 36th ( Allen Road at the time ), and provided a sound tax base for the school.
The class of 1941 graduated into an uncertain world. Those keeping abreast of current events were aware that Germany was rampaging through Europe, and Japan through Asia. America was steadfastly pacifist. In a pre TV era, the immediacy of the wars was probably not would it would be today, and it's likely that most Americans paid relatively little attention to the worries of the wider world yet in June of 1941, when the newest Godwin class ended its time at Godwin.
With the exception of Division Avenue, an old road laid with cement probably in the 1920s, most of the roads around Godwin were still dirt, as were the parking lots between the grade school and high school buildings. No doubt the janitorial staff of the day was thrilled about rainy, wet days. Many of the road names would change in a few years - in 1943 there was a systematic renaming of the roads in Kent county in order to eliminate duplicates and inconsistencies at the edges of cities, towns, and townships. Phone numbers were still five digits - the population of the area was small. Long distance was a luxury.
The Southlawn and other local theaters did a booming business in and around this time. On average, every person in the country saw at least one movie a week. A more social activity than watching TV, people also walked more, and took the Division Avenue bus into Grand Rapids. More active in all ways than a more sendantary population today, one rarely saw an obese student. Radio provided a great deal to stimulate the imagination, in the way of serials, drama, and witty comedy. Music included the pop stars of the day, big band, and classical. In general people seemed more capable of self entertainment, and engaging in productive and educational activities. Godwin provided endless clubs and other activities. Later, lawyers would make schools so risk averse, in order to avoid lawsuits, that Godwin and other schools would drop many activities and programs rather than risk programs
In general things seemed to be looking up in June of 1941. December 7, 1941, would change all that, and the class of 1941 would spend the next four years of its life involved in a world wide conflict.
The cover of the 1941 class annual.
Left click on the image for a larger image.
The entire 1941 class annual, made available for scanning by Lee (Tanner) Collins, class of 1941, is presented below. To view the pages, simply left click on the page numbers. Each page has been scanned at about 150% of its original size in order to make some of the details easier to see. You might have to move the image around in your browser in order to see it all. Be sure to make your browser full screen size for easier viewing.
Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of each page; comments and notes are included on some of the pages. Use the "Back" button on your browser to return to the main menu. People should consider contacting me if they have additional information, or comments.
If anyone has any other photographs pertaining to the class of 1941 they'd
like to see included here please