Reunion recognizes school connectionsEven classmates who have been studiously avoiding their high school reunions may want to reconsider this year. For one thing, the focus has changed.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Even classmates who have been studiously avoiding their high school reunions may want to reconsider this year. For one thing, the focus has changed.
“No one is trying to influence or brag anymore,” said Barb Hofstedt with the Central High School class of 1960. “They’re just happy you’re there.”
Another draw is the fact that this Thursday the class of 1960 from all three Superior high schools — Central, East and Cathedral — will gather at Vintage Italian Pizza (VIP).
“Each school wants to maintain their own identity,” Hofstedt said. “Each will have their own program. After that you can reacquaint yourself with kids from the other classes you haven’t seen in years.”
Last year, the East class held a 70th birthday party bash the same time and place as the Central reunion. Being able to mingle with friends and rivals was an added bonus.
“I think it makes it better,” said Gail Erdman of East.
Everyone had friendships with people in other schools because of community activities, Hofstedt said.
“It’s amazing how many people you know in different schools,” said Jane Prochazka of East.
Over the years, the intense cross-city rivalries have simmered down, but that didn’t stop Prochazka from dusting off her yearbooks to see if any East sports team beat Central during her high school years.
“When we played Cathedral or Central, it was something,” she said. “You were just on a buzz. Everybody went to the game.” And yes, she reported, East did squeak out a 50-47 basketball win over Central during her freshman year.
Dances were also very popular.
Mary Margaret Sitek with the Cathedral class of 1960 remembered the girls had to have their prom dresses inspected. If they didn’t pass, a nun would wrap scarves around their necks.
In that era, girls couldn’t wear slacks to school except on special occasions. At Cathedral, they didn’t even have physical education class for girls. A gallon of gas cost a quarter, a hamburger from Bob’s Drive-In was 19 cents, and when Sammy’s Pizza opened in their freshman year, a cheese pizza cost $1. Students would dress up and go downtown on Thursdays, when shops stayed open until 9 p.m. East End stores followed suit, staying open until 9 p.m. Fridays.
Cathedral students enjoyed stopping at Bridgeman’s and many students stopped at Connolly’s Bakery for hot cocoa and a cinnamon roll after Mass, according to Sitek.
In East End, students ate at the Arrow, or Red and White cafes.
“The East End Theater was a big part of your life,” Prochazka said. Ice skating was also a common pastime, often ending with popcorn and hot chocolate. And students waited eagerly to take their driver’s license test at the police station behind East End Drug.
Eddies Supper Club had the best burgers and coleslaw in town, Hofstedt said. Guenard’s Candy Store was the perfect spot to get popcorn before catching a film at the Beacon, and VIP, where the reunion will be held, was then the Woolworth’s dime store.
“We used to go there after school for cherry Cokes, green rivers (Coke and lime juice) and the best French fries,” Hofstedt said.
After school, students could “check the drag” by driving up and down Tower Avenue to see what was going on.
The Central class of 1960 decided to start holding annual reunions following their 50th.
“Our numbers are dwindling,” Hofstedt said. “We decided every five to 10 years is too long.” So, they made a standing date to meet the first Thursday of every August at VIP, no registration required.
“It became so easy,” Hofstedt said. “You could stop in and order a drink, stop in and order a pizza” and reminisce. Adding East to the mix last year doubled the fun. Now, they will hold the first ever “Tri-High” event. Any member of the Cathedral, Central or East high school class of 1960 is invited to stop by VIP, 1201 Tower Ave., at 5:30 p.m. Thursday and join in the fun.
Hofstedt said she is already working on a quiz that will include school colors, mascots and more.
“We think this will work out beautifully,” Hofstedt said. “We can pass among ourselves, go from room to room.” It’s nice to remain separate, but together because, she said, “We are all connected.”