50 Year Anniversary Reunion Speech!
Mishawaka High School Class of 1955
Presented September 10, 2005 by Rosemary (Zirille) Spalding


GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO THE GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF THE MISHAWAKA HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 1955.  WE WENT FROM CHILDHOOD TO ADULTHOOD IN THOSE FABULOUS FIFTIES AND I WENT FROM ROSIE ZIRILLE TO ROSEMARY SPALDING.

THESE DAYS IF I SEE SOMEONE I DON’T RECOGNIZE RIGHT AWAY AND HE OR SHE CALLS ME “ROSIE”  I KNOW IT IS SOMEONE I KNEW FROM HIGH SCHOOL. 

I GOT THE SPALDING FROM MY HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART, CLASS OF 1956, MY LOVELY HUSBAND, DAVID.  THAT’S THE BEST PART OF MY MHS EXPERIENCE, FINDING MY TRUE LOVE AND LIFE MATE. 

490 OF US ENTERED MISHAWAKA HIGH SCHOOL IN SEPTEMBER OF 1951.  BY THE TIME WE PARTICIPATED IN THE 78TH GRADUATION CEREMONY, WE WERE DOWN TO 340 CLASSMATES.  TONIGHT WE HAVE 97 CLASSMATES WHO WITH OUR 66 GUESTS ARE CELEBRATING THE CLASS OF 1955.  THIS IS THE SECOND HIGHEST NUMBER OF CLASSMATES IN ATTENDANCE AT A REUNION—THE HIGHEST WAS FOR OUR 25TH REUNION WHEN WE HAD 104.

WE HAVE BEEN DUBBED “THE SILENT GENERATION,” BUT FROM WHAT I HEARD DURING DINNER, I DON’T THINK WE ARE ALL THAT SILENT!

WE, THE SO CALLED SILENT GENERATION, ARE CHILDREN OF THE GREATEST GENERATION (1901-24), PARENTS OF BABY BOOMERS  (46-64) AND GENERATION X (ERS) (61-80), AND GRANDPARENTS OF GENERATION X’S AND GENERATION Y’S (81-00).  I WONDER—WILL OUR GRANDCHILDREN AND GREAT GRANDCHILDREN BORN SINCE 2000 BE DUBBED GENERATION “Z”?

WE ARE BLESSED TO GATHER TONIGHT TO CELEBRATE AND REMEMBER OUR TIME TOGETHER AS CLASSMATES AND FRIENDS AT MISHAWAKA HIGH SCHOOL AND TO CELEBRATE AND SHARE WITH EACH OTHER OUR FIFTY YEARS OF LIVING SINCE GRADUATION.

BEFORE I CONTINUE, PLEASE JOIN ME IN THANKING OUR TERRIFIC REUNION COMMITTEE: 

CHAIRMAN, JUDY (KELLEY) BAUER, MARY (DYKES) DELNAT, FRED KANOUSE, RICHARD (BUTCH) SCHROEDER, DALE BAUER, JANICE (PROUGH) FARKAS, TOM FARKAS, SALLY (ROELANDTS) RIEFF, SHARON (WIEKAMP) SHOWALTER, JEANNE (FORTE) BLASKO, MARY K. (SMITH) KASE, & CAROLE (HOOK) KOVACHEVICH. 

(APPLAUSE)

AND SPECIAL THANKS TO DALE FOR HIS GREAT WORK ON THE WEBSITE.  IT IS CRAMMED FULL OF INFORMATION AND HELPED ME A LOT IN PREPARING FOR THIS EVENING.  THANK YOU, DALE.

(APPLAUSE)

MARY K. WAS THE ORIGINAL EMCEE FOR THIS EVENING’S FESTIVITIES, BUT WHEN SHE TOLD JUDY SHE WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO DO IT, JUDY ASKED ME TO FILL IN.  MARY K. YOU DID A GREAT JOB LAST TIME WE WERE TOGETHER; I HOPE YOU’RE SATISFIED WITH YOUR SUBSTITUTE.

BACK IN SCHOOL I WAS ALWAYS EITHER FIRST OR LAST.  FIRST IF WE WERE ARRANGED BY SIZE AND LAST, IF BY ALPHABET.  TONIGHT I’M DELIGHTED TO BE RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FESTIVITIES. 

IN THINKING ABOUT THIS EVENING, I BECAME CURIOUS ABOUT WHY PEOPLE COME TO CLASS REUNIONS, SO I DID SOME CHECKING.  WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO FELLOW HOOSIER DAVID LETTERMAN AND HIS “TOP TEN LISTS”, HERE ARE THE TOP TEN REASONS I FOUND PEOPLE SAY IS WHY THEY RETURN TO THEIR HIGH SCHOOL CLASS REUNIONS:

10.    TO DISCOURAGE MY CLASSMATES FROM GOSSIPING ABOUT ME.

9.       IT’S SOMETHING TO DO WHILE ON MY ANNUAL TRIP TO VISIT THE OLD FOLKS.

8.       TO CHECK OUT THE SPOUSE OF MY DATE TO THE SENIOR PROM. 

7.       TO SEE IF I CAN RECOGNIZE MY DATE TO THE SENIOR PROM.

6.       TO SEE IF I CAN REKINDLE AN OLD ROMANCE OR START UP A NEW ONE.

5.       TO SHOW OFF MY NEW YOUNG SPOUSE.

4.       TO APPEAR PROSPEROUS BY DRIVING UP IN A FERRARI—EVEN IF IT’S RENTED.

3.       TO GET OUT OF BABYSITTING WITH THE GRANDCHILDREN

2.       TO SHOW OFF THE RESULTS OF THE DIET AND EXERCISE PROGRAM  I 
    STARTED THE DAY THE INVITATION CAME.

AND THE TOP REASON PEOPLE GIVE FOR RETURNING TO HIGH SCHOOL CLASS REUNIONS—

1.        TO ASSURE MYSELF THAT I’M “AGING WELL’ AND LOOK YOUNGER 
     THAN EVERYONE ELSE. 

WELL, I’M HERE TO HAVE A GOOD TIME WITH OLD FRIENDS—TO REUNITE, REMEMBER, AND REMINISCE.  HOW ABOUT YOU?

 IN MANY WAYS MISHAWAKA IS NOT THE TOWN WE GREW UP IN. 

     UNIROYAL, OR BALL BAND AS WE CALLED IT AND WHERE MANY OF OUR PARENTS WORKED, IS GONE.  TODAY THE SITE IS BEAUTIFUL BEUTTER PARK.

     OUR HIGH SCHOOL KEEPS GROWING AND GROWING IN SIZE.  A PARKING LOT BY THE SWIMMING POOL ADDITION OCCUPIES THE SPOT WHERE MANY OF US TOOK A BREAK FROM CAFETERIA FOOD IN THE SPRING AND FALL AND LUNCHED ON SLOPPY JOES, HOTDOGS, ROOT BEER AND MALTS  AT MY DAD’S DARIETTE.

     THE TIVOLI IS JUST RECENTLY GONE AFTER GREAT EFFORTS TO SAVE IT, BUT BONNIE DOON IS STILL IN BUSINESS ON 4TH STREET. 

     THE SECOND LARGEST RETAIL AREA IN THE STATE IS IN MISHAWAKA IN THE RAPIDLY GROWING FAR NORTHSIDE—THIS GROWTH ALL STARTED THANK’S TO JOYCE (PRICKETT) COPPEN’S MOM WHEN SHE WAS MAYOR OF MISHAWAKA—IT ATTRACTS PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE MIDWEST.

     IN 1955 MISHAWAKA WAS ABOUT THE SIZE OF SOUTH BEND, NOW IT’S HALF.  SO FRIENDS IT’S OKAY TO SAY YOU’RE FROM MISHAWAKA WHEN PEOPLE ASK WHERE YOU’RE FROM.

THE WORLD WE LIVE IN IS NOT ONE WE COULD HAVE IMAGINED IN 1955.  I DON’T KNOW IF ANY OF YOU WERE AS HESITANT AS I TO ADJUST TO THIS TECHNO WORLD.  AT ONE POINT I REFUSED TO PUMP BY OWN GAS, NOW I’M ANNOYED IF I CAN’T PAY AT THE PUMP!   I MOVED FROM SNAIL MAIL TO EMAIL RELUCTANTLY AND NOW I CAN’T IMAGINE HOW PEOPLE KEEP IN TOUCH WITHOUT IT. 

I AM LEARNING EVERYDAY FROM OUR GRANDCHILDREN HOW MUCH DIFFERENT THE WORLD THEY ARE GROWING UP IN IS DIFFERENT FROM OURS.

WE WERE BABYSITTING FOR TWO OF OUR 18 GRANDCHILDREN EARLIER IN THE YEAR.  GRANDPA AND I WERE PLAYING PING-PONG IN OUR BASEMENT WITH 4 YR OLD CHARLIE AND 2 YR OLD JOEY WHEN CHARLIE HAD TO GO TO THE BATHROOM.  HE JUMPED OFF THE STOOL HE WAS STANDING ON AND RAN HALFWAY UP THE STAIRS.  THEN HE STOPPED, TURNED AROUND AND CALLED DOWN TO US, “PAUSE”  “PAUSE.”  HE RAN UP A FEW MORE STEPS AND SHOUTED DOWN AGAIN, “STAY PAUSED!”

LATER IN THE WEEK, GRANDPA WAS TAKING PICTURES OF THE BOYS WITH A 35MM CAMERA.  AS SOON AS HE SNAPPED THE FIRST PICTURE, CHARLIE RAN TO HIM TO SEE THE PICTURE ON THE CAMERA.  OOPS! THESE KIDS KNOW ONLY DIGITAL.

DURING THOSE FABULOUS FIFTIES

     THE FIRST MCDONALD’S OPENED AND SOON THERE WAS ONE COMPETING WITH BONNIE DOON.  NOW WE CAN ENJOY A MCDONALD’S ALMOST ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, BUT A BONNIE BURGER ONLY IN MISHAWAKA.

    THE MINIMUM WAGE WAS $1.00; THE AVERAGE INCOME WAS $4,000; GAS WAS $.23; AND POSTAGE $.03 (DAVID AND I COULD AFFORD TO SEND A LETTER EVERYDAY FOR THREE YEARS AFTER GRADUATION WHILE HE WAS IN BLOOMINGTON AND I AT ST. MARY’S, NOTRE DAME).

     WE DREAMED OF THE MAN IN THE MOON, NEVER A MAN ON THE MOON. 

     DURING THE SUMMERTIME WE WENT TO TOWER HILL AND PRIZED OUR HEALTHY TANS.  NOW WE SLATHER ON THE SPF 30.

      WE DESCRIBED OUR MUSIC WITH NUMBERS—78, 45; NOT LETTERS LIKE CD, I-POD, AND MP3.

     A CELL WAS SOMETHING WE LEARNED ABOUT IN BIOLOGY, NOT SOMETHING WE ANSWERED.

     WE COULD LISTEN TO ONE OF THE  2600 AM RADIO STATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY IF WE COULD TUNE THEM IN ; I PREPARED THESE REMARKS WHILE LISTEN TO THE 50’S ON XM SATELLITE RADIO WHICH CAN BE PICKED UP ANYWHERE. 

     JEANS AND T SHIRTS WERE WHAT WE WORE TO SCHOOL ON HOBO DAY—NOW JEANS AND T SHIRTS SEEM TO BE THE OUTFIT FOR CASUAL AND EVEN DRESS OCCASIONS FOR ALL AGES.

     WE HAD OUR RED, BROWN, BLACK, AND BLOND HAIR IN PONY TAILS, DUCK TAILS, AND FLAT TOPS.  NOW SOME OF US MAY NOT HAVE SO MUCH HAIR AND FOR THOSE OF US WHO DO, IT IS MOSTLY GREY AND WHITE.

WE STARTED OUR HIGH SCHOOL YEARS LISTENING TO THE TENNESSEE WALTZ BY PATTI PAGE AND HOW HIGH THE MOON BY LES PAUL AND MARY FORD.  THEN JOHNNY RAY CRY-ED; KAY STARR SPINNED THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE AND THE FOUR ACES WANTED US TO TELL ME WHY.  EDDIE FISHER WAS WALKING BEHIND YOU AND PATTI PAGE WANTED TO KNOW HOW MUCH WAS THAT DOGGIE IN THE WINDOW. THE FOUR LADS GAVE US MOMENTS TO REMEMBER.  WE SH-BOOM(ED) (THE CREW CUTS) AND ROCK(ED) AROUND THE CLOCK (BILL HALEY AND THE COMETS).

IN OUR SENIOR YEAR THE FOOTBALL TEAM GAVE US A FUN FALL WITH THEIR 7-2 RECORD, FINISHING 3RD IN THE CONFERENCE.  THE MVP, SKIP DEAL, IS HERE TONIGHT.  OF THE 27 TOUCHDOWNS SCORED THAT SEASON, SKIP SCORED 10.  OTHERS HERE TONIGHT FROM THAT TEAM ARE DAVE BICKEL, JIM BRUYNELL, ART CELIE, PAUL DAGGY, SKIP DEAL, PAT GANSER, DAVE HINTZ, FRED KANOUSE, & CHUCK PROUDFIT.  DO YOU FOOTBALL PLAYERS REMEMBER GETTING FREE MALTS AFTER A HOME WIN FROM MY DAD, MIKE, AT THE DARIETTE?

OUR FINAL GAME WAS OUR HOMECOMING GAME, A WIN OVER ELKHART (14-0) WE HAVE ALL THE SENIOR MEMBERS OF OUR HOMECOMING COURT HERE TONIGHT—OUR HOMECOMING QUEEN, GLADYS (COLE) GERSCHHOFFER, AND VERONICA (TORDI) MAGGIOLI AND JILL (STRANG) BARRETT.

WHILE THE FOOTBALL TEAM HAD A FINE SEASON, IT WAS THE BASKETBALL TEAM THAT THRILLED AND DELIGHTED US BEYOND ALL DREAMS AND EXPECTATIONS.  AS I’M SURE YOU ALL REMEMBER, WE FINISHED THREE VICTORIES SHY OF A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP—THE BEST ANY BASKETBALL TEAM HAS EVER DONE IN THE HISTORY OF MISHAWAKA HIGH SCHOOL.  A TEACHER FROM BEIGER, JIM TANSEY, WROTE A POEM ABOUT OUR TEAM, CALLED

THE FINEST TEAM.

(WITH APOLOGIES TO LONGFELLOW—)

    WATCH, DEAR FAN, AND YOU WILL SEE

    THE CAVEMEN PERFORM ON YOUR TV;

    THEY’RE THE FINEST TEAM WE’VE EVER SEEN

    AND WE HOPE THEY’RE THE WINNER OF THE SWEET SIXTEEN

    ON THE 12TH DAY OF MARCH IN 55

    HARDLY A BOOSTER IS ALIVE

    WHO’LL FORGET THAT FAMOUS DAY AND YEAR

    AND THE MAROON-CLAD TEAM FOR WHOM WE CHEER

    LEROY, PAT, GEORGE, AND GENE

    BRUCE AND CARL FORM QUITE A TEAM;

    THEN THERE ARE ACREY, ANKNEY, AND SKIP,

    AND “MOOSE” LECHLITNER IS THERE TO PREVENT A SLIP

    IF THAT’S NOT ENOUGH TO MAKE US TOUGH

    THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF FANS TO CALL THE BLUFF

    OF HARTFORD CITY AND NORTHSIDE FORT WAYNE

    AND CHEER OUR CAVEMEN ON TO FAME

    SO LET’S JOIN FORCES AND HOPE FOR THE BEST

    THAT OUR CAVEMEN TEAM WILL TOP THE REST;

    FOR COACH JOHN AND HIS BOYS WITH US WILL RATE,

    AS THE FINEST TEAM IN THE HOOSIER STATE!

WE BEAT HARTFORD CITY ALL RIGHT, 51-43; BUT FORT WAYNE GOT THE BEST OF US IN THE SEMI-STATE FINAL AT NORTHSIDE GYM IN ELKHART, WHERE WE PAID $2.00 A TICKET.  THEY BEAT US 54-48.

A RECENT NEWS ITEM IN THE S. B. TRIBUNE REPORTED THAT TRAINER, JIM NICHOLS (CLASS OF 56), HAS SENT ITEMS FROM THAT SEASON TO THE INDIANA BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME IN NEW CASTLE.  IF YOU ARE IN THAT PART OF INDIANA YOU CAN VIEW THE NET CUT DOWN AFTER THE 70-53 SECTIONAL WIN OVER RILEY AS WELL AS PIECES FROM THE NETS FROM THE REGIONAL AND SEMI STATE FINAL GAMES. ALSO TELEGRAMS SENT TO THE TEAM INCLUDING ONE THAT UNROLLS TO A 25-FOOT LENGTH.

THANKS, GUYS, FOR A MEMORABLE SENIOR YEAR.

ON PROM NIGHT, FRIDAY, JUNE 3, WE DANCED AT THE PLAYLAND BALLROOM TO AL RICCI’S RENDITIONS OF SUCH TUNES AS CHERRY PINK AND APPLE BLOSSOM WHITE AND LOVE IS A MANY SPLENDORED THING --  WINNER OF THE ACADEMY AWARD THAT YEAR.

DURING GRADUATION WEEK, SOME OF US MAY HAVE CELEBRATED BY GOING TO THE MOVIES.  TWO JOHN WAYNE MOVIES WERE PLAYING AT THE TIVOLI—FLYING TIGERS, AND FIGHTING SEEBEES.  IN SOUTH BEND AT THE GRANADA, PALACE, OR COLFAX, WE MIGHT HAVE GONE TO SEE THE WILD ONE WITH MARLON BRANDO OR THE ACADEMY AWARD WINNING MARTY WITH BEST ACTOR ERNEST BORGNINE, STOPPING AT THE PHILADELPHIA FOR AN ICE CREAM TREAT.  OR WE MIGHT HAVE VENTURE TO THE STARLITE DRIVE-IN IN ELKHART TO SEE BLACKBOARD JUNGLE.

ON MONDAY’S CLASS NIGHT, WE MISSED I LOVE LUCY AND STUDIO ONE ON TV.  INSTEAD OF WATCHING DRAMA AND COMEDY AT HOME, WE WERE WATCHING OUR OWN THESPIAN, MARY K. (SMITH) KASE GET THE DRAMATICS AWARD AND LISTEN TO MARJORIE (MILLER) BOUNSALL SALUTE US IN HER ADDRESS; THE SENIOR MEMBERS OF THE BAND INCLUDING ROGER FITES, BOB MILLER, MARJORIE (MILLER) BOUNSALL, AND JANET (REED) RICE ENTERTAINED US WITH IT’S BEEN A LONG, LONG, TIME AND SWINGING ON A STAR. .  THE SENIOR ORCHESTRA MEMBERS WITH DALE AND JUDY (KELLEY) BAUER, JANICE (PROUGH) FARKAS, AND BOB SHAMO ANTICIPATED TONIGHT WITH I’LL SEE YOU AGAIN; AND OUR SENIOR CHORUS CLOSED WITH THE THEME FOR THE NIGHT, BEYOND THE BLUE HORIZON.

OUR COMMENCEMENT SPEAKER ON THAT 8TH OF JUNE NIGHT WAS FR. THEODORE HESBURGH, THE NOW VERY FAMOUS RETIRED LONGTIME PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME—I DON’T THINK WE APPRECIATED WHAT A DISTINGUISHED PERSON WE HAD WITH US THAT NIGHT.  HE ENCOURAGED US TO FACE LIFE’S CHALLENGES WITH ENTHUSIASM, IMAGINATION, AND COURAGE.  HE GAVE US TWO IMPORTANT PIECES OF ADVICE.  HE SAID, “THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION YOU MAKE WILL BE WHO YOU WILL LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH” AND “THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO LIVE THE KIND OF LIFE THAT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY.”  I HOPE IN REFLECTING BACK ON THE PAST FIFTY YEARS YOU HAVE FACED LIFE’S CHALLENGES WITH ENTHUSIASM, IMAGINATION AND COURAGE AND THAT YOU ALL HAVE LIVED THE KIND OF LIFE THAT HAS MADE YOU HAPPY.  AND MAY YOU CONTINUE TO LIVE A LIFE THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN.  THANK YOU.

BEFORE THE DANCING I WANT TO INVITE THE 19 MEMBERS OF THE CHORUS FROM OUR CLASS NIGHT TO LEAD US IN A ROUSING RENDITION OF OUR MHS FIGHT SONG: 

PLEASE JOIN ME--

    ELVIRA (BAGNARA) GABLE                            LARRY AND JILL (STRANG) BARRETT           

    JIM BRUYNELL                                                    DALE AND JUDY (KELLEY) BAUER

    JUDY (EINKOPF) KASA                                     TOM AND JANICE (PROUGH) FARKAS

    ROGER FITES                                                       SARAH (FREDERICK) PAULY

    B.J. (HOOD) OBRIEN                                          CAROLE (LEHMAN) VENDRICK

    VIRGINIA (MARTIN) ERICKSON                       CHUCK PROUDFIT

    BOB SHAMO                                                          MARY K. (SMITH) KASE

    DORIS (STERZIK) WIERZBINSKI                     SHARON (WIEKAMP) SHOWALTER

Webmaster's Insert ..... the above classmates got up in front of the group, Rosemary passed out word  sheets and  then Sharon (Wiekamp) Showalter started the group singing.  Went pretty well, but thank  goodness for the word  sheet.  The only addition to this singing would have been to have our attending  classmate cheerleader, Sally (Roelands) Rieff, lead the singing with some of her great "moves" from '55  cheerleading program book.  DB 

THANK YOU.  LET’S DANCE!


September 28, 2005

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