Sunday, September 18, 2011

50th High School Class Reunion

Thursday evening, September 15, nearly half of the members of the class of '61 gathered for a reunion dinner. The majority of us still live in the Midwest, but Linda Miller came from Massachusetts and Gary Kuhn came from Texas. Len Bauer, Ed Stroud and Marcy Avaux Stroud arrived from California. Janet Goldsmith and Allen Roberts came from Washington and Barb Beemer flew in from Australia. When you consider that one-fourth of our class has already passed on, our turn-out was really closer to seventy-five percent. A good showing!

Three classmates attended all twelve years together, beginning in first grade at Spaulding # 1 rural school all the way through four years and graduation at Corning High School. Pictured here before her quilt are Bonnie Harvey, Ed Stroud and Doris Johnson.
The quilt was a graduation gift from Bonnie's sister. Unbeknownst to Bonnie, she had all of the girls in the senior class sign a pieced sail boat quilt block which she then embroidered and set into a sea of blue. It was a nice surprise gift for Bonnie's graduation and a lovely memento for our reunion.

Our Sophomore English teacher, Neal Brown, was the guest of honor at our dinner. Phyllis Costin (pink jacket) introduced him, commenting that he had also taught some second generation children of ours. Mr. Brown regaled us with the entire Shakespeare "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" speech which we had to memorize in his class.

It has become a tradition for the 50th reunion class to ride in the Homecoming Parade. Here we are clapping and singing the school song: "We're loyal to you Corning High. We'll always be true Corning High....." It was fun riding down main street waving to everyone gathered to watch.

There were some tense moments waiting in line for the parade to begin when it was discovered one of the lowboy tires was almost flat. Thanks to small town cooperation, a service truck was quickly located and the tire was pumped up just in time.

One of the neat (neat was cool back then) things reunion organizers did for us was to make name badges using our senior pictures. You can kinda' see what Wayne Orstad, Marvin Jacobs and Chuck Zimmerman looked like 'back then'.

Don't you just know Ed Stroud and (Harrison) J Means are remembering winning the State Class A 440 Relay their senior year? Corning was defending the title having also won the previous year. These pictures are from the Friday evening social. Not everyone attended all the reunion activities, but it was fun to see old classmates at at least one of the gatherings.

Many of us have attended reunions in the past, but for some, like my friend Donna, this was the first time they had come back since graduation. I had told her how different the reunions the last several years were from our high school days - there were no longer 'cliques' - everyone talked with everyone else. Some of us look much the same; some have gray or white hair; some have had health problems and some haven't.

Left to right in this picture, Doris Johnson, Bonnie Harvey, Donna Hall and Linda Miller. Over Linda's shoulder is Joyce Helvie. She surprised me by telling me I was one of the ones she really wanted to see. "Do you remember after I moved to Hastings and didn't know anyone?" she asked me. "You wrote to me every week." Wow, another memory I had forgotten.

There were a lot of memories shared during these four days. We had fun swapping our stories. We remembered our class members who are gone. We thought of those still alive, but unable to attend the 50th. We said, "See you in five years", with our fingers crossed.

We celebrated being the CHS Class of '61.

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