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  • I do not know how or when it started, but for most of my life, I have been a part of a Miss America pool each year. We always divided the number of contestants by the number of people who wanted to be in the pool and decided how much each person would contribute to the pool. If the answer to the division problem was not even, we would add blanks until each person was going to get the same amount of entries.
    The process would always begin with a discussion of how many contestants would there be in any given year. Would there be a Miss Puerto Rico or a Miss Virgin Islands, or would there just be 50 women? Next we had to write the names of all the states on slips of paper---and there many times we would only have 48 and have to figure out which one(s) we missed. Next we would draw the names for the people who were not present for the show. Once the drawings were done it was time to watch the show. We also asked each of the group who gathered to bring a Miss America story with them and share it. We heard from two people who drove Bert parks’ car to Florida, one person whose family hosted a Miss America contestant, and one other who stayed at the same hotel in Atlantic City as all of the contestants.
    The show was always interesting, but when they cut the number down to 10 semi-finalists, the pool heated up. Some people were eliminated; some had more than one chance to win. Next the 5 finalists were revealed. It seemed as if every year someone would have 2 of them.
    We waited anxiously for Bert to sing the song, for the previous Miss America to crown her successor, and for the money to be awarded.
    I was able to continue this tradition with my own family, and we had many good times. We all sort of lost sight of the contest and when it was happening, but tonight I happened to see it on the television. I made up some slips, put some money on my desk, and made some picks. I can’t lose.
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