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High School Social Clubs / Les Friponnes / LTA / Les Croquettes / Deboneers /Dark Horsemen / Les Truands / FNV / Order of the Rainbow / LGO, etc: 1980s   11 comments

Posted at 12:25 am in Uncategorized

Well, High School social clubs of the 50s through the 80s is a subject about which I know nothing (I was in the Beta club, and that was about it..), but it's come up several times here, so I thought I would do an actual post on them so people googling-in will have a nice landing spot, and one place to add their comments.

Here's what various people, with inside and outside perspectives on the clubs, have already contributed:

High school social clubs of long ago --

When I was in high school, way on the wrong side of the tracks in the 1970s, I nevertheless had friends from the wealthy side of Forest Acres and Spring Valley.

I learned from them about these social clubs, that were apparently deeply established local institutions for teens, sort of like junior sororities and fraternities. They had some nominal nable mission written down somewhere, like helping the dowtrodden or supporting youth, but their real activity seemed to be throwing these fancy parties, complete with live bands, corsages, fancy finger food, and LOTS of booze that wasn't "officially" there. One or two distracted moms would serve as chaperones while the kids behaved like wild heathans.

It was fun, but so far above my actual social standing and family income level that I felt like a tourist. The girls were way out of my league (except a couple who hauled me around as their pet hippie to torture their parents with) and the guys were overpriveledged future doctors and lawyers. These were the kids who got brand new Camaros for their 16th birthday which they wrecked a month later, and never wondered if their family could send them to the exclusive private college their parents went to. Without exception they all went to Myrtle Beach for "first week" in big house parties with only nominal adult supervision.

Anyone else remember this crowd? Some of the clubs were:

Les Friponnes
Les Coquettes
Dark Horsemen
Les Truands
Order of the Rainbow
LTA
LGO (can't remember what these initials stand for)

Dennis

I definitely remember the Dark Horsemen, it was a fraternal "order" of course, and for some reason I remember the Les Friponnes and Les Coquettes as well, which were the sororities. I NEVER fit in with those folks socially or attitudinally, however I did know several K-12 school mates who were in the Dark Horsemen in high-school. The girls who were members of those clubs wouldn't even give me the time of day, I mean that literally. There was maybe one in my whole high-school career who would actually say hello. My clique was so far out there that we were listening to Frank Zappa in 8th grade in 1969 and making fun of all the people in those clubs right up to the day we graduated 12th grade. We were definitely spurred on by Mr. Zappa's biting satire on "joiners," which probably made it harder for those club folks to warm up to us. In retrospect, maybe a vicious cycle of mistrust and misunderstanding.

And though we weren't poor, my folks were basically middle-class working people and I never fit in at all with the country club set, which on the whole pretty much populated those clubs. No bad memories per se, never had the Dark Horsemen bop me up against the side of the head because I had long hair and wild friends or anything like that, but you and I obviously had different experiences with those clubs. Fascinating.

Michael Taylor

Hey Ted:

Since my family has been in Columbia and Lexington before our country's independence, I am always very interested in your web site, which brings back great memories of people and places. I love history of any kind, especially that I can relate to!

I was reading some comments from a few years back and someone wanted to know more about social clubs. I was a member of Les Friponnes which started in 1954. I was a member in the late 70's early 80's.Most of our members went to Hammond,Cardinal Newman, Dreher or Spring Valley. There was definitely some silliness going on with these groups but it was fun and it was a way to meet girls outside of my school. I know high school administrators did not like these clubs because of elitism and hurt feelings and the fact that we had initiation rites at school. I remember having to call all members "Miss So and So" One made me spin around every time I passed her in the hall at school. I also had to buy snacks and run errands for members during lunch. During hell week, we had to wear the same outfit to school all week and we could not wear make up. We would have after school initiations at people houses. We had to do these shoulder, knees and toes motions called buttons and say "I love Les Friponnes" over and over. Members would yell at us and pour disgusting things on us. We would sometimes have tri-club initiations and parties at Legion Lakes- the three clubs were Les Friponnes, LTA (Les Croquettes) and Deboneers In the mid-late 1980s I think schools had had enough of this distraction and banned anything like that during the school day. I am not aware that any of these groups exist any more. Sometimes my friends post old social club formal photos on facebook and it does bring back good memories of my youth.

Eleanor

They were essentially high school sororities. I went to many of the Les Friponnes & FNV semi-formals back in the mid-to-late 80's. Most were at hotel ballrooms in the Northeast area. The initiations at the girls houses were a lot of fun to watch as a guy, and very similar to the girls initiation scenes in the movie "Dazed & Confused". Lots of fun, good, if not fuzzy, memories. Hope it was worth it ladies.

palmettopanic

Written by ted on January 20th, 2014

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11 Responses to 'High School Social Clubs / Les Friponnes / LTA / Les Croquettes / Deboneers /Dark Horsemen / Les Truands / FNV / Order of the Rainbow / LGO, etc: 1980s'

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  1. Hi ted

    I re-read what I wrote a couple of years ago about these groups and I come off a little angry or bitter, don't I? Sorry. At that age I was not doing anything very worthwhile either, I promise!

    Anyway, at least one such groups survives. A girls' sorority called LPT (Les Petite Terpsichore) is alive and well at Dreher, and the members seem to be exactly as remembered.

    Dennis

    20 Jan 14 at 7:37 pm

  2. I wonder why the the names (or a number of them) are French (rather than, say, Greek).

    ted

    21 Jan 14 at 12:27 am

  3. Thanks for the reminder about one of the reasons why I hated high school so much....

    tonkatoy

    21 Jan 14 at 7:48 am

  4. I know that LPT and LTA were still around in the mid 1990s, at least at Dreher and A.C. Flora. I went to several formal dances that they had, and it was funny to see "Mystic Vibrations" (a local reggae band) play in front of an uptight crowd. It usually turned into a night of drunken debauchery, as everyone would meet at different people's houses after the actual formal. The Dreher and A.C.Flora groups usually threw their parties at the "Woman's Club" (?), right across from Maxcy Gregg park.

    Cam

    22 Jan 14 at 12:10 pm

  5. Dennis, I was a long haired hippie boy too, but by the time I got to high school, the sororities no longer included just the super elite. There was a definite combination of social classes mixed in, although downright poor people were never allowed. I also felt like a stranger at their functions, even though the reason I was there is because I dated a couple of girls that were in the sororities. It was humorous to see people get dressed up and spend money for no good reason. I always enjoyed a good house party much more than a stuffy sorority party. My best friend grew up in Belvedere, and because Belvedere had turned into the " 'hood" years before we got into high school, he was able to throw some epic parties. We would tell all of the neighbors what we were planning, invite them too, and there were never any problems.
    The neighborhood was zoned as Richland County, so we never saw any cops in the back of the neighborhood where my friend's house was located. Since it was out of Columbia City and Forest Acres jurisdiction, we did not have to worry about them either. A whole bunch of LPT and LTA girls came to these parties too, and I'm pretty sure that they had as good or a better time than they did at their formals. I do not remember any of the high school fraternities still being around when I was in high school, but maybe they were secretive and selective. I would have made fun of any members that I would have known of, anyways.

    Cam

    22 Jan 14 at 1:40 pm

  6. Cam - we probably know some of the same folks, or maybe I know the older siblings and you know the younger.

    The real attraction to these parties, for me, (other than drunk, pretty rich girls) was the live music. I heard some great bands throw it down!

    Dennis

    22 Jan 14 at 7:22 pm

  7. I have started a group on Facebook for Les Traunds. The club had a reunion in 2011 and we are planning one for april 2016. Take a look at the group if you are on Facebook. It gives a short history of the club and information about the reunion.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/945960228826033/

    Walter

    4 Nov 15 at 10:28 am

  8. FNV, LPT, and Les Frippones were the RNE & SV girls clubs in the '80s. It was rather selective, but you didn't think about that if you are around it. You were just happy being part of the whole thing. The initiations were the most fun to observe being a guy. I remember the girls at school had to wear a white t-shirt, no makeup, no brushed hair, just basic humiliation for some reason. They had to approach certain guys that dated the members to say silly things. The after school initiations were the more interesting ones that usually turned into a party for some.
    The semi-formals were a lot of fun and the clubs did them right. Live bands, food, etc at rented nightclubs, hotel ballrooms, and maybe Rockbridge CC. Forest Lake and Wildwood wouldn't allow it.
    Dennis did sound a whole lot sour in his first post. I was was friends with all sorts of classmates. I was the guy that bridged those social gaps throughout high school.
    I was also part of the RNE & SV First Week crew that went to Surfside, Garden City, North Myrtle, & Cherry Grove. Our group stayed primarily in Surfside starting in my Sophomore year. It was the first full week in June of summer after school let out, hence the name "First Week".
    Best times ever in high school. Beach, no parents for the most part, friends older brother was the chaperone, ocean, bikinis, girls, booze, girls, beach, ocean, booze, girls.
    I am sorry for those that never were able to experience a first week, because it was always a blast. First taste of real freedom from the parents, older siblings and cool aunts were the primary chaperones. How we survived unscathed from each of those trips is beyond me. I think it had to do with always having each others backs. Whew....some really close friendships developed on those trips. It wasn't just well off kids either. You pile 12 people into a house and it's $75 for the week. You never really stayed at your own house anyway. Least I didn't.
    There has to be other peeps on here that went to First Week and were part of the HS social club scene.

    palmettoconnection

    16 Mar 17 at 1:27 pm

  9. Does anyone know if First Week still a thing in Columbia? I have asked people from other parts of the southeast and country over the years and I have yet to find anyone outside of the Columbia area that ever did something like a First Week.

    palmettoconnection

    16 Mar 17 at 1:36 pm

  10. I remember when I was in HS I had friends who would go to the beach for that first week after school ended and call it First Week...sadly I was not friends enough to join them and now that everyone has graduated and grown apart I lament how I've grown apart from them the way I have...

    Andrew

    16 Mar 17 at 6:30 pm

  11. First week at the beach, meaning the first week we were free from high school for the summer , was a must for most of us that went to Lower Richland.
    We would save money all year long and reserve a place to stay months before first week arrived. Back then it did not matter what we did there, everything was fun.
    Most times we would stay four to a room because of cost. We worked at places like McDonalds and grocery stores. None of us had a lot of money. We were not rich but always had a hell of a good time.

    Rick

    17 Mar 17 at 11:17 am

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