55th Reunion Celebrated by MHS Class of 1958

MHS Class members of 1958 gathered in Mankato September 20 and 21, 2013.  We were a class of 294 when we graduated.  Of those, 62 have passed away (16 in the last five years) and there are 18 with missing addresses.  High school reunions are an interesting phenomenon.  The memories from that era of growing up are explicit for some and a bit blurry for others—some are welcomed memories; some are not.  High school may represent the last time of seeing each other, having gone through elementary, junior high, and high school together.  Some attended several Mankato/North Mankato schools, gathering many friends along the way. Some joined the class at the end of their K-12 experience; thus, if there were to be any bonding time it had to happen quickly.  Such was the case for our students from abroad, Carole and Giovanni, as well as Chuck Michaelis who joined us for his senior year.  Chuck expressed gratitude now for that bond of friendship begun 55 years ago.

Eighty-one graduates attended one or all of the reunion events along with thirty-eight guests.  An additional 26 classmates ordered a directory but could not attend the reunion.  Six former teachers joined us.  Harold Schuchard and Bill Mickelson attended Friday evening.  Luverne Klar attended Friday and Saturday events.  John Votca and his wife, Phyllis, attended Saturday evening.  Marjorie Fitterer, wife of Harold Fitterer, attended Saturday evening.  She was escorted by classmate and former neighbor of the Fitterers, Roger Sinclair.  Bob Northenscold sent a letter addressed to the class which is printed in the updated directory.  In addition to MN, classmates traveled from eleven states: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MS, NC, OH, TX, WI.

One fun part about reunions is that we may remember something quite differently from someone else.  The shared perspectives create laughter and lead to telling more stories and triggering more reflections.  We also learn about the varied journeys life has created for our classmates between 1958 and today…an amazing group of wonderful people.  Researchers now tell us that friendships are good for our health.  Whether you have known your classmates casually or at a deeper level, all positive connections promote health.  So, continue to nurture your health and stay connected with your high school classmates.  When you cannot physically attend a reunion, get a directory and call or e-mail a friend.  We are a congenial class and open to continued visits; make someone’s day…reach out.

Friday, September 20, 2013, 7:00 PM  ~  Reception and Gathering

Our first gathering was held at the Hilton Garden Inn, ninth floor board room suite in downtown Mankato.  Bev Timmerman Kenne and Dorothy Hollnagel Mumma greeted people as they stepped off the elevator.  Name tags and the new reunion directory booklet were distributed.  As one person stated, “faces were recognizable, but names were another story—yeah, name tags.” Everyone enjoyed moving from one room to another, even to the outdoor patio with a view of the city and river. Brochures of things to do in Mankato were available. Our eight posters of memorabilia were displayed around the rooms.  Complimentary hors d’oeuvres were served along with a cash bar.  Following this event, George Myers invited classmates to his suite for a pizza party.  His hospitality was very much appreciated and enjoyed by many.

Saturday, September 21, 2013, 11 AM – 1 PM ~  Fish Fry and Pie Luncheon

The Saturday luncheon at the Rapidan Dam Café, Jim Hruska’s place, was wonderful.  It was a beautiful day with a theme of the 50’s carried out with a juke box of old music and old cars on display in the parking lot.  The food was delicious with many extras such as venison sausage, homemade jam, freshly picked cherry tomatoes.  The fried fish, beef sandwiches, cole slaw, potato salad, and variety of Jenny’s pies were all excellent.  Coffee and a variety of beverages were available and a chocolate treat followed the luncheon. A sunshiny day and picnic atmosphere promoted lingering and willingness for people to enjoy visiting.  We are grateful for Jim’s generosity and awesome hard working talented family and friends.

Saturday, September 21, 6 PM ~ Dinner Event

Heritage Dining Room at Old Main Village (OMV) was selected as the place for the evening dinner. It was thought that many of the classmates may have attended MSU and used the library which is now the dining room on the old Mankato State College campus. Bob Timm, Karen Loe and Harvey Loe greeted classmates at the registration/name tag table. Charley’s Restaurant provided the cash bar.  OMV provided some light snacks prior to a dinner menu including soup and three menu choices of chicken, pork chop, or vegetarian.  A dessert was selected, but for some reason not provided.  Fred Lutz was the emcee for a short program.  Former faculty were introduced. Phyllis Votca advocated membership in Katoland Connection. Jim Anderson read a newly created poem, From Graduation to Maturation 55 years and Counting.  Mary Huntley shared information about the four “books by grads” display table.  All classmates were given a book, A Mirthful Spirit: Embracing Laughter for Wellness, by Mary and her nursing colleague, Edna Thayer.  Each dinner table of classmates and guests was asked to talk about memories from high school days, especially the humorous ones, and choose one to share with the total group following dinner. 

The 55th reunion committee:  Fred Lutz and Mary Huntley, co-chairs.  Bev Timmerman Kenne, treasurer.  Jim Hruska, Dorothy Hollnagel Mumma, Judy Jovaag Koenigs, Karen Barton Loe, Lynnette LaGow Matheson, Rich Putman, Jane Williams Thom, and Bob Timm. 

Mary Kolling Brion and Jane Thom were our weekend photographers.

The committee recommends that the next reunion be sooner than five years and ask classmates to stay involved with updated addresses and connected through e-mail if possible.

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