Saturday, May 31, 2008

Reunion Thoughts

This September, the Class of 1958 will celebrate the 50th anniversary of graduation from Whiting High School . A full weekend of activities have been planned to revisit the "Good 'Ol Days," of our alma mater. Classmates who attend will have opportunity to rekindle friendship, recall memories, and review the times of our lives. Special moments will be set aside to pay tribute to classmates who have passed away. They will be remembered with fondness for how they touched our life.

As a class we've been tested and tempered by life's experiences. We've shared sorrow and sadness, happiness and joy, struggle and success. We've paid our dues, learned our lessons and passed the test. Since we wore our cap and gown at Commencement June 4, 1958, we've been blessed with over 18,250 days. We have endured life's flaws, personal imperfections, disappointments, toil, and uncertainty. And, we've celebrated countless days of goodness, joy, and blessings along life's road.

We came together as a class during less-complicated times. We enjoyed Hula-hoops 'n sock hops, five cent candy bars; cruisin' 119th street in cars filled with personality and Standard Red Crown gasoline at 23 cents a gallon. We wore penny loafers, saddle shoes, flat tops, ponytails, and, at times looked like the north end of a south bound duck. We were greased and waxed ready for rock 'n roll; Bill Haley and Elvis never let us down. We sang about the Purple people Eater, and a Hound dog. Each afternoon we tuned in Dick Clark's American Bandstand, and Disney's Mickey Mouse Club; and played snooker and pinball at Nick's. Our home town provided a Community Center where kids could gather and street corners for seminars and informal get-togethers. We fed jukeboxes quarters to hear Top 40 favorites; transistors arrived and portable radios filled our ears. Black and white, 4-channel, television opened windows to our world; at school we rehashed episodes, repeated catch phrases and imitated televised celebrities who visited our living rooms via Zenith and RCA.

There were poodle skirts, crinoline petticoats, shirtwaist dresses, blazers, Jantzen sweaters and bobby socks. Students sported Levi's and slip-ons, white socks and oxfords, leather and nylon jackets. Angora wrapped class rings, and a sundry of fads and fashions as our class took its place in the adolescent world. Classroom pulsed with teenaged energy as we struggled with English, Latin, Spanish, Algebra, Geometry, Chemistry, and Biology. Gifted classmates displayed their talent in athletics, music, drama, art, hands-on courses and extra curricular activities. As a class we celebrated being young. Our friendship and mutual affection filled classrooms and neighborhoods throughout the city. A half century later, that friendship and affection thrives.

Thinking back on those days, I always recall the stores, establishments, and businesses that were the lifeblood of our community. Many are now part of our community's history; others continue to serve residents to this day. Each remembrance sets off a mind movie recalling snippets of days gone by. Ordinary events became extraordinary moments to remember. Do you remember Condes Restaurant� the place to go after the Sunday night dances at St. John's Panel Room; and Condes Grocery. Recall these: Phil Smidts and Son� Radio Center� Madura's Danceland� Bank of Whiting� Sacred Heart School� Northern Indiana Lumber and Coal Co� American Trust and Savings Bank� NIPSCO� Standard Oil (SOCO) � Lovasko Studio� State Bank of Whiting� Weiners Foods� Winsberg's� Lake County Motor Sales� Immaculate Conception Grotto�Hoosier Theater�Whiting Park Lagoon�Ciesco Insurance�.Morris Bollhorst Insurance� Bezan's� Vogel's Restaurant� Tri-City Roofing & Sheet Metal Works� Brown's Apparel� Capital Theater...Wm. R. Siltanen, Jeweler� Purple Steer� Topper Formal Wear� Saint Peter and Paul Church� Orr's TV� Justak & Sons� Wargo's Insurance� Parkview Bowling Alley� McCreary's Barber Shop� Whiting Elks� Slovak Dome� Neal Price's� Whiting Shoes� St. Mary's Hall� Ciesar's� Bialon's Accordion Studio� Lewin & Wolf� A&P Foods� Sherman's Indiana Supply� Margaret's Geneva House� Ed & Paul's Sportsmans Club� Whiting Flower shop� Whiting Shade and Awning� France Ford� Kosier funeral Home� White Star Grocery� W. Vater Coal Company� Schlater's Funeral Home� Central Drug Store� Illiana Shoe Repair Shop� Gyure's Recreation� Whiting Police Department� Parkview Super Mart. Inc� Standard Diamonds� Henry E. Eggers. Co� Aronberg Jewelers� Curosh's� Glenn's Shoe Store� Prairie View Dairy� Hot Dog Louie's� White Castle� Riffer's� Burton's� Whiting Laundry� Towne house Lanes� Central States Bank� Lever Brothers� Daly Hall� Amaizo� Al Knapp's Restaurant� Woolworth's� Ingy's Drugstore� J.J. Newberry's� Walgreen's� The Oil Can� IGA Store� Whiting Post Office� Salmon's Barber shop� Dave's Drugstore� Jos. A. Chilla Bank� Rudolf's House of Beauty� Times Grafic� Illiana Hotel? Kinnane Cleaners� Mills Auto Parts� Standard Hotel� Bubala Food Mart� Gansinger's Jewelers� Dairy Queen� Bercik's Filling Station� Owens Funeral Home? Jack & Jill Shop� Golub Super Market� Baran Funeral Home� National Food Store� Vrabel Photography Studio� Forsythe Park� St. Adalbert's Parish� Kroger Foods� Seifer Furniture Store� National Dairy� Loyal Order of Moose� Victory Restaurant� Chicago's Last Department Store� Whiting Fire Department� Andes� Pizza� Boulevard bakery� Richard's Pharmacy� Ida's New Location� Swarthouse Chevrolet� Hansen Buick� Whiting News Company� Brozovich's Grocery and� and�

One of the nice things about reunions it gives one opportunity to look in life's rear view mirror and savor the past:
Lookin' back and what do we see?
images of what we all used to be;
of times and events with its joy and tears,
only traces remain of our high school years.
We're now so much older as we think what we did,
back at the time when we all were just kids.
The words printed here are about you and I,
filled with memories to laugh and to sigh.
Those times of our lives, the way we were,
are locked in our treasury, safe and secure,
we know that those moments are forever past;
yet by sharing together, we make them last.
Still and all, we're lookin' back to see what we can see,
and it warms the heart to touch those things,
of what we used to be.

Where's Al going to be next???

Check back soon for his next appearance at a location near you!