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Out 50th Was a Great Success
Our class celebrated its 50th reunion with a dinner at the Van Zandt Country Club on October 18. It was the largest reunion ever with thirty-four members of the class and twenty-six spouses and guests attending. Eight of the fifty-three members of the graduating class are deceased. Only two class members, Lylithe Ann Hise and Patsy York could not be located.
Local classmates attending were: James Adams, Pat (Ashworth) Small and her husband Doug, Jimmy Buckley and his wife Jacque, Rosa (Curtis) Davis, Jerry Dawson and his wife Susie, Kenneth Hoye Foster and his wife June, Myrna (Gilbert) Rogers and her husband Ray, Beverly (Goodwin) Freeland and her daughter Lendhie Robertson, Gloria (Hoskins) Scott and her husband Raymond, Linda Rose (Jordan) Whiteside and her husband Don, Charles Jurden, Sue (Mayfield) Harrelson and her husband Jim, Mary (Mislivets) Harris, Ray Page and his wife Mary Crowley, Betty Sue (Scott) Cartwright and her husband David, Patsy (Shinn) Edwards, Lynda (Teel) Frazier and her husband John, Truman Welch and his wife Carol, Gerald Wilcoxson and his wife Carol, and Coy Wilson and his wife Kay.
Classmates attending from out of the area were: Billy Bob Ashworth and his wife Barbara, Leonard, Texas; Tommy Beck and his wife Sylvia, Tulia, Texas; Jeanette (Rose) Bronson, Dallas, Texas; Pat (Clemmons) Tolley and her husband Don, Boerne, Texas; Barbara (Flatt) Luckett, Mesquite, Texas, and her daughter Patti Roland and special guest Wanda Cunningham (Class of ’57); Raymond Hargrove and his wife Joan, Richardson, Texas; Lyndell Kent, Mart, Texas; Gloria (Leister) Brown and her husband Bill, Ridgecrest, California; Jerry Dale and Sandra Moon, Garland, Texas; Carolyn (Rankin) Compton and her husband Sam, Hendersonville, Tennessee; Billy Rusk and his wife Ida, Richardson, Texas; Donna (Shepard) Coker, Burkburnett, Texas; Donald Smith and his wife Joan, Seagoville, Texas; and Loy Wilson and his wife Soledad, Hurst, Texas.
Events started with a brief welcome and prayer by Billy Rusk. On behalf of the organizers, he extended a warm welcome to class members and guests and provided an overview of the evening’s activities.
A superb dinner, including steaks and chicken was prepared and served by the very professional and friendly staff of the Van Zandt Country Club. Immediately following dinner, class photos were taken by the club lake. Lynda (Teel) Frazier subsequently facilitated a business session during which the class chose Billy Rusk for president, Lynda Frazier for secretary and Sue Harrelson for treasurer. Based largely on the outstanding success of this reunion, the class voted to have the next reunion on October 10, 2009 also at the Country Club.
Acting as master of ceremonies, Pat (Clemmons) Tolley kept the class in stitches as she called on each class member to provide personal updates on what they’d been doing for the past fifty years.
Billy Ashworth, now retired, told of the poor advice given by his financial advisor—“He told me I had plenty of money to retire, but the #$@# lied to me.” Class members held their breath as Tommy Beck told Galveston senior trip “secrets” including how Coach “Red” Adams failed to uncover booze under James Adams’ bed. Jimmy Buckley recounted how he was caught playing “hooky” during 7th period by Mr. Witcher. When Rosa (Curtis) Davis disclosed that she’s recently started taking piano lessons, Pat recalled what a beautiful voice Rosa had in high school. Barbara (Flatt) Luckett said she’s trying really hard to make doctors rich. One of her favorite memories was playing ball with Patsy (Shinn) Edwards and Betty Sue (Scott) Cartwright. Kenneth Hoye Foster struggled to remember the number of grandchildren he has, finally deciding it must be “maybe eight.” He recalled how the class ring he lost was found and returned forty years later by someone who found it in the corner of an old couch.
Myrna (Gilbert) Rogers said she and Ray, who have been married for 50 years, still like each other and now enjoy RV’ing. Beverly (Goodwin) Freeland, who once resided in San Antonio, but now lives in Wills Point said she’s now involved in politics. She didn’t seem to remember a tale told by Pat about a certain trip to Dallas while they were in high school. Raymond Hargrove said he still holds a grudge against Lyndell Kent since Lyndell replaced him in Mrs. Murphy’s 2nd grade class play—after Raymond came down with Laryngitis. Pat’s allegation that Raymond seemed to have dated every girl in the class appeared to be confirmed in a slide show viewed later in the evening.
It appeared that most girls in the Class of ‘58 had difficulty grasping the concepts of homemaking under Miss Mary Coleman. Gloria (Hoskins) Scott recalled throwing biscuits out the second floor window rather than eating them. Pat (Ashworth) Small told about Mrs. Riley’s class on the first floor one day seeing a rain of orange-flavored cookies. Apparently, sewing was also a difficult subject under Miss Coleman. Sue (Mayfield) Harrelson remembered throwing away an apron she made in class as soon as she reached home. Betty Sue (Scott) Cartwright) said she just couldn’t get a zipper sewed in properly—so, she sneaked it out of class and Norma Joe (Robbins) Rice did the work for her. Betty said, “Miss Coleman just didn’t like me.” Miss Coleman once told Donna Shepard, “Your button holes look like a pig’s eye.” Donna said Miss Coleman believed that girls should “always carry a thimble.” “Cutting the head off of a chicken and removing the ‘oil bag’” was the funniest memory Jeanette (Bronson) Rose could recall. “We couldn’t find the oil bag, so we just cut off the entire tail.” Jeanette’s best memory was graduating. Truman Welch said only that he wished he had been in Mrs. Coleman’s class.
Charles Jurden said he treasured every class member because they played an important part of his life. He remembered a special surprise when he and some other boys were summoned to meet with a certain female teacher but refused to explain further, saying only it was very nice. Gloria (Leister) Brown, who loves working for the Navy in California, said her mother told her, “I only hope that I live long enough to see you make this reunion.” Sandra (McLeod) Moon told of slipping Charles Jurden, Ronald, and Lyndell into a girls’ Galveston motel room on the senior trip—and how, when they learned that Mrs. Francine Hoffman was on her way for a room check, they made them crawl out the window. Jerry read a poem he wrote about our school days:
I’ve been thinking about those days 50 years ago
Of those school days at Wills Point and some of the folks I know.
I came to school at Wills Point in 1956
Back at home in my element among a bunch of hicks.
There are certain scenes that stuck into my mind
Like snapshots of the past frozen there in time.
I can still see Mr. Witcher standing in the hall with his arms folded
Hurrying us on to class where our minds could be molded.
I see Mrs. Riley lecturing, back and forth she’d would be walking
Snapping her fingers at Claude and me, to stop us from talking.
She would continue the lesson and never miss a beat
The way she kept her concentration, I thought was pretty neat.
My favorite teacher was Mrs. Riley, but yet,
It was in Mrs. Francine’s class that I was the teacher’s pet.
I’m so thrilled to see everyone, I hope you feel the same,
I can’t quite place your face, but I recognize the name.
I never dreamed when we graduated there’d be something for which I’d long
And that’s to be as thin as Joe Madden and Bobby Malone.
Now our hearts hold some empty spaces for our classmates who’ve passed on before
But these spaces will be filled when they greet us at heaven’s door.
I’ll close now and say, “It’s great to see you.” I have used up my time.
This last line doesn’t mean anything; I just needed to make it rhyme.
It’s unbelievable how people can change. Mary Mislivets said she was always shy in class. She recalled living in Dallas with 4-8 girls soon after graduating and working 18 years at Wal-Mart. Ray Page recalled a trip with Carol Langston and Tommy Beck when they were pulled over by cops, but luckily for them, “the police didn’t bother to check us out.” After retirement, Ray returned to Wills Point “to be a cowboy,” and “almost starved to death.” Carolyn (Rankin) Compton, said she started out in “banking” but is now working as a travel agent. She claims to be the youngest of our class—only seventeen (born in a leap year).
Betty Sue (Scott) Cartwright remembers meeting her husband, David, when he came to a farm house where she and Nan Morris were staying. Although many remember otherwise, Donna Shepard said she also was very shy in class. Patsy (Shinn) Edwards remembered the class presenting a “This is Your Life” special event for Mr. Hooks. Pat said her memories of Patsy were her beautiful legs and “How good she could dribble.” Putting the skunk in Mrs. Francine Hoffman’s desk was Donald Smith’s funniest memory.
Coy Wilson said this was only the second time he had attended a reunion, but thoroughly enjoyed it. He remembered whopping Sue with his backswing while playing golf at Myrtle Springs Park. Sue recalled the incident with little comment. Loy Wilson, who now likes to be called “Jackie,” said he is the better looking of two twins. Pat recalled how Loy once impressed a girlfriend of hers with his dancing. Gerald Wilcoxson, who is now retired, said he’s still working on his honey-do list.
Rosa (Curtis) Davis remembered that while on the Galveston senior trip, Mr. Witcher came by and told the girls, “Lights Off.” Within minutes, a chaperone mother told them, “Now you girls go and do whatever you want to do.”
Linda (Jordan) Whiteside said she must have gone on a different senior trip.
Billy Rusk recalled who were paired with whom on the senior trip. He told of “discovering” that there were girls in Terrell. Now that the statute of limitations has expired, Billy finally confessed that it was Raymond, Lyndell, and himself who painted “SRS 1958” on the city water tower. He recalled that the Class of ’58 senior trip was the last one for a long time, ending a long time tradition. Amazingly, the Wills Point High School administration ended the tradition of having senior trips after the senior trip of 1958.
Pat (Clemmons) Tolley recalled dissecting a rabbit in biology class and Mr. Caskey trying to convince the class that the pregnant rabbit’s unborn babies were “just the large intestines.”
Following the update by each class member on their lives since graduation, Billy Rusk presented two slide shows with background music of the 50s—a fourteen minute show that honored deceased members and another forty-five minute show with class photos: teachers, school buildings, typical class days, sports, senior trip, and individual class members. Several class members spoke of deceased class members.
Ray Page and fellow musician, Bill Bateman, rounded out the extraordinary evening with an impressive singing and guitar performance. Their music provided the perfect atmosphere while former class mates visited, talked of old times, and became reacquainted.
A good time was had by all, and everyone seems to be looking forward to getting together again for our 51st Reunion on October 10.