We recently finished a weekend of activities surrounding our 45th reunion. It was a success; perhaps more so than many of us expected. I know I spent close to three hours just talking to so many people. We have all aged so differently. Some look OLD – Balding, White hair, Chubby. No surprise there. We are, after all, mostly 63 years old. Some look like I remember our parents lookin You know what I mean. Hey, you look like your mother when she met me at the door when I picked you up for Sadie Hawkins, or whatever. In my case, the beer belly has long since replaced what used to be. I won't be wrestling in the 127 weight class again until my next life. In this one, looks like heavy weight. Some of us (myself not included), however, are remarkably unchanged. A touch of silver/gray, but otherwise remarkably unchanged - Kleifgen, Ehrenberg, Buckwheat, Billy Toles, Bruce Smith and Ann Barnes and many others. Must be in the genes.
I thought the spirit at the reunion in virtually everyone was quite exceptional.
We need to thank Linda Steele Harrier and her committee for their time, energy, and for positive results. They did a great job. Linda sacrificed a lot of her time to make this a success.
Now, let me get back to memories. They are certainly self-indulgent (and forgive me for that), but they are mine. Tell me/us about yours.
It's not a bad idea to record your memories, as they slowly, ineluctably, fade from us.
What do you still remember from those long ago school days? Anything stick out in your mind? I remember Mr. Ed Sorebo, my 8th grade geography teacher at Westwood, telling us about the miseries of combat in the Korean war, and that our so-called hero, General Douglas MacArthur, was considered to be a nut case by the GIs that Sorebo served with. That was kind of a wakeup call for me. You mean that was not a good war, Mr. Sorebo? I remember Mr. Richey sticking pencils in his ears. Anybody else remember that? I've already written about Lyle Gerard breaking down in 10th grade English while reading about Yugoslav partisans in WWII. What else? I remember sitting in front of the TV set for hours with my family during the Cuban missile crisis. I remember the look on Jack Wilhite's face in 11th grade social studies class when the principal came over the loudspeaker to announce that President Kennedy had been shot in Dallas. And watching the funeral procession. And Jack Ruby shooting Oswald in the Dallas P.D. holding area. I remember Richard Russell's Russian class. Why? It was very small, and I could stare at Holly Hovde every day. Little did I know then that speaking Russian would keep me out of Vietnam when I was in the Army. Wish I could thank Holly for that.
You all may remember me as angelic. Not so fast. Well, I recall going on a few destructive rampages post football games when my friends and I vandalized various places. Ripped down picket fences from residential yards, and did a lot of other high school harry type stunts. Looking for trouble. Bombing around in the car. Then going to McDonald's for a cheeseburger and fries. No names; but those friends are police officers now, or other respected professionals.
What else? Hearing from somebody in Esquire-ettes, or Sturge, or whatever those sororities were called, that I was being invited to their dance; and then as an awkward tenth grader, swooning as the girl I'd been praying to be my date came to the front door. I remember that still, Laura Carlberg. I bet you don't. Yes. I remember the girls I dated for a long time. But especially the ones I never did but always fantasized about. Cracker, you lucky dog you.
I remember Bob Stein smashing a glass backboard during a home basketball game. Hey, Bob, it was just a layup. Do you remember??
I remember going to Edina/Park football games with an Edina friend. A hockey player. He still remembers getting beat by Stoney Burke - Every year.
When the football games were at Edina, we sat on the Park side of the field; and vice-versa. Senior year we went to a get together to honor the Edina AFS students at some fancy house in Edina. One beautiful girl approached me and asked me if I was the Italian AFS student. I shit you not. She became their homecoming queen, and we dated for a while. And this was years before the movie: "Breaking Away."
I remember the teachers and the coaches - Griak, Bombach, Jim Avant, Wainio, Roy, Hanks....Litsey, Russell, Gerard, Hattie Steinberg,...funny, but the math and science teachers just don't come to mind. Try doing this without looking at an Echowan! We were lucky. Park had a great faculty.
I have a vague memory of graduation ceremonies on the football field, and the all-night party, and going back to Bob Harada's house with some of the kids; and canoeing in the dark on the creek behind his house. With which girl? Probably Marlene Lindell, but I don't remember.
We all have our own memories. And they are mostly sweet.
We went to college and/or work. Got married. Had kids. Had grandkids. Lost friends. Lost parents. Time has passed so quickly. We mark the passage of time by watching our children grow. And now our grandchildren. And we know that, by and large, we have been blessed.
My wish for all of my friends in the great class of 1965, St. Louis Park: nothing but good health in the coming years and peace for you and your families. And I hope that all of you holding out for the 50th will show up. We want to see you!!!!
TO: The Graduating Class of 1965, St. Louis Park High School
FROM: Tommy Sipkins, Class President
What made St. Louis Park High School so special, as I think back, was its diversity. Not racial diversity, of course, since there was none. But rich and poor were friends; and our class, like the community, was uniquely divided amongst Protestants, Catholics, and Jews. We had a great class.
Our class was very smart and very competitive. Some folks, like Doug Yock (a presidential scholar), Stanley Gale (just a genius), Tom Zanna, Anna Geyer and Gail Papermaster, were off the charts. Scary smart. Zanna, who swam the breast stroke and broke the Cooke Hall record at the University of Minnesota where the Big 10 swim meets were held, was actually worried about getting into college. So he applied to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Amherst, and Bowdoin, I think, and got accepted to them all.
We also had some fantastic athletes. Unfortunately, in those days, girls' sports didn't get past GAA. Cheerleading and Parkettes. Laura Carlberg, Marti Hunkins, Martha Holmberg, Kathy Thorbeck come to mind. Linda Joseph, Rollie Troup, Kathy King and Kathy Fujino as cheerleaders.
We had some great boys' teams. Our football team was first in the state: Jim Rounds, Bob Olson, Ira Rosen, Tim Long, Tuffy Weisman, Dick Barr, Stu Mogelson, Gary Youngstrand, Bruce Smith, Bill Gresko, to name a few. And, Bob Stein has a Superbowl ring, I think, from the Kansas City Chiefs.
Steve Burke was a great and under-rated goaltender, and Buckwheat Lindquist and Robert Holt were pretty good too, in hockey and baseball. Nooper Dachis was also a fine baseball player, on a good team. Zanna was the state champion swimmer. Olson and Terry Neidlinger excelled in basketball. Bob Wagner and Terry excelled in cross country and track. Bob was state champion at least one year that I recall.
Lots of beautiful women in our class. I hesitate to list them, lest I forget some of them. One of them, Holly Hovde, has passed away. From the moment I saw Holly in 7th grade English class, I was totally smitten. Was anybody not? I always thought she was drop-dead gorgeous, but nerd that I was, I never had the nerve to ask her out. In my yearbook at graduation she wrote that she always had a crush on me. What was I thinking? I think the only times I saw her after we graduated were at the 10th and 20th year reunions. I gave her a hug and a kiss at the 20th and told her that she was "elegant" and still the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She smiled and kissed me again. I am glad that I told her. I never saw or spoke to her again.
I had Lyle Gerard in the 10th grade. English class I think. He was reading a story to us written by or about a Yugoslav partisan, and underground fighter, who had fought the Nazis in World War II. Near the end of the story, Mr. Gerard broke down and started bawling. It was the first time I can remember seeing a grown man cry, and I still can see him in my mind's eye, 42 years later.
The things that we remember ........
I look forward to seeing all of you at the reunion, and hope to hear from all of you who are unable to attend.