The stage from the recently demolished Fairmount High School is set to be restored with a dedication ceremony this September 23, 2017 at Playacres Park in Fairmount during this year’s James Dean festival, with guest speakers Marcus Winslow Jr. and David Nall (better known as the son of Adeline Nall, who worked tirelessly to encourage the growth of knowledge and creativity of her students during her time there as the Drama and Speech teacher and beyond). The stage on which Dean and countless other locals performed during their high school years will be a long standing memorial in honor of the past as well as a future venue for Fairmount’s Concerts in the Park. It was an honor to sit down with Lion’s Club member Jake Roth who spearheaded the project and his brother Bob, who was a classmate of Jimmy to learn a little more about why this project is so dear to their hearts.
Bob & Jake Roth: What was it like growing up in Fairmount when you did? What are some of your most fond memories from those days?
It was a small town and we both knew everybody. Some our most fond memories are of playing basketball with our friends & neighbors.
(Both) How do you think things have changed most since then for better and for worse?
Back in the days we knew all our neighbors and friends. There were no worries like there is today.
(Both) What was it like to attend Fairmount High School? What do you think made it a unique learning institution during its time?
It was wonderful. It was a small school and a small town. We intermixed.
(Both) What would you say is the most important thing you learned during your time there?
To be able to get along with people.
(Both)What was Adeline like as a teacher? What do you think it was about her that made her so good at what she did?
She was a real sweet lady. She had a great personality and was a likeable person. She could see the good in the hearts of her students and she was dedicated to them.
(Bob) I understand from David Nall that you were a classmate of his? What was he like back then? Are you looking forward to his speaking during this year’s festival?
Yes! He was a nice kid. I think it is great!
(Bob)The two of you, as I’ve been told, were Sophomore’s when Jimmy was a Senior and you were on the basketball team with Jimmy as well? Do you remember what he (Jimmy) was like when you first met? What was he like on the court?
Yes. We played basketball and I guarded him at practice. He was just regular kid. A good ball player.
(Bob) What was he like as an individual? Do you have any memories of him that stand out most in your mind to this day?
I wasn’t around him that much. He played Frankenstein in his class play.
The play, Goon With the Wind, and Frankenstein made their appearance October 29 at the annual Hallowe’en Carnival held at the high school. Characters in the play were: Joan Jones, Jim Dean, and David Nall. Jim Dean, as Frankenstein, grotesquely “scared the wits” out of the Audience.
(Bob) Do you think that who he was as a person is often lost in the iconic celebrity status he worked so hard to cultivate?
He worked hard at that time. He wanted to be a movie star.
(Both)Marcus Winslow Jr. will be speaking at the dedication as well. Do you enjoy having the chance to hear him speak at various events? What do you think of how all the Winslow’s have worked so hard to keep Jimmy’s memory alive?
Yes. It is great!
(Jake)What first inspired you to pursue this project? Why do you think it is so important to preserve this piece of history for generations yet to come?
The Stage was all intact while sitting there in the Old School. It was just waiting for someone like…me to notice it. It still had its Life in it. What a great piece of history this town has for many James Dean Fans from all over the World, who have come to our Small Town in USA to visit and for the former classmates from FHS who at one time or another acted in class plays under the direction of Adeline Nall. This was the last place James Dean acted in his class plays while in High School. It is a really nice Stage that can be used for plays and Concerts in the Park next Summer.
(Both) Are you excited to see the stage restored to its former glory?
(Both) What is Fairmount like during Festival Days? What do you think Jimmy would have thought of it all?
There are a lot of friendly people. He would enjoy it!
(Both)Why do you think the town of Fairmount should be restored and preserved? What steps need to be taken to see that accomplished?
To keep bringing people in to our small, quiet town. The town as received a grant of $500,000 starting the beginning of 2018.
(Both) Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?
We have had the new stage re-build and are having a Dedication Saturday, September, 23rd, 2017 at 12:00 NOON inside the Playacres Park by the Car Registration Booth. Thank You for the Interview.
(All black and white photos used with permission from CMG Worldwide, others with permission from Jake Roth. )