2008.09.24 Please plan our reunion

Written by David Green.


At a recent wedding—not one of my own kids, for a change—I did a little table hopping to sit next to my classmate Dwight Mansfield for a few minutes.

When Dwight and I have one of our brief encounters, we often talk about events from around 40 years ago when we both were making our way through high school in Morenci, in the old building on Summit Street.

We didn’t hang out together back then. Dwight was an FFA guy and I lived in town. Come to think of it, I don’t even know where he lived. Must have been on a farm somewhere west of town.

Still, we got along fine, we just didn’t have a lot of common paths.

When we talked the previous weekend, the subject turned to the classmates who are no longer with us. I think we’ve been on that topic before. It seems that too many of our class of 64 people died rather young. Dow and Jo Anne. Ruth and Shirley. Brad and Sherry. Maybe another one, according to Dwight.

This reminds me of a column I wrote a few months ago about aging:

The age 63 has a special meaning to the typical American, Kinsley writes, because your associates begin disappearing then.

When you reach age 63, you should expect to lose one member of your group every year, then the pace accelerates.

Dwight and I aren’t at that age yet, and I always remind him that he’s a lot older than I am.

We spent a few minutes with “whatever happened to so-and-so?” Oddly enough, another person at the table—the much younger Kirk Onweller—seemed to have a better track on the Class of ’68 than either Dwight or I.

I’m looking through the yearbook now  and there appears to be only 16 of us who still have Morenci addresses, and perhaps another eight live not too far away.

But there remain a few question marks. Marlyn Dickerson, Mark Evers, Vickie Farquhar, Judy Huff, Lila Jones, Sandy Zimmerman. Are you nearby and I just don’t recognize you?

In the photo caption for the National Honor Society officers, there’s mention of Mrs. Stahl starting an Honor Code system that emphasized character more than scholarship. I think that had something to do with the club’s president, the Green kid, who Mrs. Stahl thought was destroying the organization with his questionable behavior.

Well, sure, there was the alternative school newspaper incident. I wonder if she also knew I was involved in hanging that big “Dream” sign on the front of the high school one Sunday night.

Certainly she heard about Ramon Towne and me making too much noise in honor study hall where our homework consisted of playing Crazy Eights. And I suppose she was aware of how Mr. Thompson in the adjoining chemistry room blew rotten egg fumes through the electrical outlet and forced Ramon and I to flee.

I wouldn’t go as far as using the word “troublemaker,” but I suppose I caused some problems.

The best way to review these stories from the past and to get all the connections to old classmates straight would be at a reunion. I wouldn’t have even thought about that, but Dwight had to bring it up. This is the year for our 40th and it’s rapidly going by.

Dwight didn’t sound as though he was about to do any organizing for a reunion. In the past, we relied on Brad Mansfield and Ruth Walton, now both gone, and Janet Hall, now moved away.

There was an informal club in our class known as The Mafia and maybe they could get something done. Jim McDowell, Gary Camburn and Jim Brink still live here. That sounds like a trustworthy trio to cook up some refreshments, at least.

I thought Dennis Dominique and Terry Ely were part of the group, too, but they aren’t in the Mafia yearbook photo. I keep going back to Dennis’s senior photo. Did he have stitches hanging out of his forehead from a recent mishap or was there just some dust on the printing plate?

If we’re going to re-unite before it becomes 41 years, we’d probably do best to turn to someone else to help us out.

Maybe Renée Allen, Rosine Price and Bill VanValkenburg from the junior class could pull something together for us. They’re all good organizers. And, of course, Kirk Onweller, who knows more about us than we do.

So go to it, guys. Just let us know when and where and we’ll be there.

  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
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  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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