WELCH HIGH SCHOOL – CLASS OF 1953
PIPESTEM STATE PARK – OCTOBER 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
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
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
• 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
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
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
• 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.
HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 1953
OCTOBER 3 AND 4, 2008
PIPESTEM STATE PARK
to see the 2006 Reunion picture