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Tuesday, December 27, 1994 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Last Howl For Knights Of The Moon -- Old Age Finally Breaking Up That Old Gang From Ballard High School - After 74 Years

OK, here's the notice:

The Knights of the Moon, as the members called themselves, have sung their last.

The Ballard High School Club is disbanding.

"A lot of people out there would like to know," said Clarence Anderson, 93, who requested the public announcement. He is one of only three surviving charter members of the club that was established in 1920.

The other survivors are Anderson's brother, George, 95, of Bellingham, and Harold Shepard, "at least 95," of Pomeroy, Garfield County.

"With only three of us left, it would be kind of silly to carry on," Anderson added with a small, wistful smile.

So, probably next month, Anderson will call a pro forma meeting, get the permission of the two other members, and officially disband the club.

George may come down from Bellingham, if his son can drive him, but Shepard is confused, can't hear very well and is unable to travel, Anderson explained.

The meeting will be "just for the fun of it," Anderson said, "just to wind things up."

It was a vastly different era when the 13 charter members formed the club among a group of friends who attended Ballard High School in 1917, 1918 and 1919, when Anderson graduated.

Most of the club members were athletes who played baseball and basketball. The club fielded a baseball team in the Church League of the time and a basketball team in the City League.

There were several good singers among the group, and often they

would go to "Ballard Beach," about where Ray's Boathouse now stands, and sing songs or "bay at the moon," Anderson explained.

"I think that's how we got our name," he said.

There was no drinking at these parties. "We didn't have liquor then," said Anderson, who nevertheless acknowledged that an occasional "dirty joke" was heard. "We did it just to have fun, and it was a way to let off steam with our singing," he said.

Later, the club put on dances, beach parties, and even theater parties, after which they would collect downtown at Bouchart's Ice Cream Parlor.

Even at their stag parties at a beach cabin near Marysville, there wasn't much drinking. Mostly, they played cards, talked, and ate clam chowder heated in the fireplace in a five-gallon milk container.

Anderson thinks the club's activities helped keep some young people out of trouble. "I think we kept a lot of people out of the saloons" at a time when he remembers a saloon on most corners.

Eventually, the club reached 50 members, pledging new members like a fraternity. For 67 years, they met monthly at a member's home.

It wasn't until 1987 that the club missed a monthly meeting, but Anderson can't recall why. The last two meetings, in 1992, were held in the Ida Culver Retirement Home.

Also, the club's charter members began passing away. Carl Anderson, George Fraley, George Frazier, Clarence Hawley, Harold Hendrickson, Herman Leander, Richard Smith, Roy Swenson, Edwin Wilkerson and Rolf Wiggen, all Ballard High School graduates, were the other charter members.

Anderson, the retired treasurer of a produce company who lives in Laurelhurst, is not sad but feels like he's leaving behind something very dear.

"It was part of our lives, it really was," he said. "I feel like it was family."

Copyright (c) 1994 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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