50th Class Reunion Presentation

It is July 5,2012 and I need to think about what I want to say at the reunion on September 1.  I close my eyes and try to look back to the Fall of 1958. I concentrate really hard and suddenly realize that I          moving back in time at an incredible rate. My life is quickly appearing before me in reverse,  I am retired in Florida, I am playing in my bands, I am seeing patients in my dental office, I see my grandsons being born,  I see my son getting married, I  am seeing more patients in my dental office, Mary and I are getting married,  I am seeing even more patients, I am married to a different woman, I am in Minnesota in Dental School, I witness the birth of my son, I am married to still another woman, I am in the Army, amazingly I am married to another woman, I am on the road with a band, now I am playing in the Quintones, but wait! Now I am at Roosevelt Jr High, I am at Lincoln School in 6th grade. Whoa!   I have gone too far. I reset my virtual timer and finally I am in the summer of 1958.

I am getting ready to enter MacArthur High School and it is a scarey prospect. My basketball buddies, Bryden Carnahan, Bob Givens, Dave Bradley and I have been talking about what is ahead while shooting buckets at Dave’s court in his back yard. We are nervous about a couple things. The thought of having to be a Freshman with all of those upperclassmen is a daunting one. We are only 13, just barely teenagers and some of the kids at MacArthur are actually shaving and driving cars. We also have real concerns about meeting and mixing with the kids who will be coming to MacArthur from Woodrow Wilson Jr. High. After all, they are from the West End and we had heard that they were all rich compared to those of us from Roosevelt. We have met some of them at Teen Town on Friday nights at the YWCA and they seemed ok but we were still concerned.

Well, the big day came a couple days after Labor Day and I was starting this new adventure. Except for the fact that an upperclassman tried to sell me an elevator pass for $1, things went smoothly enough. In my memories, I am walking down the halls looking into the various classrooms and meetings during our Freshman year and remembering details of that memorable year.

Our class officers that year were:  Bryden Carnahan President, myself-VP, Sally Mitchell-Sec, and Bruce Johnson-Treas. Gary Kaylor-Sgt-at-arms.

Freshman council included people like Gary Gregory, Mary Marsh, and Jeanette Ferguson.

Student government was new to us but we learned quickly that each class had reps on Student Council and our reps included Judy Tangney In addition to our Class Officers.

Organized sports were something new to us and we were excited about participating. The Frosh Football team included such future varsity stars as Merle Bourne, Dave Brown, Ben Biscan, Jim Filson , Terry Smith,  Bob Givens, Dave Hoyt, Bob Reindl, Gary Kaylor, Larry Angel,  Elmer Bruso, and Colin Deakins

The Frosh Basketball team included some of the same guys with the addition of Al Ferguson, Bryden Carnahan and Larry Greenwell.

In my trip down the halls I have come to the Language Department and take a look in to find Fred Straub, Elaine Winter, Janis Woodford, Ben Biscan, Deb Grant, Mary An Quick, Colin Deakins, Bruce Johnson, Gary Gregory, Chris Hundley, Sue Chastain and Mary Kay Gisolo in their Latin class.

Next door in the Spanish room I see Sandy Hopkins, Bruce Johnson, Jim Filson, Marilyn McCane, Bob Givens,  and Bryden

Across the hall I look into the French room and  I see Jim Budde, Betty Brown, Jan Bear, and Sherri Studebaker and myself

The German room only has Sally Mitchell in there sitting all by herself talking to Mr. Kirby.

Now I go upstairs to Ruth Helen Burlison’s choir room and I see a bunch of my freshman friends singing their hearts out. There is Dave Osborne, Elaine Winter, Cretta Nelson, Ann Baker, Carolyn Hoyt, Barb Barnes, Sandra Paul, Linda Fenton, Sylvia Bechtel, Bob Givens, Jim Filson, Deb Grant, Janis Woodford, Judy Talbert, Jeanine White, Sandy Hopkins, Sue Chastain, Michela Cooper, Chris Hundley, Betty Brown and Jan Bear.

Homecoming Festivities were new to us as Freshmen. The homecoming queen that year was a senior named Judy Larson who also happened to be a varsity cheerleader and the heartthrob of all the boys in the freshman class. Our Freshman Attendant was Judy Talbert.

In the spring our tennis team won 4th at the state meet and featured two freshmen, Jerry Garver and Lornie Kuhle.

The golf team won second at the district meet and featured Terry Grimm who happens to be the husband of Sue Chastain and is here tonight.

One of the highlights of our freshman year at Big Mac was the fact that we had multiple bomb scares called  in which always resulted in the entire student body going outside no matter what the weather. Never was sure who called them in but they were a great distraction from our studies.

As I continued my subconscious virtual tour of the past I realized that I was in my sophomore year and it was 1959-60.

Class officers changed slightly with Bryden being reelected President, Tom Johnson was VP, Marilyn Mc Cane was our Sec and Mike Madaus was our Treasurer

Class Council featured Al Ferguson, Cretta Nelson, Gary Gregory, Bruce Johnson, Jan Bear and Mary Kay Gisolo

The varsity Football team that year had a record of 6-3 and our own Dave Osborne was named the manager of the team.

The Sophomore team was coached by Jerry Curtis and Bill Moutray. Our class was represented by Merle Bourne, Dave Brown, Gene Dyar, Roger Dahl, Earl Walker, Jim Filson, Larry Angel, Colin Deakins, Larry Greenwell, Elmer Bruso, and Gary Kaylor. (already starting to see that Kaylor name a lot)

The Sophomore Basketball team was coached by Bob Turner and included Dave Bradley, Bryden Carnahan, Winslow Jeffries, Al Ferguson, Merle Bourne, Larry Greenwell and yours truly.

By now our classmates were being allowed to be a part of the Cadet yearbook staff and the Monitor school newspaper staff. I walked past their offices to see who might be involved with these two projects.

The Cadet staff included Sandra Paul, Deb Grant and Jan Bear

Mary Kay Gisolo and Mary Ann Quick were on the Monitor staff.

As I walked by the student lounge where the student council met I saw that we were well represented by Tom Johnson, Jeanette Ferguson, Mary Ann Quick, Ann Baker, Earl Walker and Bryden.

No walk is complete without checking the language department so I checked the German Club first and found Charles Leonard conversing with Mr. Kirby. Did Mr. Kirby only have one student at a time?

Madmoiselle Larimore was deep in French conversation with Judy Tangney, Linda Billingsley and Michela Cooper (who probably ended up being the only one that ever used the language since she has lived in France most of her adult life)

Mike Peters and Barb Barnes were studiously working on Spanish nomenclature in the Spanish classroom.

  We were starting to look at the various options for our future which opened up opportunities for other club participation.

I went down a different hall and found the future Nurses club in progress with Linda Billingsley and Carol Highsmith, both of whom made that their life’s work.

As I left the Nurses club on the way to my next stop, who should I run into in the hall but Wanda Schofield coming from from one of her classes.  And there was Bob Reindl that I had played football with in 8th grade on Merle Bourne’s team the Garfield Tigers. I also recognized Bryan Lickey and tried to remind him that I had delivered the newspaper to his house on North Oakland Street. I looked right at them but they acted like they couldn’t see me so I guess I must have been invisible in this virtual trip to MacArthur.

As I moved on I wondered whatever happened to Chris Johns and then I remembered that he went away to prep school and missed the MacArthur stuff.

Cretta Nelson and Mary Word were in The Future Business Leaders Club meeting in another room.

Womens’s sports opportunities were very scarce in 1960 so our ladies had to rely on the Girls Athletic Association or the Dolphin Club to exhibit their skills. As I walked by the Girls gym I saw Sandy Hopkins in GAA and remembered that the YWCA hosted the Dolphin Club swimmers including Sally Mitchell, Jan Bear and Mary Kay Gisolo.

We kidded about the Camera Club and Projectionists sometimes but now I wish I had been involved in the club to have more knowledge of how to take a decent picture and how to program my VCR which I have to ask my wife to do. As I passed this club meeting I saw Tom Parry and John Redman in there.

While I never knew a thing about firearms until I got drafted, Dick Wilson and Jerry Garver took an early interest in the Rifle Club. Jerry has been an avid hunter all of his life due to his interest in the club.

My travels took me past Miss Burlison’s rooms again and I found many of the same faces that I saw in the freshman music programs including Janis Woodford, Elaine Winter, Judy Talbert, Linda Fenton, Ben Biscan, Ann Baker, Sylvia Bechtel, Jeanine White, Cretta Nelson, Michela Cooper, Bob Givens, Sandy Hopkins, Barb Barnes and Sandra Paul. And I’m not going to say Mary Kay Gisolo or Jan Bear again for awhile but you know they are in there somewhere.

The Homecoming Queen this year was Judy Erickson, a senior who was every guy’s dream date and our Sophomore Attendent was Nina Mannhalter.

I happened to walk by the auditorium during the Homecoming Assembly and who should be playing on the stage but the original Jumping Jacks, featuring Dave Tennant singing and sounding like Ricky Nelson, Al Ferguson on guitar, Bobby Givens on piano and yours truly on sax. This was the precursor to Chuck Givens and the Quintones.

We had our share of would-be actors in our class too. As I walked down to the Drama Club room I saw Liz French rehearsing her lines as the lead in the play of the year, Dear Ruth.

The next thing I knew, I was wondering around in the 1960-1961 year, our Junior year.

Our class officers had seen some changes. Yours truly is now the Prez, Sue Durbin is the VP, Nina Mannhalter is our Sec, Al Ferguson is our Treas. And Lornie Kuhle is our sgt-at-arms. Additional members of the class council are Gene Dyar, Sally Mitchell, Dave Bradley and Tom Parry.

As I visit the Cadet yearbook office I see that our class is now taking a major role in it with such classmates as Linda Billingsley, Sue Chastain, Mary Ann Quick, Deb Grant, Barb Barnes, Earl Walker, Sally Mitchell (that name keeps popping up) Marilyn McCane, and Jan Bear (another name that keeps popping up)

The Monitor newspaper office is just next door so I might as well take a peek and see who from the class is in there. I see Betty Brown, Mary Kay Gisolo and Jan Bear ( how did she get into two places at once? I just saw her in the Cadet office)

Our student council reps this year include Richard Wilson, Sue Chastain, Marilyn McCane, Al Ferguson, Deb Grant and there is that Gary Kaylor guy again. How does he find time to study?

I believe this must be about the time that we were allowed to go to Fun Club at the YMCA on Friday nights. Tom Johnson was our school rep on the Board that oversaw the Club’s operations. Many happy memories of Fun Club.

As I passed by the Camera Club room I saw that our members have stayed consistent with John Redman,   and Mike Peters. Mike was also active in the Coin Club. The collection and sale of coins is still his passion today.

The Future Business Leaders club members are also some of the same ones I saw last year, Cretta Nelson, Mary Word, Kathy Funk, and Key Newlin.

By the end of our sophomore year many of our classmates had fulfilled their language obligation so the only ones still taking a foreign language as juniors were the ones that were serious about it. In the Spanish room I saw Sue Chastain, and Linda Fenton. In the French room I saw Tom Parry, Mary Ann Quick and Mary Word. And in the German room I saw Frank Elston, Gene Dyar and Charles Leonard. Mr. Kirby finally has more than one student.

The Drama Club room was rehearsing for something because I saw Liz French, Mary AnnQuick, and Ron Henson in there. My guess is that Ron was perfecting his latest magical trick for his act. Amazingly enough he became a professional magician before he died a few short years ago.

As I continued down the hall toward Miss Hodson’s Art room, I peeked to see if I knew anyone from our class that was creative enough to be in there. Low and behold there was Sue Chastain working on her latest jewelry creations which she still sells.

Down the hall and to the left I found the Social Studies Club room. Tom and Bruce Johnson were in there along with Fred Straub, Tom Parry, Dave Osborne and of course the ever present Mary Kay Gisolo. When I figured out what the combined IQ of the room was I immediately knew why I was not a member of the club.

Miss Burlison’s room was still resounding with the vocal talent of our class with  Sylvia Bechtel, Kathy Funk, Janice Woodford, David Osborne, Carolyn Hoyt, Janet Campbell, Cretta Nelson, Sandy Hopkins, Jeanine White, Bob Givens, Michela Cooper, Sally Mitchell, Mary Ann Quick, Sandra Paul, Sue Chastain, Tom Parry, and the ever present combo of Mary Kay Gisolo and Jan Bear.

I had not been past the Orchestra Room in my travels so I stopped by to see Mr. Werner and see who might be in orchestra. There was Charles Leonard on violin, Liz French on clarinet, Gerald Marietta on Trumpet and naturally Mary Kay Gisolo on flute.

The varsity football team did not have a stellar season with a 2-5-2 record. I hesitate to name names for this team but even with a rather dismal record these guys were great athletes. It must have been bad coaching. Anyway some of the members were Larry Greenwell,  Dave Brown, Elmer Bruso, Colin Deakins, Merle Bourne, Terry Smith, Gene Dyar, Jim Filson, Gary Kaylor (there is that name again) Larry Angel, and Dave Osborne was the manager. (maybe the poor record was Dave’s fault. He wasn’t taping the ankles correctly or something)

The Varsity Basketball team featured Al Ferguson, Winslow Jeffries, Dave Tennant and Dave Bradley

Marilyn McCane was the only Junior to be named to the Varsity Cheerleading squad.  (Miss Carlson’s pet?)

The Homecoming Queen this year was Nancy Luka and our Junior Class Attendant was Jean Cloyd.

Our Junior Class float in the parade won Third Place. I remember many hours of stuffing colored napkins into the chicken wire in Carol Highsmith’s garage.

The big event of 1960 was our mock election of John F. Kennedy over Richard Nixon. We were all mesmerized by his looks and personality. We had no idea that Marilyn Monroe felt the same way.

Enough of getting sidetracked by my memories. 

As I continued to walk down the halls I found Mr. Lanman’s office which brought back memories of finally being old enough to take driver’s training classes before we took our license exam. The good news is that most of us passed on the first try but it was a nerve wracking experience. I was never to feel that nervous again until I took my national boards for my dental license, unless it was the night before my 4th marriage.  

As I continued to walk past the student lounge I was reminded of the fact that the Junior class ran the Student Council. As I looked in on their meeting I saw President Mike Murphy along with his VP Carol Highsmith, his Sec Betty Brown, his Treas Jean Cloyd , his sgts at arms Garry Kaylor and Dave Tennant and his Historian, wouldn’t you know it?  Mary Kay Gisolo.

Walking by the auditorium reminded me that this is the year that I made personal history by spending a day in the office in big trouble. The occasion was the Spring Assembly for the whole school. The Quintones, with Al Ferguson, John Baldwin, Bob Edwards, Merle Bourne and myself had auditioned a song with Miss Burlison but in the show we interrupted the song when someone threw a potato up on the stage and we broke into our theme song “Mashed Potatoes”.  Neither Miss Burlison or Mr Tinch got the humor in the occasion. More on Mashed Potatoes later in the evening.

Our Junior year was when we were eligible for the National Honor Society. I should say the class was eligible. I was never eligible.

Our members who were inducted that year were, Sandra Paul, Michela Cooper, Gene Dyar, (this was about the time that Gene said to himself, “I think I will marry that Sandra Paul chick”), Linda Billingsley, Frank Elston, Jeannine White (this was about the time that Mike Peters said, “I better marry that  Jeanine White chick.”) Earl Walker, Tom Johnson, Deb Grant (this was not optional for Deb since her dad was the superintendent of schools), Tom Parry, Jan Bear and who else?  Mary Kay Gisolo.

The tennis team in our junior year was excellent as usual and included Ron Cochran, Jerry Garver and Lornie Kuhle.

By now, I am thinking that this flashback has been pretty cool. I am getting to see a lot of people I haven’t seen for 50 years. Unfortunately I remember more about the 60’s than I can remember about yesterday including my next door neighbor’s last name.

I knew I was nearing the end of my nostalgic trip but I still needed to visit our Senior year 1961-1962. I summoned up the last of my energy and started down the MacArthur halls one last time.

I remembered that the Homecoming Queen was Pam Dye who transferred in from Lincoln High School and had only been at MacArthur for a couple years and her Crownbearer was Marilyn McCane. I also remember that the SeniorClass float took 2nd place in the parade through downtown Decatur.

As I visited the gym I remembered that for the first time in the short history of the school, the students beat the faculty in the annual basketball game. Three of us celebrated that victory, Al Ferguson, Earl Walker and yours truly.

Bob Matheson’s football team had a banner year with an 8-1 record thanks to the efforts of Gary Kaylor, Colin Deakins, Dave Brown, Larry Greenwell, Steve Case, Terry Smith, Larry Angel, and Merle Bourne, who was named All State. Once again Dave Osborne was the manager and this time he must have taped the ankles better.

Ray DeMoulin’s basketball team had a 13-7 record. By now many Juniors were playing but Jim Budde, Dave Tennant, Mike Madaus and Ron Cochran represented the seniors along with Phil Hood, a recent transfer from Stephen Decatur.  

Varsity Cheerleaders were Jan Bear, Marilyn McCane,  Betty Brown, and Diane Brinkman who transferred to us from St. Teresa that year. I guess she just couldn’t take one more year of the nuns.

Our class was well represented on the Jr. Varsity squad by Christine Hundley, Sue Chastain, Marcia Callaway, and Sally Mitchell.

Moving back to the academic hallways I was reminded that Mary Kay Gisolo had just returned from a summer in Norway as our AFS student overseas. She helped get the Student Council motivated to give Christmas gifts to our three foreign exchange students, Diana Royal from the UK, Walter Kienzle from Germany and Michael Bohon from Belgium.

Michael Bohon was a real character and a clown at heart. He would joke around with us all the time until we would all yell “go home Bohon”. He loved it.  I hope he didn’t think we were serious. Michael passed away some years ago.

Many of our classmates were feeling the pressure of knowing that the end of high school was near and became involved in various clubs that might help them decide what was next for them. Linda Hatch and Judy Hastings became more involved with the Future Homemaker’s Association, while Tom Boehm, Mary Word and Linda got involved on the Library staff. Janis Woodford, Sherri Studebaker and Sandra Paul spent some time with the Drama Club preparing for their parts in the play, “East Wing Mob”. I assume they were hoping to make it to New York or Hollywood.

While this was going on we had a new rash of bomb scares, followed by a boiler room explosion that caused us to miss a few days of school. No one seemed to mind.

Making one last trip by the Cadet yearbook office I saw the new Editor-in-chief, Jan Bear working away with Deb Grant, Sue Chastain, Mary Ann Quick, Sherri Studebaker, and Marilyn McCane.

At the adjacent office the new Feature Editor for the Monitor newspaper, Jeanette Ferguson was busy along with her staff, Elaine Winter, Al Ferguson, and who else? Mary Kay Gisolo.

 As I retraced my footsteps past the Monitor office to Mr. Stewart’s room I saw the Senior Class President who looked amazingly similar to me, conducting a meeting with VP Bob Cargill, Sec Pam Dye, and Treas Frank Elston along with the council members Jeanine White, Deb Grant, Tom Parry and Diana Royal.

That particular hallway was the home for most of the clubs so I first looked in on the Chess Club and saw Richard Wilson playing Mr. Rudolph the club advisor.  (wonder who won?)

I walked by Mr. Nevill’s math room and saw that John Redman was in the camera club doing his thing as usual.

Mary Marsh, Judy Talbert and Bev Crawford were in the Office Occupation Club debating where they would like to work after graduation.

Tom Parry and Gene Dyar were in the Social Studies Club but I don’t think they were talking about anything social except I think I overheard Gene say something about that Sandra Paul chick.

The Distributive Education office had Ron Irby and Mike Peters talking and I distinctly heard Mike say that Jeannine White was a real fox.

Ron Cochran was in the Rifle Club room and not looking happy with that rifle in his hands so I just quietly closed the door and moved on.

Since the language rooms were close, I detoured over there and much to my amazement saw Walter Kienzle, our foreign exchange student from Germany, in the German classroom. Now I ask you. Why would he need to take German? Was he just trying to improve his GPA?

It was getting late and I had been on this journey long enough so I decided to make one last run through the Music Arts area where I looked in on the concert band and saw Fred Straub, Janet Campbell, Gene Dyar, Liz French and the ever present  Mary Kay Gisolo rehearsing for some show.

I went by Miss Burlison’s room (actually I sneaked by since I had no intention of having her see me since the “Mashed Potatoes” fiasco) I looked in and saw the usual suspects that had always been singing at MacArthur and they were hard at it.

The Senior Prom is the next thing I wanted to revisit. I remembered that our queen was Diana Royal. It was as I remembered it. Girls in beautiful formals and guys in tuxes that didn’t fit right and made you itch. Bryden hated his so much that he has made a good living renting and selling tuxes that do fit and don’t itch.

Big Mac Day was one of the last events I visited on my pilgrimage. It ends with the annual Jr-Sr Basketball game. The Seniors were victorius. Our ladies who played were Cretta Nelson, Sandy Hopkins, Ann Baker, Sylvia Bechtel, Marcia Callaway, and Sally Mitchell. The guys were Dave Bradley, Earl Walker, Al Ferguson, Bob Givens, Winslow Jeffries and yours truly.

The baseball team ended up 8-5 for the season with Gene Dyar and Steve Case on the team and the track team under coach Jerry Curtis won the District title with efforts from Larry Angel, Elmer Bruso, Colin Deakins, Winslow Jeffries, Ron Cochran and Lee Willett.

Graduation was highlighted by words from Dave Langenberg our Valedictorian, Steve Kimmel our Salutatorian, and Jan Bear our Orator.

I came out of my virtual tour into the past no worse for the wear. I double checked some of the things I had revisited by getting out my yearbooks from all 4 years and realized that almost every one of you attending this reunion were present in my memories somewhere.

 By the way if you felt you did not get enough print in the yearbooks, you can blame Jan Bear, Gary Kaylor and the ever present Mary Kay Gisolo for that.