THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Tales from the old-timer
The Rough Edges are all gone - Class of 74
By Jane Thibodeau Martin,
daughter of the Old-Timer
On July 12 I had the privilege of joining my high school classmates for a 40 year reunion. Of our class of something like 109, 41 and their assorted friends/spouses gathered to reconnect and reminisce. What a fine time we had.
I first must mention the classmates who planned and executed a really fun evening. I know that some people find these events stuffy and boring - but not for us, due to the work put in by our leader, Robin (Dohr) Swiatnicki and her helpers - Lori, Duane, Phyllis, Helen, Patti and Sue. If I forgot others, forgive me.
We had a nice mingling hour with a slideshow of pictures and music. Then the class photo taken by Barbra Alloy - followed by a remembrance of our five deceased classmates and a prayer led by Patti. Then we enjoyed a nice dinner. Afterwards, we played a table game with bottles of wine as a prize at each table - and all laughed when winners unwrapped the wine - good old Boonesfarm, which used to cost 99 cents a bottle. Still comes in electric colors and flavors, just like the old days. Then a rousing game of Family Feud, men vs. women, featuring trivia based on 1974. I am proud to announce the women won (again). The game was fun and provoked a lot of discussion about our recollections of popular TV shows, music and movies.
Then we all visited and this was the best part - the rough edges are gone, we are all grownups and the walls came down. Everyone moved around, there were hugs, grandchildren pictures and exchanges of emails and phone numbers. I was struck by the hallmarks of a small town school - people asked how younger or older siblings were, and most touching, lots of inquiries about how Mom and Dad are. Not empty discussions, because we knew each others families, and werent just making small talk. Some of us shared the losses we endured, and others commiserated about parents in declining health or struggling to live independently. You wouldnt see this at one of Oklahomas huge high schools class reunions - hard to know much about families when there are 300 or even more kids in a class. Just as interesting was what wasnt discussed - status, money, bragging rights about careers. No one was snobby.
Some of the classmates journeyed long distances to be there - California, Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma. Some were combining the reunion with family visits, like me, but some no longer have family in the immediate area, and it meant a lot to know they were present just to be with us again.
If you graduated in 1974 but werent with us - especially those of you who live in Peshtigo or close by; please consider joining us in five years. We missed you. You were remembered. We want to see you and reconnect with you, too. We werent whole because you werent there. We never know what tomorrow brings - make time to come back and celebrate with us.
I dont know what our full legacy is, the class of 1974. But I can tell you, there were a lot of truly kind, caring people who graduated that year. I am lucky to know them all.