There is a reunion scheduled for my high school graduating class, but it is scheduled the very same date as Printers’ Row in Chicago, the largest outdoor book fair in the United States. I have participated in Printers’ Row many years as a member of the Illinois chapter of National Presswomen. This reunion is a full 6 decades post high school. How many of the 12 girls in my circle are even alive? How many who are alive would be attending? (From the latest reports, only 35 people have signed up at all, and that includes spouses, so a class of 110 has shrunk to perhaps 20, tops.)
I ran through the names and statuses of the girls I ran around with in high school:
Jane – died at age 69.
Marcia – died from a brain aneurysm while mowing the lawn.
Joan – died from a massive stroke in October after a lifetime of chain smoking.
Linda – died of cancer
Carol – died of cancer
Kaye – dead of suicide
Candy, Beverley, Marcy, Pat and me.
I also am aware that my high school steady boyfriend died on May 20, 2021, during some routine maintenance on his pace maker. (RIP, Verne).
So, I organized a Mini Reunion, which involved three (of 5) of the remaining class members. It just so happened that there was also supposed to be something called Music on Main involving live music, supposedly, on main street the night that we selected (Aug. 11th). We did go downtown to explore this activity late (9 p.m,) but it seemed to be more “canned” music than “live” music and there were only a few high school aged people out and about. It was a lovely night and we enjoyed the stroll past old businesses that we remember from our youth, which now have new functions.
Initially, I drove to Alburnett, Iowa and joined forces with Marcy, who lives nearby. We traveled the rest of the way (a roughly 2 and ½ hour trip for me) in Marcy’s car, but I must share the project her husband is working on for her right now.
We dined at Denali’s on the River (prime rib) and caught up on what has been going on in everyone’s life. Candy’s husband just had open heart surgery. Marcy had just attended at least three funerals for close friends. I am still staying on top of 1/27/2022 cancer surgery, and Candy has some mobility issues she is addressing.
We raised our glasses to our three wonderful husbands. We also had a drink in honor and in memory of the female friends who have shuffled off this mortal coil, and wished Beverley (far away in Oregon) well with her own battles with colon cancer and chronic pain.
I didn’t attend the 50th class reunion—also in conflict with a film festival commitment. It seems that Candy, who is a quilt-maker par excellence, has really excelled in this post-career hobby. Marcy has traveled extensively (China, Egypt) and she and her husband, Dave, will celebrate his 80th birthday on August 17th.
Dave has had both hips and both knees replaced and also had a corneal transplant. He is retired now, but farmed 2,000 acres at one time, with partners. Their home was destroyed by a tornado in 2009 and they built a new home high on a hill in a truly lovely pastoral setting. One of their children lives just below the hill where their house is located.
Candy has 9 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren, with the longest marriage of the three of us (59 years, I believe). All together, all of us have been married over 50 years, with our 56 years this year coming in as shortest time span.
I polished off the weekend staying overnight with Marcy and talking until 1:30 A.M. In the morning, we drove to my nephew’s new home and got to see it the very day they were moving in. It is a palace. I couldn’t be happier for Chris, D.J., Sophia and Owen.
It was a memorable Mini Reunion, and I am so glad that the three of us could get together. I wish the rest of my classmates well as they gather at Wolfie’s (in Quasqueton, Iowa, which is a town I had never visited for reasons I do not totally understand). Next time, maybe the number of still mobile graduates will be so small that we can gather in DeNali’s small banquet room. Or maybe another restaurant in town will open, as the one that the locals seemed to favor (Bill’s) was not only closed, but boarded up.
We did walk up and down Main Street, discussing the various businesses that exist there now and those of yesteryear. I learned that my father’s Security State Bank now goes by NSB, meaning Northeast Security Bank. It says there are 8 branches and that the bank, founded by my father (John Corcoran, Jr.) in 1941 is owned by Independence Bancshares, Inc.. and has assets of $427,617,000. The locations were listed as being Independence, Dysart, Fredricksburg, Decorah, Fairbank, Sumner, Rowley, and Fayette.
Since my father started out in the bank in Fairbank, Iowa, as a cashier, and the bank listed agri-business as its chief focus, it seemed that it might still be holding firm to his vision of serving the rural community and not becoming part of a huge chain like Wells Fargo or Bank of America.
I’ll report more on my stroll down memory lane after next weekend’s journey to view Underground Independence. (google it).