Snippets of Bay Village History = Kay Laughlin
Bay Village Teenage Social Clubs from the 1930’s to 1950’s.
Not a lot was offered in the way of programs, athletic or social, for a teenager in Bay Village in the 1930 to 1950 time period. If you were a girl, you went to school and came home. You could have a job in a local store after school, baby sit a neighbor’s child or help Mom at home. If you were lucky you had neighborhood friends to chat and laugh with after school. But nothing structured was offered from Bay High School or Bay Recreation Department for girls. Boys had some sports but most went home or to work. Thus, the social club became popular.
The definition of a social club is: “where members go in order to meet each other and enjoy leisure activities.” The clubs met in members homes after school and were supervised by a man or woman from the community. At first, social clubs were developed to teach the young folk about life outside the home. They emphasized learning responsibility and how to maneuver in the world. The clubs sponsored dances, and members learned how to advertise the event, collect monies, sell tickets, and hire a band. They discussed social skills.
The boys in the Village had two social clubs. One was the Dekes. The girls had three clubs, two were Trigger and Mesama. After WWII, the boys fraternities began to disappear. Trigger started to disappear when many from the Mesama group decided to stay together. Mesama continued to operate up to 1956.
The girls named their club, Mesama. Although spelled incorrectly, it was meant to be a French word meaning my friends, mes amis. In the 9th grade a girl received an invitation to join Mesama. Mesama, in the 1940’s, had a Mom who chaperoned the meetings and activities the girls planned. My sister, Barb, Class of 1949, and most of her friends were in Mesama. Once an active you paid dues and could participate in everything the club offered. Meetings were held in member’s homes. In the tenth grade another social club named Trigger gave out invitations to join their club. In the sophomore year of the Class of 1949, the Mesama girls, who all liked each other, decided to stay in Mesama and not go on to Trigger. A 5 pointed star with their club name on it was fashioned and worn as a necklace. Trigger had a diamond shaped pin. In the summer, the Mesama girls and Trigger girls rented “cottages” in Vermilion. Mesama at Old Homestead Beach and Trigger at Linwood one year. My Mom chaperoned one year with Helen Matyas, our neighbor across the street. Gay and I went along.
The girls always seemed happy and to be having fun. Gay and I said we wanted to join too some day. And we did. Our Mesama didn’t have a Mom, but we still met in each other’s homes. Ours was entirely a friendship group. We didn’t put on dances and hopefully, already knew some social skills. I was in Mesama until I graduated from high school
Today, there is so much for a girl or boy to do in the village that there isn’t the need for a Social Club. As much as I enjoyed the Social Club experience, I would have given anything to be able to participate and choose from one of the many activities offered girls today.