Belle Plaine High School
Class of 1963 Reunion
Belle Plaine High School at Belle Plaine, MN
50th Class Reunion
July 20, 2013
(Although lots of our classmates have married names, I used their maiden names for this writing for ease in recognition.)
We gathered in Neil's Rustic Room starting about 4:00 P.M.
Jeanette Sullivan had done a lot of preparation and finances, along with help from LaVonne Behnke, Patsy Doheny, and Gary Peltz. The food and appetizers worked out just fine, and the large banner on the wall looked great, and all of the local planning went off smoothly! The tables had been arranged, rearranged, and arranged again to be able to fit rather large turnout, over 50 people in all.
According to my count, we had 29 classmates in attendance.
Back row, left to right: Bob O'Connor, Gary Schmidt, Paul Stier, Judie Hoelz (partially hidden), Bill McCue, Jim Witt, Wayne Wolter, Don Wacker (partially hidden), Gary Peltz.
Middle row: Roger Anderson, Don Morrison, Judith Voss, Patsy Doheny, LaVonne Noll, Mary Ellen Murphy, Alice Jean (Cookie) Hoelz, Dick Zaun, Glenna Schultz, Mary Ellen Devine, LaVonne Schultz, John Mahoney, Shirley Oelfke, Manley Vinkemeier.
Seated: Bob Michel, Jeanette Sullivan, Janice Farrell, Roberta Perkins, Beverley Thomason, Judy Dressen.
The event started with informal conversations, making sure classmates got their nametags with photos on, and general mingling. Soon, the food arrived, and everyone went through the line and filled their plates with chicken wings, meatballs, veggies, fruit, lunch meat and croissants.
The sound level of the room gave proof to the fact that there were many animated conversations going on simultaneously, and it was necessary to listen carefully and speak loudly. I hadn't seen many of the classmates in many years, some in several decades, so it was fun to catch up a bit with them. I will admit there were a handful that I didn't recognize at first, so I was glad we had the nametags!
Soon, I got the group to quiet down and we remembered together those who had passed away since our senior year. There were 11 total, counting Gary Anderson, who didn't officially graduate because he died our senior year. I had enlarged photos of each of the deceased classmates.
Next, each classmate filled out a little questionnaire, mainly for their own use, and we went around the room and told our names, where we lived, how many kids, grandkids and great grandkids, what we'd done for a living, and any school memories we cared to share. I thought it was great to hear personally from each one since I knew we would not get a chance to talk to everyone.
Two classmates have great grandchildren, and I think the high total for grandchildren was 12.
Glenna Schultz had flown in from Boston for the reunion, and Bob O'Connor had driven from Ohio to be in attendance.
From now on, August 1 will be the reunion date annually at the Belle Plaine Golf Club. Get it on your 2014 calendars!
On a personal note, I had a great time! I had helped organize the event, and had done most of leg work in trying to get people to attend, and I was so very pleased with the turnout and the way the program went.
It's a bit surreal to internalize that five decades have passed. Yet those formative years so long ago made us into who we are today, so I look fondly on this group that helped make me who I am.
"Our deeds travel with us
And what we have been makes us what we are."
George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)
1962 photo as Juniors getting ready for prom: Mary Ellen on the left, Judie on the right, and yes, that is Roger. 50+ years later, here's Judie on the left, and Mary Ellen on the right, and I am taking the photo rather than being in it.
Here's a photo from Roberta Perkins of 5th grade in the elementary school. Mrs. Hermann was the teacher! I believe we got this as a present from her for Christmas in 1955.
Top row: Colleen Hughes, Larry Kahle, Alice Jean Hoelz, Beverly Thomason, Paul Stier, Alivin Busch, Jim Harsh, Judy Dressen
Middle Row: Patsy Doheny, Darrell Bieder, John Spellacy, Judie Hoelz, Tim Melchoir, LaVonne Noll, Judith Voss, John Mahoney, Mike Hessian
Front Row: Roger Anderson, Arnold Wolfe, Jim Diers, Glenna Schultz, Art Hahn, Roberta Perkins, Mary Ellen Murphy, Gary Schmidt, Janice Brenke