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Schools celebrate 70th class reunions

by JULIE E. MARTIN jmartin@indianagazette.net on October 06, 2013 2:00 AM

High school memories were on the menu at the Hoss’s restaurant in White Township yesterday as two groups — both celebrating their 70th class reunion — gathered to catch up and reminisce about school days gone by.

Members of the Marion Center High School class of 1943, as well as those who graduated from Indiana High School the same year, were happy to find themselves back in the area during IUP’s homecoming weekend.

The Marion Center alumni have made an annual event of the reunion for many years, according to Bob Walker, 89, of Layfayette, Ind.

“We’ve had a lot of them,” the Marion Center graduate said, adding that usually the same members of the class of ‘43 often attend year after year.

His senior class, Walker said, was a small one, graduating 33. About 10 Marion Center grads planned to go, along with their spouses.

After the reunion lunch, he said, the classmates would go to visit another alum who was living at Heritage House senior living home to meet with him and snap a picture.

Walker brought photos of past reunions with plans to share extra copies with his friends.

With a long trip back and forth between one Indiana and another, Walker said this may be the final reunion he attends. The opportunity to see his some of his friends one last time was one he didn’t want to miss.

“They keep getting less and less,” he said. “After 70 years, it wouldn’t be any wonder.”

For Margaret “Peggy” Spence, 90, of Creekside, plans for the 70-year class reunion for Indiana High School class of 1943 were a welcome surprise.

A good friend and fellow IHS graduate, Wanneta Trimble, contacted her late in the summer about planning a reunion.

“I was very elated when she called me,” Spence said. “I thought, ‘isn’t this wonderful?’ Bless her heart.”

And she wasn’t the only one delighted by the news. Spence said that, when reservations were made at Hoss’s, those making the arrangements were “shocked” that the group was booking a table for people who had graduated from high school 70 years ago, in 1943.

That same year, Winston Churchill and FDR met at the Casablanca Conference, construction of the Pentagon was completed and Frank Sinatra signed as a solo artist with Columbia Records.

Spence, who served as the emcee for the late lunch reunion, prepared for the event by digging out school memorabilia, which she has meticulously saved for more than seven decades.

Among the items she had to share were yearbooks — one, of course, from her senior year.

She also found diplomas, photos and even her class ring, embossed with an image of Indiana High School on the top, either side flanked by the face of an Indian. She said she was considering wearing it to the reunion.

“My goodness, I must have kept everything,” she said. “I haven’t looked at these — I bet it’s been 50 years.”

A little box held neatly stacked name cards that classmates exchanged the year they graduated.

“I bet there are very few that have their name cards,” she said.

An old envelope revealed a neatly folded letter dated March 5, 1943. Addressed to the Acme Supermarket in Indiana, it was part of a school project where students had to apply for a job.

“I was surprised and amused,” she said. “I did not know I had that letter.”

Though surprising to her, the fact that she held on to such mementos makes sense to Spence.

“I think whenever you put so much into going to school — you put your whole heart into it — and those things mean so much. So you take care of them.”

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