A Remarkably Good Time at a Class Reunion

I received news of our 50-year class reunion about a year ago. A class of 152 high school students would be asked to reunite in Columbus, NE on Labor Day weekend – and yet I really didn’t know a single one of them. And it was a confession made to me by Margaret Ericksen Egleston in an email—we weren’t part of the popular crowd—that made me think: Why would I want to attend this reunion of once vibrant teenagers whose lives I crossed paths with at a dull, low point in my life? A time where my actions were monitored by a highly controlling mother who believed the world would end (“Armageddon”) before I reached the age of twenty.

Pat, Margaret, Sue, Jani

But after I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of attending. Maybe I would finally get to know people who I should have made friends with during that troubling period in my life. I must confess that I wanted to visit with Donna Ewert Dubsky and Margaret. Both of them had read and enjoyed my book, Growing Up in Mama’s Club, which describes my childhood.

My wife Helen and I organized our summer so that the class reunion would be the frosting on the cake. We left our Tucson home on June 30 and spent fifteen days at a rental home in Estes Park, CO. Then it was off to stay with friends in Long Pine, NE. (If you’re interested, I blogged that visit in July.) We followed that with four days in downtown Chicago and over a month in Grand Rapids, MI where we raised our children and where I spent 33 years of my working life. We arrived in Columbus Thursday evening and enjoyed an excellent meal at Dusters. On Friday morning, I visited with my 90-year-old mother, who still believes Armageddon is imminent. We showed up at the VFW Hall at 5:30 PM, where the reunion commenced.

When I walked into the Hall, I felt a positive, happy energy. I immediately knew that I’d made the right decision to attend. I had something in common with everyone in the room—our high school experience—be it good, bad, or indifferent. And as Jani Fey Stukas said, “we were the lucky ones as we were still vertical.”

Ron Graus was the first one to greet me. His smile was contagious, but of course he knows how to “work a room,” something that does not come easily for me. Mary McEnerney Goc greeted me with a big hug. I later learned that Jani had dubbed Mary, “The Generalissimo.” In spite of what Jani may tell you, Mary is the real deal, a hard-working “worker bee” and the kind of person I would want on my team. But there was one disconcerting moment: While I was making small talk with her husband, Dick, I told him how pleased I was to see Mary. The moment I mentioned her name, he immediately stiffened, came to attention, clicked his heels, and saluted. Maybe Jani and Dick know something I don’t.

I was impressed by the hard work and due diligence of Mary and Jean Treinies Munson who put together the “Class of 1961″ Binder. This was one of their many contributions, making the reunion a major success. It was definitely helpful to see pictures and bios of fellow students. (Donna did the cover art for the binder.) During those dead moments, as classmates circulated, it gave them time to digest what all had happened over the last fifty years. But there was plenty of time to visit. I particularly enjoyed good, lively conversations with Donna, her husband Dennis (a very cool guy), Bob Hughes, Gail Ballew Walters, Margaret, Bernard Hay, Kurt Leininger, Ed Loseke, Herb Peterson, Gerald Whitcomb and more. Remember, I wasn’t one of the “popular kids” in high school, so it was a bit of a challenge for some people to figure out who I was.

Jean, Bob, Karlyn, Sue, Kurt

I would like to thank Lois Davis Rosacker and Diane Swan Amenta for making trips to Columbus to help Mary put the picture boards together. Special kudos go to Vera Lutjelusche Cromwell for finding some of our long-lost classmates.

Rose Parade marchers: Margaret, Diane, Karlyn and Lois

On Saturday morning, we toured the newly renovated high school—a very impressive facility. Then it was lunch at Maximus; and dinner and socializing at the New World Inn. After dinner, we were treated to a nostalgic presentation by Brian Kluck and Jani. Helen and I said our goodbyes at the Sunday Brunch.

Brian, Margaret, Maryanne Whitcomb

Okay, you must know that I had a great time. But just why can I lay claim to that verdict? As a socially stunted teenager, I had to bide my time before I could finally utilize my God-given talents. Perhaps it’s why I espouse satire and irony so passionately and why I can be self-effacing and comfortable with ambiguity. Life is too short not to laugh – particularly about ourselves. You tease people you like. At least that’s my M.O. I don’t think people should take life too seriously, and I don’t. The way the reunion was organized, it was a big stage for a performer, especially a big tease like me who is also a writer looking for a story. But what clinched access to my creative comfort zone was that at no time did I hear anyone say, “Woe is me.” Religion and politics were never discussed. What I heard were unassuming, happy people. What you see at age 67 or 68, if you’re still vertical, is about as good as it will ever get. You can no longer con anyone into thinking you are anyone other than who you are. You are as happy as you will ever want to be.

As my wife and I drove back to Tucson, I got it into my head that some awards needed to be handed out to the brave classmates who attended the reunion and to one who didn’t. But remember, I’m a little boy at heart and I love to tease. I admired people like Kurt, Mary, Brian and more back in high school and still do. But no one would go unscathed and my satirical awards would contain a little bit of truth in all of them. Everyone should be able to see themselves in each roast. In other words, my intentions would not be to offend anyone, but rather to entertain.

What I saw was an opportunity for classmates to see themselves in two time dimensions: Back in high school as teenagers—naughty, presumptuous and terribly naïve—while at the same time being the responsible adults and grandparents that we are today. After all – why does anyone go to a 50-year class reunion?

But I can be serious from time to time. So first, I would like to crown Donna, Rita Speckmann Kafka, Bernard, and Mark Loseke as the best looking physical specimens at the reunion (and Mark is a cancer survivor). They all looked pretty damn good for the amount of tread wear they have on their 68-year-old vehicles. I would like to suggest that Mary Goc run as an Independent to be the next governor for the great state of Nebraska. She would have my vote. The award for the two most unassuming, this-shit-didn’t-go-to-my-head College Blue Bloods from our class go to Margaret and Brian. The classmate spouses that earned gold medals for attending go to Dennis Dubsky, Dick Goc, Danele Peterson, Josette Kluck, Darlene Asche, and my wife Helen. But after checking my “Johnny Carson crystal ball,” the Purple Heart Award has to go to Bob Hughes’ wife of fifty years, Darlene A. Hughes.

Jean Munson, Dianne Swan Armenta, Connie Meyer Czaplewski

The biggest No Show Award goes to Roger Cooley. If everything I heard about him at the reunion is true, perhaps there was good reason for him to spend the weekend with his family at the lake.

I saved the most prestigious award for last, and it goes to Matthis Asche. I never knew Matt while in high school. But when you sit next to an outspoken cancer survivor for two hours, you learn a lot about a person. And he is definitely LOUD! But that could be because he is hard of hearing. He had to tell me what he had to say while we were herded and seated into a noisy bar-like environment. Matt’s award is for being the classmate, in my opinion, for what Mark Twain says gets most people in trouble: He knows way too much stuff that ain’t so. If you don’t believe me, ask him how safe the neighborhood is around Wrigley Park in Chicago, or what news network presents the most unbiased news. That’s just for starters. In spite of his obvious handicap, he has lived all of his adult life with one woman, his wife Darlene. And it is not difficult to see that she loves and adores him. So his faults must pale in comparison to his strengths.

So fellow classmates, what did I miss about the Reunion? What else needs to be said? I hope you will take the time to comment on what for me and my wife was a remarkably good time. Our 50th-year class reunion was definitely the best.

P.S. If you have had your fill of my awards and silly insights about fellow classmates, you may want to stop here. But if you’d like a little more frivolity, my consummate satire, and an occasional “blue light” moment, please read on.

The award for “After all these years there is still a fire and sparkle in her eyes along with a contagious laughter” goes to Donna Dubsky.

Donna and Dennis Dubsky

Donna and Dennis Dubsky

Brian Kluck is the most likely classmate to be indicted in the near future for sexual harassment. And I know the woman—Xena is her name—who will file the lawsuit.

Posthumous awards go to Bob Mann for “When you start believing your bullshit you will get yourself into some serious doo-doo” –  and Dale Risk’s skills at getting classmates to ask him, “You want me to do WHAT?”

Karlyn Kuper Carson wins the “Miss Hoity-Toity look-a-like” contest. But then, that is the fabric of good designers.

Herb Peterson wins the: “It’s all right for guys to hug” award. He is also a finalist along with Brian Kluck, Larry Ball, Bob Ahrens, and Brant Egger for the “Pizza, Pizza, Pizza – I never met a Pizza I didn’t like” award.

I personally won three awards. They are: “I liked this guy better when he was in high school” awardthe “I didn’t like the guy when he was in high school – and now, fifty years later, I know why” awardand ”Mr. Potty Mouth.” I am a bit concerned about always being singled out for my colorful language.

When I asked Gerry Whitcomb if he thought his second marriage would work, he responded with a loud, clear, “Fucking A.” (Okay, he may have said that in one of my dreams.) But if you spent any time with Gerry’s wife, Maryanne, you would easily see why he thinks she is a keeper.

Kurt Leininger was nominated for “Am I running out of gas or did I lose a marble along the way?” (Okay, we could say that about everyone at the reunion. But Kurt has some pretty broad shoulders.)

A classmate we will never see at a reunion, Gordon Bahner, made either the most inane or most profound statement as he reflected on his high school years: “I neither appreciate nor regret my years at CHS. I do not believe they prepared me for the real world.

And with some regret, I am deeply saddened that while he was serving honorably in the military, shortly after high school, Jon Swanson unwittingly earned the “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you” award.

The last award is titled: “You got to be kidding!” It goes to Donna Ewart Dubsky. How is it possible for a responsible, intelligent, God-fearing woman like Donna to tell her classmates that one of the highlights of her high school years was when Nikki Gibbs smeared peanut butter all over a toilet seat in the girls’ bath room? Now I can see why some guys would say that, but not this classy grandma. Then again, wasn’t she a carhop at Y-Knot Drive-In in a previous life?

I would also like to recommend that our class of 1961 adopt as our song: We Did it our Way. The lyrics:

“Regrets? We’ve had a few,
But then, too few to mention.

Life is what it is and we can’t change a lot,
Our thoughts and beliefs are all that we’ve got.

It is what is and easy to see,
We are as happy as we want to be.”

P.S.S. Brian Kluck and I never had a conversation before this class reunion; not for the first 68 years of our lives. I don’t know if he knew that I existed. That all changed shortly before we had dinner on Saturday night. I could see that he was eyeing me curiously as we talked for ten minutes. Maybe he recognized me as a kindred spirit. However, as Helen and I were about to leave to go back to our motel, he whispered something quite profound in my ear. If I can remember his exact words, it went something like this. “So I see that you like irony. And it is with that in mind, I want you to know something that I observed over the course of this evening’s activities. Your wife, Helen, and Mary Goc have a lot in common. Both of them have been married to real Dicks all of their married lives. And I think you are a much bigger Dick than Mary’s husband. How ironic is that?” (Okay, Brian never told me that. But I think that’s what he was thinking.)


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Comments

  1. Dick Kelly says:

    John Hoyle, thank you so much for taking the time to put this story and the pictures up on my Blog. You are the best! For class mates that read this story, John graduated from high school in Riverside, CA in 1961. He like me, was trapped in the same high-control religious group while growing up as a child. But at age twenty, we both made the break. We reconnected about four years ago.

  2. Craig Bieber says:

    Dick-

    OK, this is my 3rd try. The first time, I didn’t enter a CAPTCHA code, and the 2nd time I entered the wrong code.

    Your are in fine form my friend. This is even more gutsy than Growing Up In Mama’s Club. Your writing and your wit are sharper than ever. It also reminds me that I kind of miss Just One Opinion. I have all of these things running around in my head, and no place to put them.

    My 50th reunion is coming up next summer in South Dakota, and I am looking forward to it. I am also looking forward to seeing you and Helen in Tucson this fall.

    Craig

  3. Dick Kelly says:

    Craig, coming from you that is quite a compliment. As you could no doubt tell, I really enjoyed writing this story. I also really enjoyed meeting with fellow graduates from so long ago. Good people. The kind of people I like to party with.

  4. Bob Rogers says:

    Well Dick, thanks a lot. I DID have plans to attend my 50th next summer, but after reading this unadulterated, uninhibited, unpredictable, piece of peanut-butter-on-a-toilet-seat, I might just pass.

    That of course was a thinly veiled backhanded compliment. Who knew such wit could come out of Nebraska? And, Craig, from South Dakota, this leaves a lot for us to live up to this time next year. If I go.

    Just back in Tucson, weather perfect.

    Bob Rogers

  5. John Hoyle says:

    I guess this is the year for reunions. I am getting ready to leave to attend my 50th in Riverside, CA next weekend (9/24). I doubt that mine will be as much fun as yours, Dick, but since I am traveling alone I have a lot more opportunity to get into trouble this trip. I swore that I was not going to this reunion, but finally relented when a couple of classmates indicated that my not going would ruin it for them. I wouldn’t want anyone feeling bad on my account, so I decided to brave the 1200 mile drive one more time.

    Reminds me of what my father told me after he attended his 50th class reunion in Frederick, OK back in 1984, the only reunion he ever went to. “John,” he said, “I was kinda looking forward to seeing my classmates after all those years. But when I got there, the room was full of old people. I thought I’d gone to the wrong place…”

    Good to have you back, Bob and Claire. Craig – JOO is not dead, just resting. Like Dick, I’m working on a book and other websites at the moment, so Just One Opinion has been hiatus until I catch up. Look for it to wake up after the first of the year – and when it does – watch out. Think along the lines of “blood, and hair, and eyeballs everywhere…”

    Oh, and sorry about the Captcha issues. It’s an inconvenience, I know, but wicked people lurk out there and their nasty little spambots are constantly searching for unprotected comment forms. It’s another necessary evil.

  6. Donna J. (Ewert) Dubsky says:

    Hi Dick
    You are a very ‘creative’ writer (to put it mildly) and I must say I enjoyed the finished version – better than the rough draft. The Devil must have made you do that one! He grabs us all at different stages of our lives. He has mostly left me alone since the ‘peanut butter incident’. Keep writing – it’s definitely your creative self-fulfillment. Thanks for the nice things you said about me in your blog – old people need a lot of ‘up lifting’…Donna

  7. Nikki Gibbs Serra says:

    This was fun, Dick! Thanks for your insights into the reunion which I regretfully missed. Dang! Maybe next time I’ll be able to see all my old classmates, again. I can only imagine all the hard work that went into the reunion and I’d also like to thank all you guys who put in the time and energy to make it happen! Nikki

  8. Carl Reuter says:

    Great time at your reunion; hope you and Helen will come to ours next year. Seriously, I think you and she fit in better than many of our own! (Nikki, you can come to ours, too! :-) Looking forward to reading your book.

  9. Richard: Thanks for including me in this mailing. I was not able to attend, so enjoyed this and all the pictures very much. Great job to everyone and to you cheers and a job well done.

  10. Carol Morlok Meedel says:

    Dick,
    Thanks so much for including me in your mailing of the 50th Class Reunion. I was only able to attend the dinner on Saturday. I did not get to speak to everyone but had a very enjoyable evening. I was the one with the walker. I am selling my home in Lincoln and will be moving to Tucson soon. Can you make any recommendations on things to see and do? My only son lives there.

  11. Mary Gottschall Teers says:

    Dear Dick, thank you for including me, Mary Gottschall,Teers. I grieved over not being able to come for our 50th! But, circumstances in our family prevented us from making the trip. I missed seeing everyone. We are all still looking great! We have blessings to count, growing up during a great era! Love to the class of “61. Thanks again to all those who made it all possible.
    Mary

  12. Dan Dykstra says:

    Enjoyed your reunion experiences. Our class of 62 meets next summer somewhere on the shores of Lake Michigan near South Haven. I suspect there will be a lot of surprises there too. At our last reunion about 5 years ago, one girl, a Karen Goss said, “Why Danny Dykstra! Do you remember what you wrote in my yearbook?” Of course, I didn’t have a clue. She said I wrote: ‘Dear Karen, I hate you! Love Dan’

    Well, I turned 67 this last June and ‘most’ of the time I’m ‘vertical’! Moving to our new house wore me out though! No more moves! I’ll have the house totally paid for when I’m 97, so I must have some years left, ha.

  13. Keith Kelly says:

    Dad, I read the Reunion story last night. Very good read, felt like I was there and got to know the people. Sounds like a great time!

  14. Norine Kasten says:

    I enjoyed reading and looking at the pics of your class reunion. The awards were great, and I’m sure your classmates got a ‘belly laugh” out of them. You & Helen had a great summer!

    Dean will have to read it later this week. He’s returning from a 15 day trip to Israel, Jordan, and Egypt. He was asked 1 week before the trip to come as a facilitator. The fact that it was free made it an offer he couldn’t refuse. Being a facilitator means he had to stay at the back of the group and make sure the crowd stayed together and no one got lost. He also needed to handle some of the business as far as paying bills, etc. We’ll know more about what he was to do when he gets back.

    Again, I really enjoyed reading about your reunion – the people looked very good and looked like they were having a great time!

  15. Kurt Leininger says:

    Dick – just read thru much of your reunion memorabilia and love your sarcastic, humorous style. You’re a keen observer of human traits, even though your subject probably isn’t aware of it! I must say, I do feel “out of gas” more often than I let on……

  16. Brian Kluck says:

    Dick,

    I tried to respond via your webbpage and I don’t know if you got it. The essence was that I enjoyed your comments about the reunion and really liked the pictures. It is true that I did not remember you from 50 years back, but I am glad you were at the reunion so I could get to know you a little. I plan to read your book. All families have their weird aspects, as you well know. Your mother is right, of course. The world is coming to an end. It is just a matter of time perspective that makes her seem strange on that one. Do I know anything about physics and time? Hell no. But I can still be in awe.

    Yes, I DO love Xena. I did say don’t tell Josette, but she already knows since she saw me sit through all those cheezy episodes just to glimpse Xena’s cans. That is just the way I am.

    I must protest that the thoughts you ascribed to me would never even cross my mind much less my tongue. The only bad thing about the reunion from my perspective was that I had to pretend to be enjoying seeing and talking with all my classmates. Such a burden because I am a naturally unfriendly guy.

    Anyway, thanks for the Reunion story. I hope we can stay in touch.

  17. Nancy Snell Swickard says:

    Dear Dick,

    Thank you for the cool piece of writing and the great photos of the Reunion. I have looked at your posting several times and love your wit. My husband and I also have a home in Tucson and it would be fun to have lunch with you and your wife. We are now spending most of our time at our hotel in Mexico working, but get up North about once a month.

    I am so glad that you put names with our classmates. We have all changed so much. That must have been an awesome experience seeing everyone. Did you get a photo of Donna? She and I both played clarinets in the band and sat next to Margaret. Margaret was the only one of us that could play.

    Really appreciate what you did on the behalf of those who could not or choose not to attend the Reunion. You are all brave and wonderful souls.

    Fondly,
    Nancy Snell Swickard

  18. Esther Royer Ayers says:

    My dear “Bro” Dick:
    Tut! Tut! Tut! I didn’t realize, before reading your “50th Anniversary” story that you have a second self. It’s another thing we have in common. My second self is Heather, so you can’t use that one. But you can use Herman, unless you object.
    It’s so characteristic for those of us raised in cults to have a second self. It all stems from our strict black-or-white religious conditioning. Black or white, translated into behavior, means good-or-bad, one or the other, and nothing in between.
    I most certainly wouldn’t call Heather bad, although she’s opposite my normally “good” self. When Heather comes out, folks loudly cheer her on. So, I think she’s good. I think she’s really good.
    I can plainly see your second self come out in your “50th anniversary” story, so I’ll loudly cheer you on with RAH! RAH! RAH! But, then I read your story again, and I say: Tut! Tut! Tut! Regardless of RAH ot Tut, I always say: “It’s good, Dick, it’s very, very good.”
    So Write on! And many accolades for a well-written story!
    Esther Royer Ayers

  19. John Hoyle says:

    I’m sitting in my underwear on the 9th floor of the Marriott Hotel in Riverside typing this add-on to your great article. My 50th reunion (Riverside, CA Polytechnic HS, 1961) will take place later tonight in one of the hotel’s ballrooms. During a small cocktail party last night, one of the organizers told me that about 160 of my classmates and their spouses will be there tonight.

    Maybe it’s the water or the clean air, but I have to say that your little group of classmates all look to be in better shape than most of my peers. Of course, as with your group, there are always a few guys and gals who look exactly the same as they did 50 years ago, with only a few pounds and some crow’s feet around the eyes to indicate they’ve aged at all. Heck! I looked older at 30 than a few of these folks do at nearly 70! One gal I spoke to actually went to elementary school with me and she’s still tiny, thin, and looks exactly like she did in junior high.

    But for the most part, most of the folks I met last night were completely unrecognizable. I was recognized by a few who saw me, but they couldn’t remember why or by my name, even after I told them. I sure it didn’t help that my sticky paper name tags kept falling off my shirt. I’m sure the janitor will wonder why my name was pasted all over the linoleum floor tiles.

    That tells you something about my level of popularity while I was in high school.

    I still think your group has mine beat by a fair distance. I’ll withhold final judgement until after our party tonight, but for a small school in a town surrounded by the corn fields of Nebraska, I’d have to say that you had a winning group. I’m glad you made it and got to enjoy that experience.

    BTW – Donna and Dennis Dubsky now have their photo buried somewhere in the text. Good looking couple…

  20. Barbara J. Alpers Vallero says:

    Hi, Dick – I received your snail-mail letter today regarding your Reunion story, which I will read when I finish writing this e-mail. Thank you so much for sending me the link!

    There must have been something wrong with “whatever” when you tried my e-mail address; it’s correct in the reunion binder. Anyway, your letter did find me and I appreciate your efforts to include me. Will be happy to see the pictures and read your story! Was really sorry I could not make it back for the reunion.

    Barb

    =

  21. Margaret Ericksen Egleston says:

    Dick,
    I am happy for you that you are hearing from classmates. I think your final version was much improved.
    The only thing I would change is to replace the blurry pictures in the body of the story. You also might want to add Whitcomb to Maryanne’s name. I assume she took Gerry’s last name.
    I’m sorry that there weren’t more photos sent to you. Maybe more were taken and classmates will send them to you.
    I will continue to follow your blog to read the comments.
    Margaret

  22. Dick Kelly says:

    Margaret, good advice. I will make the changes.

    You might be interested to know that Nancy Snell Swickard has sent me several emails. I pasted one of her comments, with her approval, on the comment section of the Blog. She mentions you and how talented you were and maybe still are.

    But the real story is that Nancy lives in the same gated community that Helen and I live in. We take daily walks and have made small talk with each other several times over the last two years, not knowing we shared a high school experience. We will get together for a dinner or lunch after she and her hubby get back from a trip to help out with their daughter in Florida.

    After our first contact, Nancy downloaded my book on Kindle. Yesterday, she emailed to tell me she was on chapter 22. Could not put the e-book down, what a good writer I was, etc. Needless to say, like any writer with a little more ego needs than most people, she made my day.

    I am glad that you liked the final version of the Reunion story. I am most grateful for your honesty and compassion during my first drafts as I needed yours and Mary’s input. Part of your problem, when you are helping the writer frame the story, is that you get the shards and road bumps. But never having written a piece for this small, unique group, our class of 1961, a group I did not really know, I needed your help. Maybe we can work on another writing project together in the future. Like helping me prepare for our next reunion if we are still vertical.

    Thanks for your post. I wondered if I had permanently offended you. Now I know that you know that I am who I am. But I do love hanging out with happy people, people who can laugh and tease. People like you who truly care about other people.

    Dick

  23. Jolene Rundell Timm says:

    Dick, What great writing. My next Amazon order will have your book included. You have a great side to you that hasn’t gone away since high school. And that’s your easy going attitude. I’ll never forget you and Bob Mann in Spanish class. What a riot. Looking forward to reading more of your blogs.
    Jolene

  24. A Reunion Junkie says:

    Dear Dick:

    Your classmate Boyd was my younger brother, and Lois forwarded your account of the reunion – wonderful!!!! I stay in close contact with Lois and also with a number of Boyd’s CHS friends, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the pictures and various accounts of your reunion. You had a great class. Marg and I grew up like siblings, Jani and her late sister Ardis have been great friends for nearly 60 years, I correspond frequently with Kurt and Bob Ahrens, and I regularly exchanged emails with Roger Miller for many years before he died. What you said – and what remained discreetly unspoken – makes me feel as if I was also at your reunion.

    I am a reunion addict. I just organized and thoroughly enjoyed a reunion of our Peace Corps Thailand group (1963-1965); I went to the 20th, 40th and 50th reunions of my CHS class; and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every one of my Stanford class reunions since 1993 – after swearing for decades that I would never attend one. In October we’ll be at Stanford again for an off-year reunion – organized by a friend who is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. A reminder that we should live every day as fully as possible.

    What you’ve written demonstrates one of the things I value most about reunions – some of the people you didn’t know well or who look back and see themselves as wall flowers seem to have the most interesting life stories. You have the added skill of being able to write about it all with impressive skill, insights, and great humor – making even the most pointed observation palatable through your own self-deprecation.

    One of my greatest pleasures at our 50th was chatting with David Hollman, a farm guy who transferred from Leigh HS for his junior year. He wrote a very thoughtful and introspective piece for the Memories book about how he saw himself at CHS and some of the challenges he’s faced since then. I hardly knew him at CHS, but we’ve corresponded fairly regularly since the reunion. I had dinner with him when I was in Omaha last February. Without a reunion – and his willingness to write about his life – it would never have happened. At my 40th I reconnected with Steve Ellenburg. We were friends in high school, but not really close. Since the 40th, we’ve stayed in regular contact – he and his wife have stayed with us in DC; Martha and I made a point of spending lots of time with them at the 50th; and we’ll be staying with them in Boulder in October.
    So, I am glad that you enjoyed coming in from the Cold. I hope that you continue to enjoy the friendships you’ve rekindled.

    Harlan Rosacker
    Washington, DC

  25. Karlyn Kuper Carson says:

    Hi Dick: Thanks so much for sending your writings about the reunion! I’m especially glad to have the photos. I was so busy chit-chatting, I forgot to take any. This after my husband Dick got our camera all charged up and ready for me. With the ones you, Susan and Margy sent, I feel as if I have a reasonably good collection. And I’m really grateful to all of you.

    The weekend went by much too quickly. I realize now how many people I didn’t have a chance to visit with , when reading your review/roast/reminiscence. I do think it would be great to have another gathering in about five years, assuming that most everyone will still be on the right side of the sod and able to attend. Since we entered the new school in 1958 with the two classes ahead of us, we’ve always shared a kind of bond with them. So perhaps we can do a collective gathering of three or four classes (the class behind us is also closely tied to ours).

    I’m always amazed to talk to people who have no interest in attending reunions. I would hate to miss one, and never have. I just care a great deal about my classmates and my hometown, and would probably go to one every year, if there were one. Guess I’m just a very sentimental person (my husband would attest to that, as to his dismay, I have trouble parting with memoribilia of any kind!). Anyway, this was certainly a very special, once-in-a -lifetime reunion and I just wish those who didn’t make it could have been there, too. Touring the school again (which I also did twenty years ago) was a special bonus, as there have been so many great changes there. What an impressive facility it is.

    Dick and I so often talk about how fortunate we were to grow up in small towns (he’s originally from Norfolk, which is almost the same size as Columbus) where kids were safe, people were caring, and life was relatively simple and generally happy. I realize that you had some personal challenges going on in your life at the time you were there, (and I’d like to read more about that , if you will let me know how to get a copy of your book), as did others, certainly. I gather that this trip back was somewhat cathartic for you and other classmates whose memories of high school weren’t necessarily positive overall. And that’s great. It seems to me that people haven’t really changed a great deal, or, if they have, it’s been for the better. I think we had a terrific class.

    I’ll share with you by mail something I once received about reunions, if I can find it in my files and get it printed. You’ll know who it’s from by my return address, with the name MISS HOITY TOITY LOOK-ALIKE! (MHTLA for short). It was fun seeing both you and Helen, and I wish time had permitted our visiting more. Sincerely, Karlyn




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