Thursday, December 16, 2010

Congratulations Jon and Dixie Martin

The Martins celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on June 11, 2010 with a family cruise to Alaska. Congratulations!

I Dare You Honor Roll--Danforth Foundation

I found this little certificate inside the I Dare You book, which had become too moldy in a box in the basement* even to read. I don't remember that I ever read it--and according to this site, it is considered a classic of self-improvement books. Maybe I was voted the girl most in need of improvement? Were the book and certificate given out with a different award? How many of these were given? It's not mentioned in the 1957 yearbook than I can find. Here's a summary:

"Fourfold development. Think tall, stand tall, smile tall, live tall. I Dare You; You can be bigger than your are; Are you one of the priceless few? I dare you to adventure; I dare you to do things; Now for the start; I dare you to be strong, think creatively, develop a magnetic personality, build character, to share; Launch out into the deep; I dare and share.

This self-empowerment classic is specifically written for the young and young at heart. This book encourages young readers to "dare" themselves to do things they should be doing, but fear or dislike doing. Things like getting up in the morning, doing their homework, trying out for the team, going to the dentist, etc.

This book is a classic in motivation and success that ranks right up there among such titles as "Think and Grow Rich", by N. Hill, "How to Win Friends and Influence People", by D. Carnegie, "The Power of Positive Thinking", by N. V. Peale, and "The Geatest Salesman in the World" by O. Mandino. This is truly a message that is just as valuable today as it was the day it was written. This is a wonderful book for both the young and not so young. The advice is invaluable for helping anyone achieve a positive and "can do" attitude.

"I Dare You is for the daring few who are headed somewhere. Those afraid to Dare might as well pass it up. It will weary the lazy because it calls for immediate action. It will bore the sophisticated, and amuse the skeptics. It will antagonize others. Some will not even know what it is all about. It will not be over-popular because it calls for courage, swift and daring. But in the eyes of you, one of the priceless few, I trust will come a renewal of purpose as you read on. You can be a bigger person than you are and I am going to prove it to you". - The author"

*For 34 years we lived in a house with no basement and no attic and we had no moldy papers.  Finally we have storage, and poof, most of it is unusable or smells bad.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Services for classmate Carolyn Manis Reynolds

From the Daily Herald: Carolyn A. Reynolds of Round Lake Beach; Carolyn A. Reynolds, 71, passed away Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010, at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. Private services are being held at the Burnett-Dane Funeral Home, Libertyville. Carolyn was born Oct. 13, 1939, in Freeport, Ill., and was raised and went to school in Mount Morris, Ill. She was a former Libertyville resident and had lived in Round Lake Beach for the past five years. Surviving are her husband, Herbert J. Reynolds; sons, Chris (Patrice) Reynolds of Wauconda and Michael Reynolds of Round Lake Beach; grandson, Tyler Reynolds; and brother, Lynn Manis. She was preceded in death by her brother, Jerry Lee Manis.

The most recent photo I have of Carolyn was taken at our 1987 class reunion, and mine is a very poor scan, so I'm posting this one of a girl scout outing. If you have something more recent, please forward. You'll remember that Carolyn was struck down with polio shortly before the vaccine became available, and returned to class, I think in 6th grade, on crutches. She gamely kept up--I remember hiking with her to Camp Emmaus and that she was active in CBYF! Few today younger than us remember this terrible scourge--our little community was hit hard.

And thanks to Jon M. who noticed this item in the Daily Herald and alerted Lynne.

Update from Nancy's archives: 1987 reunion photo of Carolyn

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Two photos from 1972 Times

Nancy has recently sent along two photos from the 1972 Mt. Morris Times, but taken 20+ years apart. The first one is our classmate Barb and a nice story for the home town on her career. The second is a "down memory lane" photo of the split 6th-7th grade class with Mrs. Westfall in 1951. If you click to enlarge you can read the captions.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

National Honor Society election 1956

No date on this Index photo, but it says we were juniors (1955-56), and in the Yearbook photo the girls are wearing white shoes, so induction must have been in the Spring, because you know we all followed those fashion dictates in those days. The Yearbook reported that only 15% of a class can be elected, and the Index said the upper 25%, and both that the standards were rising. The class of 1956 had 8 members, ours only 5.

King and Queen of 4-H--Dwayne and Mary Jane

You can click to enlarge and read the story about two members of our class, Mary Jane and Dwayne being crowned King and Queen of the Ogle County 4-H clubs in Spring 1956. Nancy L. another class member was included in the Royal Court. What a lovely slight this must have been during the candle lighting ceremony.

Cheering on the team 1955

Actually, I'm taking a stab at the year--1955. I didn't get a story or a date with the scan of this Index photo. However, I see Donna Lamm, Judy Garrison and Pat Claussen, class of 1955 in their Pepster outfits, and possibly Jean Davis, and it's indoors, so we're pretty sure it's basketball. Almost in the middle I see Gayle Dickson, class of 1956, then to her right is Judy Thomas, and in front of her maybe Sig Shook, possibly Jane Kiplinger, and Diane Bechtold, and down in front Don Raney and possibly Chuck Wean; near foreground Darlene Ruter, Dolores Saunders, Janet Fleer, and on the end is Sybil Dohlen. They weren't even in high school yet! Lynne was able to spot herself, but I couldn't; think I see Darlene and possibly Mary Lou. Anyone else want to take a guess and who, what and when?

Birthday parties were big for the ladies of '57

Click to enlarge

Can't be sure of the years, but I'm guessing the Lake Ripley event was May of 1952 or 1953,  and the party at the Olsens was 1954.  Does anyone have photos? Nowadays, everyone would have a cell phone camera and there would be 25-50 photos of each party!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A thank you note to the Kable Brothers Company

The bronze marker on the rock located behind the band shell on the campus and in front of the community gym reads:
50th anniversary
Kable Brothers Company
In grateful appreciation of the contribution made by its co-founders Harvey and Harry Kable, to the printing industry and the life of this community, their giving spirit has set a high standard of enterprise, integrity and kindness to our American way of life.
Erected by the businessmen's league of Mt. Morris, August 28, 1948.

Lynne sent in this photo and reports she doesn't remember the dedication and wonders if anyone else does.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sophomore sports photos

The caption of the photo doesn't tell the whole story. The night before our guys creamed Mt. Carrol, a town much closer to our size. And even so, the varsity did beat Dixon, after a record setting performance the night before against Mt. Carroll.

I don't have all the golf scores, but it looks like the Mounders did well against schools our own size, and the yearbook says the backbone of the team was Glen R., Dick M., Ken Z. and Dick Z. Norm G. and Jon M. played with the junior varsity.

Music activities from 1955

Sylvia T. won a first at District Music Contest along with Mary Ellen K. and Jon M., and then went on to play at the University of Illinois at the State Music Festival in Urbana (I don't have the outcomes for the others). In this Index photo she is going over her music with Wayne Johnson. She still plays in the town band and is the organist for the Church of the Brethren. Band members also played for school assemblies, marched in the Homecoming parade, played for football and basketball games and with the choral groups participated in the Blackhawk Music Festival.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Photos from the Pinecricker PowWow in Polo

The mostly local members of the class of 1957 met for lunch on a lovely fall day at the Pinecricker Grill in Polo on October 8. I thought the food and service was excellent, so if you're looking for a spot for your Friday night date, check this out. I took a few photos, and I think Sylvia did too, so let's see what we have. She has a much better camera and usually alerts people to "look this way," so I expect hers to show more faces, and fewer backs.

Here we have Bob C., Nancy S., Dave S., Sylvia T., and Ebba L.

I get some great "back of heads" photos--this is Bob C., Ron D., Lynne F. in the red, Fran K., Nancy G. standing, Marion D. and Diane B. The child is Diane's grandson, and the two guys you don't recognize are Fran's friend (green shirt) and my husband (blue shirt). Nancy S. husband Don was there too, but I don't see him in any of the shots. Jean M. was there, but maybe came after I took the photo.

Here's a surprise! Fran laughing, Lynne making a strong point, and Dave drinking a cup of coffee! Is there life after high school, as they say.

Photo from Sylvia added Jan. 16, 2011

It was a very hot day for October, and the sun was so bright we're all squinting, but we sat down for a mini-group photo on the bar side of the restaurant for a one last "see you next time."

I hadn't been to Polo in years. It looks much the same as when I was a corn detasseler in the 1950s, and the town has a very nice looking business district. Like Forreston it no longer has a grocery store. Shop local! Save your stores!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Funeral for Classmate Marvin Miller on October 9

From the Ogle County Life:

"COLUMBIA, MO — Marvin R. Miller, 71 passed away Aug. 29, 2010, in Columbia. Born August 21, 1939 in Freeport.
He served in the United States Army Reserve and was stationed in Germany during the Korean war.  He grew up in Mt. Morris  where he  resided and worked at Kable Printing Company  until moving to Columbia,  MO in 1974.
He is survived by sons Charlie (Lisa) Miller of Menomonie, WI; Andrew Miller Webster of Eau Claire, WI; and Frank Miller of High Bridge, WI.  Grandchildren are Ash and Tyler Miller of Menomonie, WI and Lilly Miller of High Bridge, WI.  Sister, Dianna (Wayne) Kretsinger of Leaf River, IL and several nieces and nephews.  He is predeceased by parents Edna Cullen and Kenneth Miller and brother John Miller. 
Military Honors will be held at the graveside in Oakwood Cemetery in Mt. Morris on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 3 p.m."
Note: I think the author of the obituary made an error on the era in which Marv served in the military--the Korean War ended in July 1953, the year we graduated from grade school. Sylvia Hageman of our 1957 class was his step-sister. His brother John (d. 2008) was a freshman when we were seniors and I think Dianna was a few years younger.

Our archivist Nancy S. found this great photo of the class walking in the 1992 July 4 parade and Marv is out front.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We're of an age. . .

Yes, friends and classmates, it's time.

If you turned 70.5 in 2009 or earlier you'll need to withdraw your minimum distribution from your tax-deferred retirement accounts by December 31, 2010.

If you turned 70.5 in 2010, you'll need to withdraw your minimum distribution by April 1, 2011.

I don't give tax advice, so for the details, you'll need to find another blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Lynne completes 700 mile walk during summer 2010

Possibly she didn't get those last few miles in--but last I heard, with 3 days of summer left, she'd walked 670 miles. Walking 5 miles a day is nothing for her. Now think about how small Mt. Morris is! She must know every tree, bird and bus driver by name!

Imagine what our track team could have done in the old days if the teams were co-ed!

Train photos by Wesley Fane and Steve Smeadly.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Update from Mike on his hip surgery

Well, here I am two weeks to the day after my surgery (September 21 from an entry at his blog). I have a nurse come to see me once a week to check my vital signs and to check my blood to see how the various drugs are affecting me. They ask me to evaluate my pain on a scale of 0-10. I'm pleased to say that it is a 0 most of the time, with and occasional 2-3. Most of that pain is not from my hip, but from my other muscles which are taking over the task of supporting my weight that I cannot put on my hip.

There are 3 things that I must keep in mind, according to the doctor. 1) Only 50% weight on my left leg, no more; 2) the angle of my body bending at the waist cannot exceed 90 degrees; and 3) my foot and leg cannot cross a line equidistant between my feet. So crossing my legs is a no-no. Also I must walk like a duck with my left foot pointed to the outside of my body. It must not be forced to turn to the inside. These things are getting hard to remember as it is difficult, with no pain, to resist just getting out and running or jumping or climbing trees, as I feel that I can readily do all that.

I sleep at night very well, but it must be on my back. I have adjusted to that as I am a side sleeper. Judy said that I snore mightily on my back. So to insure a sound night for her, I must sleep where all my growling bear noises cannot be heard by anyone. (She suggested the car in the garage, but I nixed that.) I am still a little uncomfortable sitting and typing on the computer as it is close to the 90 degree rule. As time allows, and time does march on here, I will keep anyone interested apprised of my progress in future blogs. Thanks for reading. Mike

For the complete story of Mike's hip problems, which actually began about three years ago, please go to his Owensville blog where he explains how it began, worsened after a fall, and then the procedure and  prognosis.

Update on Mike's progress as of October 13.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Correction leads to interesting biography

Someone anonymously corrected information at this blog about the Milwaukee Brewers/Braves and when I checked it out I came across a very detailed biography of Nelson Potter, Sr. with a number of quotes and anecdotes from our classmate Nelson "Tom" Potter. You'll enjoy reading this. If you grew up in MM, you remember all the Potters.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Reviewing the 1956 football season at MMHS

About three and a half years ago I posted this slide show and story by Lynne about the 1956 losing football season. It's kind of nostalgic, so maybe you'd enjoy reading it again.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Salley is back at it with the Senior Women's Amateur Championship

Story in the Rockford paper.

"URBANA — Salley Wessels of Mount Morris is one shot off the pace Tuesday after the first round of the 41st Illinois Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Stone Creek Golf Club.

Wessels, an eight-time winner and defending champion, shot a 77, tying her with Colleen Dold of Decatur for fifth place. They trail the foursome of Carol Stack of Champaign, Laura Carson of Lake Bluff, Mo Sheehan of Grayslake and Roberta Sentel of Marion."

HT Murray

Mid-September in Illinois

If our high school building were still a high school, and if we were still attending classes there on a hot September day and longing to escape . . . this is what we would see. . . Isn't it beautiful?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 11, 1960

Fifty years go by awfully fast, so here are some before and after photos of our wedding on September 11, 1960, and our party on September 12, 2010. We had it at our daughter's home, and although we were still working on the deck on Saturday evening, the weather and neighbors cooperated and we had about 120 guests who stopped by for an open house.

What a surprise! My sister had the wedding dress sent (a big hush, hush secret) which our mother made for her in 1955, and which I wore in 1960.

Another huge surprise--my brother came from Illinois! The new deck worked out great, and we had a large tent in the back yard.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mike is getting good care after surgery

Class president Mike recently was released from the hospital after a scheduled hip replacement. Judy writes that the surgery and recovery, so far, have gone well and he is starting a long period of rehab at home with visits from the nurses and physical therapists. He has a lot of restrictions, but Judy is a nurse and taking good care of him. She says, "He has a lot of upper body strength so has gotten very good at getting himself up from the chair by himself and walking around the house with his walker," and has even managed the stairs a few times. We wish you a speedy recovery, Mike!

The photo is a recent Balluff reunion at the White Pines, Judy on the far left and Mike in the blue shirt sitting between his two daughters.  Some of you may remember Ruth Balluff of Mt. Morris, who is in the middle next to Mike's daughter.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Fall Get Together Being Planned for Class

The class of 57 is planning to get together for lunch on Friday, October 8, 2010 at the Pinecricker Restaurant in Polo, Illinois at 11:30. Spouses or special friend are welcome, too. If you're in the area, join the group at 124 E Mason, the main drag. In case it's been a long time since you've been to Polo, here's our own GPS system (Lynne): "You can get to Polo via 9 curves road AKA Pines blacktop or by going east west out of Mt. Morris on Hwy 64 to the 8 mile and turning left on Hwy 26 into Polo." Or, as everyone says, "You can't miss it!"

A note from Norma to visitors here: Pine Creek which meanders through the hilly area between Polo and Oregon, Illinois, and through the White Pines State Park, was created from small, natural springs. There is a Pine Creek Township in Ogle County and people who live in that area are called Pine Creekers. My grandparents raised their large family there in the 1920s and 1930s. For some midwesterners of that region who were transplants from Tennessee, a Creek is a Crick, as in "Lord willing and the crick don't rise."

Another note, this one from Bob C.: "You drive west out of Mt. Morris, Norma, not east." I've always been directionally challenged and have to look at my wedding ring to figure out left from right, so I didn't even notice the problem!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mt. Morris Printing Plant Safe from Closures

In "our day," it was called Kable Printing, dating back to 1898 when twins Harvey J. and Harry G. Kable started the Kable Brothers Co. Our classmate Tina is a granddaughter of Harvey. Quad/Graphics of Sussex, WI bought World Color Press for $1.3 billion in January. The facility employs about 530 people.
    "Quad/Graphics owns and operates 45 plants nationwide, including one in Mt Morris, but will be closing five of those plants early next year. Quad/Graphics is moving the work for the clients at the closing plants to other plants. The Mt. Morris plant is equipped to handle the work from the closing plants, but the company is not disclosing which plants will get the work."
Mt. Morris Printing Plant Safe from Closures

The archives for Kable Printing are at NIU.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thad Wessels

Thad Wessels, son of classmate Salley, died on August 16, 2010, after suffering a stroke three months ago. Our deepest love, support and sympathy go out to his parents, Salley and Phil, and to Thad's wife and daughters, Michelle, Lauren and Lexie. According to Lynne, there will be a memorial service in Minnesota with family and friends, and later a memorial at Trinty Lutheran in Mt. Morris for local friends and family. If you need addresses to send condolences, please contact Lynne at More information will follow.

Update: There will be a full obituary in the Star Tribune paper and Rockford Star on 8/22, and there is a legacy page here.

Update: From the Rockford Star, August 22: "Thaddeus Olsen Wessels, 40 PRIOR LAKE, Minn. - Thaddeus Olsen Wessels, 40, died Monday, Aug. 16, 2010, in Regency Hospital in Golden Valley. Thad was born Jan. 12, 1970, in Rockford to Philip and Salley (Olsen) Wessels. He graduated from Mount Morris High School, Class of 1988. He received a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering from Bradley University in 1994. He married Michelle Gensler on June 17, 1995, in Kickapoo. He was employed as a corporate industrial engineer for Cenveo in Minneapolis. He enjoyed spending time with his family, traveling and golfing. Thad is survived by his parents; wife, Michelle of Prior Lake; daughters, Lauren MacKenna and Lexie Marie Wessels, both of Prior Lake; and brother, Seth Wessels of Midland, Mich. He is predeceased by his maternal grandparents; paternal grandparents; and stepbrother, James Wessels. Service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 29, in Trinity Lutheran Church, Mount Morris, with visitation from 1 to 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 29; the Rev. Steven Erickson will officiate. Memorials will be established in Mount Morris in Thad's name and to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital . Arrangements by Finch Funeral Home, Mount Morris.

From the Star Tribune, August 22: "Wessels, Thaddeus "Thad" Age 40, of Prior Lake MN, passed away on Monday, Aug. 16th at Regency Hospital of Minneapolis. He is survived by parents, Philip & Salley Wessels; brother, Seth Wessels; loving wife, Michelle (Gensler) Wessels and Daddy's girls, Lauren and Lexie Wessels. Preceded in death by one brother, Jim Wessels. He graduated from Bradley University and has worked as an engineer in the Printing industry for many years. He was an avid golfer and enjoyed traveling. He loved life, his family, and his friends who lived in states from Maryland to Oregon. Cremation has been accorded. A Celebration of his Life will be held at 10 AM Monday, Aug. 23rd at the Cremation Society of Minnesota, 7110 France Ave S. Edina, MN 55435 (952-924-4100). Visitation 9:30 AM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital."

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Girl Scout Troop 7 receives badges and stars

This item, now almost 60 years old, appeared in the Mt. Morris Index probably in 1951 and Lynne uncovered the clipping recently.
    "Fourteen members of Girl Scout Troop No. 7 and their leaders, Mrs. Lawrence Lamm, with her assistants, Mrs. Dan Fishman and Mrs. William Folgate, enjoyed an overnight hike to the Ross farm last week. A potluck supper for all the parents and families was a feature of the evening after which the girls were presented their badges and stars showing they have been girl scouts for the year. During the badge presentation ceremony, the investiture was held for Norma Corbett who has recently joined this troop. The Scout girls who participated in this overnight recreation were Sharon Rothermel, Sara Yoder, Barbara Emmert, Diane Bechtold, Darlene Holverson, Dorothy Raney, Marion Duncan, Kay Alter, Salley Olsen, Francine Kitzmiller, Lynne Fleming, Deborah Plum, Nancy Lamm and Priscilla Drummond.
Thanks for sending this Lynne--I remember Ross Farm, but don't remember this particular event. Also, I don't remember Mrs. Fishman being our assistant leader--I used to babysit for them. It's a good thing the class of 1957 was such a busy group--what would the paper have been without us?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The town Commercial League baseball

If you lived in a small town 50 years ago, you probably either followed or played or sponsored a sports team.  These fine young athletes were sponsored by Dewey's Gulf Service, and they took second place in the Commercial League during the first half of play.  The competition were teams from the Moose, VFW, and Corbett Oil.  Members of the "Gashouse Gang" are (kneeling left to right) Jim Watt, Bill Lundholm, Harold Hanke and Orion Brunk.  Standing left to right are classmate Dave Bartow, Stan Messer, Bob Hanke, Bob Bartow, Dick Duffy, Don Morehouse and Bob Rawes, as identified in the July 21, 1955 Mt. Morris Index.

Bill L., Murray T., and Dave S. all played on these teams and have supplied me with some additional information not in the above article. Bill reports that in the mid-50s it was a strong league with Lou Behrens in charge.  You had to be in high school to play, but he remembers that Dick Highbarger played while still in elementary school because he was such a good hitter. There were also college age men on the teams.  Murray says the teams were built around the pitchers (he was a pitcher). Dave's recollection includes the teams for the younger players too.  He says, "The leagues were pretty much run by Lou Behrens. Depending on age, sign-ups were at the gym or at school. The Playground League, ages Jr High through Sophomore were: Police, Townview Dairy, Ogle Cafe and Zickuhr's. Commercial league was for anyone Junior through adults: Corbett-Coffman, VFW, Moose and Dewey's.

How team captains were selected, I don't know. However, Lou would get them together and each captain would select a player off the list of those signed up until all were selected. As teams were only as good as their pitcher, the first selected were guys like Darrell Cory and Bill Lundholm."

Thanks to all who contributed to this article!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer movies at The Lamb, July 1955

If we got tired of swimming, golf, playing baseball, hanging out with friends, roller skating at the White Pines, or meeting at the summer band concerts and needed a break from babysitting, mowing lawns, helping mom in the garden, detasseling corn, or working part time at one of the many small businesses . . . there was always The Lamb Theatre! Here's an advertisement, supplied by Lynne and Nancy, our busy historians, for Daddy Long Legs with Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron, Blackboard Jungle (shocking! says Lynne) with Glenn Ford and Anne Francis, which helped boost "Rock around the clock" to #1, and of course, the Saturday kiddie show (my favorite) Riders of the Purple Sage (1931, based on Zane Grey novel) plus 4 cartoons. Ah, small towns in the 50s--we probably didn't appreciate the peace and quite then, but isn't if fun to misremember!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Report on the Class Breakfast, July 3, 2010

In the middle of June we got to thinking there would be no breakfast this year because the Fourth fell on a Sunday. Lynne and Nancy didn't want to see a tradition die, so they decided the class could have the breakfast on Saturday with no problem at all. Nancy talked with the folks at the Dogwood Inn, which is at the site of the old truck stop at "8 mile" at the corner of routes 64 and 26. They have a huge room there and they promised we could have it for our breakfast get together. It did in fact work out very well and we could visit without bothering other people.

It was a day of perfect weather and the restaurant set up things very nicely for us. The breakfast was at 8:30 am and many arrived early to visit. This year instead of "Ladies Only" as we've done for years, we invited the guys and also spouses. We had 19 in attendance and it seemed to work out perfectly. Sylvia read a funny little poem about reunions through the years and how each one changed through the years. Letters and e-mail from absent members were shared. Camera flashes went off and a group picture was taken at the end.

Those attending were Sylvia and Dave, Mary Jane and Dwayne, Moe and Nancy, Ron and Faye, Nancy and Don, Sara and Bill, Glenn and Donna, Jean, Lynne, Marion, Diane, and Jerry B.
Report by Nancy and Lynne with candid photos to come.
Update with additional photos.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Dear Class of 1957

Here's a 2 hankie and 3 belly laughs letter from our class president, sent to Lynne for the breakfast event on July 3, 2010.

Dear Classmates-

Let me say first that I am sorry to not be able to be with you this weekend. You all are the greatest people in the world. I wouldn’t trade my experiences with you for anything . What wonderful memories I have of the plays, the sports, the proms, the classes we all had together through elementary school and high school. Latin with Mr. Kinsley, chemistry with Mr Burstrom, gym or PE with Lew Behrens, English with Mrs. Burstrom, 7th and 8th grade with Mr. Rahn and Mrs. Westfall.

Who can forget the PE classes where we chose partners and learned to square dance? Happy memories… like…be sure to shower before you go into the pool and dip your feet in the disinfectant pond. How about the hot dogs in the canteen when we were playing pool, the marching band at the football and basketball games with Beth Amsrud, watching the Kable Kolts at the Community Gym, singing in the mixed chorus, playing football for JR Worley, Rusty Egan and The Whiz Kids basketball team who came one game shy of going to the state tourney, the dairy whips and hot dogs for lunch at Mt Morris Dairy for 26 cents, sticking straws on the ceiling at Felkers by dipping the ends in our marshmallow cokes and blowing them up to the tin ceiling, (how about a Green River?), penny candies at the 5 & 10 cent store, Cremo Baker and his popcorn stand at the bandstand on Saturday night, cruising Main Street on weekends with loud mufflers and Chief Palmer and Dan Claussen watching for rowdy behavior, filling up the jalopy at Harry Horton’s Mobil station for 18 cents a gallon, the great badminton games in the high school gym, soccer and baseball on the diamonds on the playground, King of the Hill on mounds of wintry snow, picnics at the Pines where we played the faculty in softball, all this and more makes us what we are.

Goodbye to Sharon, Mary Lou, Jerry, Larry, Norman, Tomas, Duane, Don, Klaus, Libby and Neal--God bless them all. We miss you guys. Have a great party, everyone. I love you all.

Judy and I live in Owensville Missouri now and extend an invitation to you all to visit.


Friday, July 02, 2010

The 35th Class Reunion, 1992

The Mt. Morris High School Class of 1957 celebrated its 35th class reunion by "Going back to the good ole days" and recreating their 1954 Sophomore Homecoming float. It won a first place that year and was the first float to ever beat out the Seniors.  It was also the first float to ever use spray paint instead of colored napkins. Taking four weeks, 9500 napkins and two gallons of paint, class members met at the High School Bus Garage and put many hours into this labor of love, but had lots of fun and socializing, too. For the re-creation, a stuffing party was scheduled for Thursday, July 2, 1992, when local classmates and those from afar joined together to visit and finish the float. Classmate Salley O., a teacher at the high school, took other members and two retired teachers on a tour through the Junior and Senior High Schools. Food and drink plus 50s music was an added bonus for the evening.

On Friday evening July 3, thirty-four classmates attended the 35th Reunion at the White Pines Inn in White Pines State Park. They entered the Pump Room through a cluster of red and black balloons. Each table was decorated with red and black balloons with bases of red and black foil paper on mirrors with votive cups and red candles with red napkins on a white table cloth.

The social hour began at 6:30 p.m. and during that time a group photo was taken by Ken Heern Photography. There was much fun and emotion as classmates greeted each other. Many had not seen each other in over 5 years or longer. Following the smorgasbord of roast beef, fried chicken, and nostalgia, Mike B., 1957 class president, welcomed all class members and had many thanks for all who helped so faithfully working on our special project. Mike gave a short entertaining talk and a card was circulated for an ill member unable to attend. Afterwards, many class members went on to the Alumni Dance held at the Mt. Morris Moose Club, providing an opportunity to visit with other alumni.

On July 4, thirteen ladies of class met for their annual breakfast at Peters Cafe in Leaf River. Then it was time to get the float ready by 12:30 and hoist the 9' tall skunk onto the carpeted hay rack with a beautiful garden of over 60 handmade flowers made of tissue paper. Even the wheels had a fresh coat of paint and the wagon tongue was wrapped in red and black crepe paper to show off our accomplishment. A 1954 John Deere tractor owned by Mary Jane and Dwayne pulled the float to the music of the Statler Brothers singing "Class of 57." A lot of classmates walked the whole parade route behind the float and many others joined along the way. By the time the float passed the reviewing stand there were 23 class members walking with the skunk looking down with a big smile on its face. Following behind them was a 1964 Pontiac Convertible owned and driven by classmate, Jerry W., with his special guest, Lester Mayes. The float won a 2nd place ribbon in the float division, but to us it was a first place winner from beginning to end.

Traveling to the reunion from a distance were Dick Z., Justina K., Sharon G., Nancy L., Myron B, Mike S., Mike B., Glenn R., Duane B., and Marvin M. Near-by and local members attending were Salley O., Jean M., Sara Y., Ron D., Steven B., Francine K., Nancy G., Melvin K., Mary Jane F., Dwayne Z., Sylvia T. David S., Norm G., Diane B., Nancy S., Ebba L., Melvin R., Bonnie W., Sylvia H. Libby M., Marion D., Priscilla D., Darlene H., and Glen O.

Another reunion was in the planning for 1997 in five years.

(Submitted by Nancy S., the class archivist and diarist)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Ladies Breakfast July 3

It's a long, hallowed tradition. The ladies of the MMHS class of 1957 have breakfast and a side of gab over the 4th of July celebration. It will be July 3, 8:30 a.m., at the Dogwood Inn (old 8 mi. on Rt. 64). However, I've heard that there will be a break with tradition, and the men of the class are now included in the Ladies Breakfast.  Don't take my word for it--just show up and check it out. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Grocery prices in summer 1955

This ad from the Royal Blue in Mt. Morris might make your mouth water thinking about steaks on the grill at $.59 a lb., or bacon at $.47 with your eggs.  Royal Blue was a midwestern chain begun in the 1920s which lasted (by name) into the 1970s.  (I have no memory of this store--where was it?) However, I checked the USDA statistics on percentage of disposable income spent on food both at home and away from home, and today's American family has a much better deal.  In 1957 15% of the family food dollar went for food at home, and 3.4% for away from home, for a total of 18.4%.  In 2008 (last year for which there were figures) only 5.6% of disposable income was spent on food at home, 4% away from home, for a total of 9.6%, or about half what Americans spent in 1957.  (In Canada the at home figure was 9.3% in 2008.) That's really amazing. What isn't so surprising is the shift to away from home eating in total percent spent on food--from about 22% to over 40%. 

However, think of this.  According to the journal PLoS One, we Americans waste 40% of our food--that's counting at every stage, not just down the garbage disposal--harvest, warehouse loss, market spoilage, restaurant trash and then the typical household discards.  Even with all that waste, food today is an excellent value for the consumer. But couldn't we all do better?

I don't know about your mom, but at the Corbett household on Hannah Avenue, not much was wasted. The summer garden produce of the 1940s and 1950s was stored in those beautiful jars in the basement, and the scraps were returned to the earth; most of the time at our house there were no "left-overs" because Mom gauged the right amount; our worn out play clothes were cut into strips and crocheted into area rugs; doll clothes were made from pieces left over from our home sewn dresses; those of us who had older sisters and brothers got a "new" outfit when they outgrew them; the carpenter/plumber/repair person that was called at our house was my mother and she also hung the storm windows; the weed killer for the lawn was my brother and me digging them out. 

Drool over 55 year old grocery ads if you wish, but when you do, remember the real costs and the personal labor that went into it.  I sort of like spending 20 minutes preparing dinner so I have more time to do other things--like writing blogs.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Neal Johnston, class member, dies May 24

The following appeared in the New York Times today, June 11, 2010.

"JOHNSTON--Neal W. With great sadness, we mourn the loss of our father who died on May 24, 2010. Born in Illinois, December 30th, 1939, he graduated from the University of Chicago - where he edited the Chicago Maroon and appeared in US English-language premiere of Spring Awakening - and Harvard Law School. A practicing attorney until the end, he never put gaining a fee ahead of arguing a good case, and was known throughout the legal community for the literary quality of his letters and briefs. An associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison before starting his own practice, he was also Deputy Chief of Litigation for the New York State Attorney General; Chief of Staff to the President of the New York City Council; a fellow of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the founder and first Executive Secretary of the Council of New York Law Associates (NKA the Lawyers Alliance for New York). A Midwesterner by birth but a New Yorker by soul, he celebrated and lived the life of the mind - and the arts. We will miss his wit, wisdom and great generosity of spirit. His wife Eden Ross Lipson predeceased him. He is survived by his four children, two brothers Warner and Scott and ex-wife Judy Johnston. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lawyers Alliance for New York. Lawyers Alliance will host a memorial service on October 1st at the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Delari, Tara, Margo and Garth."

Neal's wife, Eden Lipson, died in May 2009, and was a children's editor at the New York Times, and also a children's book author. Condolences have been sent to Neal's children from the class of 1957.

Classmates Neal and Salley chat at the 40th (1997) class reunion.

Friday, May 28, 2010

In the good old summer time

We were fortunate to have a community gym in Mt. Morris. The college gymnasium burned in the fire of Easter 1931. A new one was built in 1932 financed by contributions with the agreement that it would go to the town if the college closed. And it did after the 1931-32 school year when Mt. Morris College merged with Manchester College in North Manchester, Indiana. The swimming pool provided some great times--as I recall a swim was 10 cents and you had to go through a foot bath. It seemed like a very old building when I learned to swim and passed the test in 1951--but it really wasn't. That's how kids see things.

That looks like Keith N. (class of 54) and Bill N. (class of 55) having a knock-em-off fight in the foreground, possibly our Dave B. in the back along the tile. Then in the bottom photo we have identification of two of the fine golfers, Dick and Dick in a Jaycee Junior Golf Tournament at the Sunset Golf Club, another fine athletic facility that set our town apart.