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53rd REUNION

WELCH HIGH SCHOOL – CLASS OF 1953

PIPESTEM STATE PARKOCTOBER 6-8, 2006

As remembered by Lakey Schwartz Logan

 

The rain was falling, the leaves were changing from green to brown, yellow and red, and the temperature was dropping rapidly.  Classmates from Welch High School Class of 1953 were arriving at Pipestem on Friday October 6, 2006 for a 53rd year reunion.

The group was small but spirits were high as we checked in and learned who was present, who had to cancel due to illness and those who could not make it this year.

After the invocation by Jim Belcher, we had hot dogs, hamburgers & barbeque with all the fixings, along with several picnic style side dishes and a delicious assortment of desserts.

Much of the conversation being overheard was remembering classmates, school events, all the communities where we lived and getting to know some guests who where there enjoying this repass.  Several items from high school were on display. Bill Shaw at some point in time over the last few years, felt it necessary to have an election – the results were announced and a plaque was given to Bob Martin naming him as “PRESIDENT OF THE CLASS OF 1953”.   The plaque had his name and title engraved on it along with a gavel so he could be official.  GUESS WHAT? Bob was speechless for several moments –You don’t believe that – Well it’s true.  CONGRATULATIONS BOB – FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK ON THESE REUNIONS THE LAST FOUR YEARS AND ALL THE YEARS LEADING UP TO OUR 50TH.

Bob had told us there would be live music with a twist.  Believe me the music provided by John Yates and his group from Roanoke was very very EXCELLENT – the music of the 50’s which cannot be beat.  The group consisted of drums, sax (different ones) and two guitars.  John has the unique ability to take a story and put it to music – which was very clever, funny, realistic, and eye opening.  Some stories he related had to do with flat tires, being left at the altar, what occurred with a ’52 Mercury and being very short.  Since the group did not have a name – our group felt compelled to help them get a name.  I think the final name was either “THE EDSELS” OR “JOHN YATES AND THE EDSELS”.  It was a most enjoyable musical night.

Breakfast on Saturday was on our own – as we made our way to the dining room it was a foggy, rainy and cold day.  We had been given a list of some happenings in the area – due to the weather everyone just decided to hang out in the lobby and remember, remember and remember.

At about 6 pm we again gathered in the Cardinal Room, first to get some group pictures – to be taken as a memory of the weekend.  After several attempts we posed and had lots of shots taken with various cameras – somewhere there is a good group photo.
The tables were decorated with the most beautiful baskets with fall leaves, flowers, pumpkins and a scarecrow in the center, with pumpkins on each side of the baskets.  The center pieces were made by Anita Martin and were later given as door prizes to the lucky persons who had a flower on the back of their program.  THANK YOU ANITA.  As usual, you did a GREAT job.

The dinner was presided over by Marilyn Wood Lackey. She welcomed everyone and John Davis gave the invocation.  We had a dinner that was served to us at our table.  We had tossed salad, sliced pork, twice-baked potatoes, steamed vegetables, coffee, tea, and water. Dessert was a mixed berry pudding cake with whipped cream.

After dinner a short class meeting was held.  The discussion consisted of holding future reunions with the class of ’52.  Having our future reunions in the spring or fall?  Finally a motion was made by Ed Mosko to have a fall reunion in 2008.  The group voted on this and agreed and instructed Bob Martin to secure a date for the fall of 2008 at Pipestem. 

Marilyn proceeded with our program, which was one of remembering.  She had given everyone an assignment to relate a memory from high school.  First, Marilyn started the remembering by asking some questions:

1)    Do you know where your class ring is? Most knew where their class ring was. Marilyn had hers on and Tommy Jones had his with him. 
2)    Do you know what it cost?  No one was really sure of the cost but made some guesses.
3)    Who retired in 1953?  Principal “Pop” Hollingsworth after twenty-four years, Mrs. Clark and Miss Vaughn.
4)    Who was the Valedictorian?  Melvin Lane.
5)    Who was Salutatorian?  Douglas Henderson.

Other items mentioned and discussed:
•    May 1 was the May Festival with Bill Lackey as the King and Martha Cowan as Queen.  May 5 was the Spring Concert – 26 selections were played under the direction of Mrs. Claude Stevenson.  Piano accompaniment was Betsy Cockill and Anita Malenick.  Senior Cheerleaders were Shirley Murphy, Beverly Boothe and Betsy Cockill.  May 8 was a special assembly for “Pop” Hollingsworth on his retirement. He was given 75 dollars worth of bonds by the student body and 50 dollars worth of bonds by the Letterman’s Club.

•    May 15 was the Jr.-Sr. Prom and the theme was “Stardust”.  Dance was held in the new gym with music by the Continentals.  May 26 was the Senior Play “We Shook the Family Tree” directed by Counts and Stacks.

•    Mid spring was the Senior Trip to Washington, D.C.  Everyone was sworn to secrecy and the class put an end to future senior trips to Washington, D. C.  WHO KNEW WHAT?

•    May 29, 1953 was Graduation.  Dr. Whitney Cross, Assistant Professor of History at WVU addressed the class with the topic “TODAY’S ADVENTURE”.  Some of his comments were: “Once we learn to find it, adventure lies all about us, perhaps more now than ever before.”  We may have to look a bit, because today’s adventures mostly aren’t obvious, not purely physical tests of the past.  However, there are many large-scale, thrilling adventures going on about us such as exploring nuclear energy to release untold power, the possibility of space rockets traveling to the moon or Mars, discovering secrets of ocean depths and scaling the unscaled mountain peaks.  Dr. Cross told the more than 150 graduates – which made up the largest class in McDowell County – they can find adventure in their own personal lives or in neighborhood groups.  These are smaller scale adventures but equally satisfactory, for they are innumerable, and when one leaves off another can begin, or many can go on at once.  We can find adventure by asking two questions: How can I improve myself? How can I make life better for others around me?  “Today’s adventures take a deeper kind of fortitude, a more heroic form of courage, than men needed 100 years ago.  We need resistance to disappointment, inevitable failure; a willingness to take new adventures as old ones fade away and need a spiritual toughness only to be built by gradual practice.”

Marilyn then asked each person to tell a memory of high school.  Stories were told about car accidents, lost football games, best speaker trophies, model T ford stopping in downtown Welch, vice grip pliers, Mrs. McCoy’s algebra class, senior skip day, typing class, a classmate being killed, coaching and teaching at Welch in last year of school, baseball, going in the service with class mate, pep rallies, working at Kroger’s, Sterling Drive-In, Starland Theatre, Gulf Station on Browns Creek Road, Skating Rink, getting married in our senior year, going to Band Festival in Huntington, going to movies, the drugstores, attending school at Welch in the last year.  After each person had told their story – Marilyn read them their last will and testament.

John Davis gave us some words of wisdom and a prayer for our departed classmates.  Shirley Murphy Kowalsky read the names of our 37 deceased classmates.

Marilyn made some closing remarks thanking those who had a part in the preparation for this reunion and encouraged us all to return another year to remember with the Class of 1953.

Sunday morning breakfast was on our own and a time to say our last goodbyes to our classmates for this year.

We had a small turnout this year but we surely had lots of fun.  The classmates that couldn’t come sure missed a delightful weekend.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOKS
By Bill Archer and available from: Bluefield Daily Telegraph 1-800-763-2459
Images of America – WELCH
Images of America – McDowell County

  
ATTENDING THE REUNION
•    Ron & Betty (Richardson ‘54) Abbott
•    Jim & Wanda Belcher
•    Bill & Shirley Clayton
•    John Davis
•    Tommy & Janet Jones
•    Randall Jones (son of Tommy & Janet –WHS Class of ‘83)
•    Shirley (Murphy) Kowalsky
•    Iva Gay (Murphy) Hamden ‘51
•    Marilyn (Wood) Lackey
•    Lakey (Schwartz) Logan
•    Bob & Anita (Collins ‘57) Martin
•    Billie (Berry) Maynard and daughter Sheila Green
•    William “Jack” & Aretta Morgan
•    Edward & Mary K Mosko
•    Betty (Snow) Robinette
•    Bill & Alice (Mayhew) Shaw
Joining the group Friday night
•    Henry & Gwen (Martin) Lucion ‘55
•    Bill & Shirley (Price) Tolley ‘55 & ‘56


NEWS OF CLASSMATES
•    Glen Hornbuckle had some very extensive surgery at UVA Medical Center in Charlottesville, VA.  He is now recovering at home in Princeton, WV.
•    Jimmy Polce passed away sometime in September 2006.
•    Our sympathy goes to John Davis, John Walker and Joe Hodges who lost their mothers in the fall of 2006.  Joe also lost his younger brother, Robert.

DON’T FORGET TO MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR NEXT REUNION
JOHN YATES AND HIS GROUP HAVE BEEN BOOKED FOR THE FRIDAY EVENING OCCASION AT THIS REUNION.

55TH CLASS REUNION FOR WELCH
HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 1953
OCTOBER 3 AND 4, 2008
PIPESTEM STATE PARK


Check HERE to see the 2006 Reunion picture