GREENVILLE — Nine students out of two classes who graduated from Franklin Township School meet monthly at the Fairlawn in Greenville. All are children of farmers [including tobacco raisers], are widowed and all are in their 90s.
They meet the second Tuesday of each month at 12:30 p.m. at the Fairlawn Restaurant in Greenville.
“We meet at the same place; that way, we don’t forget where to go,” said Louise Stager Boli, who generates laughs everytime she says that.
“We have been doing this ever since we got out of school,” Neff said. “We’ve always had it and, after having a good time at our 50th anniversary, we decided to keep on doing it.”
Others attending the luncheon this week, in addition to Boli, were Phyllis Cissner Aukerman, Treva Alspaugh Lucas, Nelda Davis Small, Wanda Cool Swank, and twins Doris Neff and Dale Marker, all from the Class of 1942, and Helen Gilbert Coppess and Guy Besecker, from the Class of 1943.
“Helen and Guy are the only ones left in their class and were a year behind us, but we all ran around together, so we adopted them,” said Neff. “ There were 16 graduates in their class.”
They all graduated from Franklin Township, a couple of years before the school’s name changed to Franklin Monroe by merging with Monroe Township.
There are only 10 surviving out of the original 24 from the older class. Others are Floyd Foureman, Bob Kraus of California and Bob Warner of Tipp City, who were unable to attend.
“Up until two years ago, Bob Kraus came, but he has not been here since,” said Small. “He was salutatorian.”
Most are from Greenville, but Besecker lives in Troy, Small in West Milton and Coppess in Union City, Ohio.
Professions covered by this group of people are: Boli, a teacher; Neff, legal secretary; Marker, farmer and school bus driver; Aukerman, Fram employee; Lucas, employee of Fram and Inland Steel; Small, Hobart Brothers and homemaker; Coppess, a farm wife; Swank, a bank employee, farm wife and caretaker/mower of two acres of grass; and Besecker, Hobart Brothers.
The oldest one of the Class of 1942 is Swank, who turned 91 on Nov. 16, followed closely by Aukerman, who celebrated that same birthday two days before. Both Besecker and Coppess are 90.
Conversation around the table at the Fairlawn focused on fond memories.
“Helen had a yellow convertible and took us to Stillwater Beach, the Green Villa and we had a flat tire in Dayton one time,” someone said.
“Wanda Swank never missed a day of school in 12 years,” another person remarked.
“I was valedictorian,” said Boli.
“And, Louise was a cheerleader at school and went on to be a cheerleader at Miami University in Oxford,” Neff said.
“All of us went all 12 years at Franklin, but Phyllis and Treva attended the Oakland one-room school at Oakland through eighth grade,” someone spoke up.
“Dale came to my shoulders through school and he was taller after he came back from the service,” said Neff, the oldest of the twins.
“Some of us went to Bible school at Painter Creek and knew each other since we were 4 years old,” another one said.
Another person added to this mix is Tammy Sackett, Neff’s daughter.
“It’s amazing they still get together,” said Sackett, who comes to most of these gatherings and assists whenever needed. “They have been friends all these years. They still call each other. It’s just amazing.”
“We’re an interesting bunch,” said Neff.