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CARL KOLOGIE: Reunion in the South

by on January 26, 2014 1:49 AM

LAKE WALES, Fla. –– How long does it take to plan a class reunion? Even if it’s a small class it takes at least six months.

Believe it or not, it took about half an hour and five phone calls for members of the class of 1953 at Saltsburg to meet in Florida.

Okay, it really wasn’t a full-fledged class reunion, but it was the next best thing as five of us that “hung out” together in high school just happened to be within an hour and a half of each other — about 2,000 miles from Saltsburg — in the Sunshine State.

It all started when Sam Brink, who still lives in Saltsburg but winters in Cape Coral, made a call to Andy Shayka, formerly of Butler, who now is a permanent resident of Titusville.

When we found out that Rogers Frassenei, who resides in the Lower Merion area in eastern Pennsylvania, was in Orlando, a plan started to come together.

He was in Florida not only to vacation, but also visit his daughter, who holds an administrative position at Central Florida University in Orlando.

Jerry Clawson and I are practically neighbors in the development of Tower Lakes near Lake Wales, which is a central location for the others involved.

Clawson and his wife, the former Arlene Coleman, of Conemaugh Township, hosted the reunion last Sunday, the day of the National Football League playoffs. It was perfect.

Only three of us attended the last Saltsburg High School reunion in October, which is held every other year in Greensburg.

Rogers and Andy were neighbors in Patton, a coal mining town near Slickville in Loyalhanna Township, when they went to school in Saltsburg. Both were good athletes.

Rogers was awarded a football scholarship to Bucknell and then coached the sport successfully, and taught, after college.

He is a member of the Indiana County Sports Hall of Fame.

Andy, who is a talented carpenter, attended the state police academy in Harrisburg and retired as commander of the Butler station. He married the former Marylois Andritz, of Avonmore.

He was a starter on the Trojan basketball team, along with Rogers and Jerry, that won the Indiana County Tournament, which was phased out years ago.

Incidentally, that team was coached by John R. Coulson, a former principal and superintendent at Saltsburg.

And, how about this bit of trivia, I was a manager on that team and had to dress when the team got hit by the flu epidemic and didn’t have enough players.

I did play that game and it was against Elders Ridge, now Apollo-Ridge. And no, for your information Herman Sledzik of IUP fame, was not on that Elders Ridge team, he graduated a couple years earlier.

This impromptu reunion turned out to be a lot of fun as good times in the ’Burg were rehashed and we had a lot of laughs.

And it all happened in the Deep South, who would have believed it.

And sorry to say, the person responsible for the reunion, Sam Brink, did not make it due to unforeseen circumstances.



Carl Kologie is a columnist for The Indiana Gazette.
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