Lots and lots of people attended the Ansonia Alumni Banquet Saturday evening of Memorial Day weekend, and I’m proud to say we, the Class of 1966, had the largest amount of people represented.
Attending from our class were 27 students: Barb Baker Teaford, Starr Baltes Schmitmeyer, Margery Barga Walasinski, Terry Birt, Carol Bowman Cox, Stan Cox, Don Brandt, Charlie Broering, Gloria Carter Ault, Diane Dickey Young, Albert Duncan, Carol Hendrson Baughman, Jack Henkaline, Leanna House Whittington, Tom Landis, Tom Liette, Gail McKnight, Karen Miller Mote, Paula Muhlenkamp Cox, John Peters, Tedd Pratt, Sondra Shiverdecker White, Cheryl Snyder Clouse, Ruby Trittschuh Peeples, Jean Whittaker Unger, Ralph Whittaker and myself. Ralph is the only one who was not at the class reunion the night before at Gail McKnight’s house. It was good to see him again.
Jack Henkaline spoke for our class and he has permitted me to use some of the excerpts from his presentation. And, he did wonderful job, if I do say so myself.
“1966. That was the year that my classmates and I graduated from Ansonia High School. Wow. That was a long time ago – like a half a century. Surprisingly I remember it pretty well. I was sitting there just as you are tonight. The program was pretty much the same as this alumni banquet. The MC was announcing all the many past graduating classes. When he got to the class of 1916 (That was 50 years before 1966) he asked them to stand to be recognized. I quietly said to several classmates sitting around me ‘Stand If You Can.’ Well tonight, I am NOW one of those 50 year alumnae. Some of you in the class of 2016 might be thinking the same thing about me.
“But I can assure you, I am standing on my own, and there are no supporting props holding me up. Since that Graduation Day in 1966; I have lost a lot of hair, lost some of my hearing. My eye brows and eye lashes came up missing many years ago, and I still don’t have a clue where they went, and my memory isn’t as sharp as it was back in 1966.
“Our old school building back then was old but pretty awesome. Our old school buildings have all been torn down and now it’s just empty lots. Those old buildings served their purpose and served their students well. There was no air conditioning back in our day and the classrooms had those large cast iron registers which heated our classrooms in the coldest days of winter. Classrooms were huge with tall ceilings and large windows.
“Then there were those ancient things we called blackboards. They were located at the front of each classroom. You entered data on them with a thing called chalk. When you were done, you didn’t delete the data by holding down / dragging and cut – but rather using a thing called a felt hand eraser. If you wanted to retrieve the data, you didn’t ‘Right Click and Paste’. You saved the data on a separate paper, and you would paste the data back on the board – by doing something called re-chalk. Our educational tools were the blackboards – books – pencils – and paper. Those were what helped us get through school back then.
“Our dress code was quite different than today. We didn’t wear shorts to school back then, but we did wear jeans. We didn’t have manufactured holes in our jeans but we could have.
“The access to the world was pretty much what we learned in books, newspapers, encyclopedias, dictionaries and from the telephone and television. Can you imagine…no computers…not even a calculator. In 2016 you can gain information instantly through your laptop computers, I-Pads, Smart Phones, MacBook’s ICloud, Email, Texting, Kindle I-Watch. In our world of social media today we have: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Skype, Periscope, YouTube, Evernote, Yelp.
“Our class in 1966 was a close-knit group and we all were friends. We personally knew every person in our class and some important things about them. We also knew something about upper classmen in the three grades older than our class. Our teachers knew us by name and took an interest in each of us. There were no ‘social clicks. The kids who lived within the village of Ansonia were never viewed as better than us kids who lived in the country.
“Today we hear the term ‘Character Counts.’ We didn’t have that catchy phrase back then, but we knew what it meant. Character back then, and today, begins at home…and with the parents. Ansonia High School takes the basic character we were taught at home and enhances character with education. The character we learned as youth helped develop us into adults. I think I speak for everyone in the Class of 1966…we are very proud of our school and are grateful for our education and the character that Ansonia High School provided to us. For me, I love Ansonia High School, and I owe it much. This school provided even more than a good education. One is lifelong friends, who I met while attending our school.
“There is something special about the class of 1966 that I bet many of you don’t know. Our class was one of the largest classes that ever to graduate from Ansonia High School. Our class numbers were 78 strong. I am sad to say not all 78 of our classmates have lived long enough to see ‘how we have changed today.’ Sixteen of our classmates are no longer with us and we miss them. We hear their name and their image will always be vivid in our mind. You see , they are special people who we knew in our young lives. They are special people who we cherish their friendship.”
He then targeted the rest of his speech to the Class of 2016, which I hope they absorbed so they never forget where they came from and where they were educated.
I must say that the speakers for the other anniversary classes did a great job on their presentations as well. Kudos to all!
Happy birthday to:
• June 15 to Janet Helmer, April Billenstein, Ryan Berry, Debbie Lee, June Singer, Larry Yohey, April Amspaugh Billenstein, Pam Widener, Julia Yohey and Charlie Lynn Dickey.
• June 16 to Greg Metzcar, Bob Klosterman, Delores Partin and Marion Price.
• June 17 to Bill Gahret, Rocky Harrison, Pat Johnson, Trish Martin, Jerrica Thwaits, Roger Moyer, Pat Johnson and Joan Gigandet.
• June 18 to Peggy Fellers (80), Marcia Nieport, Chuck Davis, Keith Edwards, Rich Gillette, Andrew Riffle, Vi Gilbert, Joyce Walter, Ted Strait, Ted Adkins, Jennifer Knick, Kristin Doyle, Kim Merritt, Jackie Stonebraker, Suzanne Batten, Marilyn Morris, Hugh Linebaugh and Mike Rhoades.
• June 19 to Enrrique Hernandez (9), Sam Wilker, Allison Reed, Amy Walls, Tom Butts, Jennifer Billenstein, Larry Woodbury and Dawn Dohme.
• June 20 to Becky Darner, Krista Fourman, Karen Brown, Stephanie Leudike, Bev Holsapple, Bob Lyme, Todd Waymire and Dara Buchy.
• June 21 to Troy Kammer, June McEowen, Cindy Hodge Mescher, MacKenzie Miller, Ron Mescher and Rita Gilroy.
Happy belated birthday to Lyndi Deaton (5) and Jeanie Garrett (65), both on June 6; Ed Hoke (61) and Daryl Schrader (65), both on June 7.
Happy anniversary to Bob and Debbie Guthrie on June 15; Jim and Helen Dull (60), Bob and Kathy Wagner, Cyril and Deb Hiestand and Terry and Tammy Curtis, all on June 16; Jim and Sharon Buchy and Ted and Deb Blakeley, all on June 19; and David and Ashley Gilpin, Joe and Linda Magoto and Daniel and Heidi Linebaugh, all on June 21.
Happy belated anniversary to Jim and Dixie Marker (19) on June 6.
Don’t forget to pray for: Stacy Dorko, Dick Michael, Carol Bollheimer, Clinton Linebaugh, Layna Best, Jean Eastridge, Justin Ungericht, Alishia Clark Funk, Shannon Peters Hall, Tom Hawkins, Mike Bale, Phyllis Gibbons, Rosemary Wetzel, Greg Whittington, George Fanning, Kenny Borger, Mary Marshall, Jenson Fullerton, Judy York, Treva Hamilton, Sue Miller, Gary Reier, Carmen Sanders, Michael Allen Clark, Elmer Long, Anthony Joyner, Shirley Mead, Dave Sloan, Harry Moody, Jim Moody, Maxine Weimer, Linda Subler, Jerrod Pratt, Tim Ridenour, Shelly Hoffman, Keith Howard, Betty Grimes, Kathy Magoto, Dean Brewer, Lisa Hall, Dick Neff, Tammy Shapiro, Ken Martin, David Magoto, Phil Clark, Sonny Hunt, Jim Marker, Terry Longfellow, Don and Nina McDaniel, D’Arleen Waymire, Lee and Bea Moody (our parents), Linda Johnston, Ron Kreitzer, Pappy Harshman, Delores Duncan, Frank Shapiro, John Klipstine, Elsie Svajda, Dave Sherman, Sue Chitty, Phil Chilcoat, Christine Pipenger, Paul Barton, Terry Ungericht, Gracyn Blackburn, Robert Codling, Kohen Thwaits, William DeBord, Dave Starline, Bob Hiestand Jr.
Also, Kathy and Tom Hamilton, Joanne Sharp, Ivan Miller, Cindy Elson, Cary Van De Grift, Dina Dancer Morris, Teresa Mayo Amspaugh, Tina Kiser Deaton, Tonia Thompson, Fred Monnin, Stephen “Brownie” Brown, Nate Epperson, Brad Pipenger, Faye Schlecty, Sheila Reed, Bill Beasley, Steve Cunningham, Kody Ketring, Bob and Sandy Finkbine, Kevin Dickey, Joe Martin, Tracy Bailey, Brenda Grimes, Margaret “Peg” Bundy, Kevin Hemmerich, Penny Starns, Tim Heck, Vanna (Hannam) Abbott, Addie Henderson, Barb Morrow Zimmerman, Samantha Smith, Todd Walls, Ron Kramer, Melissa “Missy” Helmer, Dana Holzapfel, Kara Didier, Carla Welch, Bill Schuette and to all those others who suffer from the many debilitating diseases.
And, God bless all of our military people serving and protecting this nation, as well as rescue, fire and law enforcement personnel who put their lives on the line to protect us.
Son Jamie and I extend our condolences to the families of: Charles William Foreman, Jesse Cassell, Albert Widener, Martha Lumpkin and Alvera Schmitz.
Think about it: “A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson