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We Survived 'til 55!!

Well, here it is....another milestone birthday for the Ellet Class of '74!!

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F I F T Y - F I V E!


We could've stayed in our rocking chairs, but we decided to throw off the lap blankets and celebrate in the classic Ellet Class of '74 way.....We partied all weekend!!

You know, for this birthday celebration we contacted only those classmates for whom we had email addresses. Using this website and Facebook—Golly, don't you just LOVE Facebook for keeping in touch?—we had about 50 people show up for Friday's and Saturday's festivities.

Friday night, 08-12-11, we met at the Wing Warehouse. It's a sporty little bar/restaurant at Gala Commons, the little row of shoppes where the Gala Drive-in used to be on Rt 224 and Springfield Lake Road.

From my vantage point, I saw that Joyce VanHook (Pierce) made it in from Florida. So did Vicky Cutlip (Shaw). Craig Somerville & his fiancé, Tanya Peek, came from Atlanta, Georgia --ON A MOTORCYCLE-- to be with us. Denise Garrett hopped a plane from Texas to join in the fun.
I turned around and there stood Rick Dickey...who had come all the way from Philadelphia!

I saw a bunch of local folks whom I haven't seen in a good while: I spotted Jeff Bennetts at the bar, and tried to work my way thru the crowd to say hi, but when I got there he had moved. (Ha! Maybe he saw me coming?!?!) In his place, though, was Marty McLain. Marty was class of '75, if I am not mistaken. He was with Joyce VanHook, and her sister Robin, to whom I was told he is married.

Then, who did I spot sitting in a booth? Dave Abbott!!!! Dave, we haven't seen you in almost 40 years! Where've you been hiding? Wherever it is, he's in hiding again, as I let him get away without getting his current contact info. If you have it, be in touch. We'd all like to see Dave at the 40th Reunion. Can't get him there without contact info...

I then laid eyes on Kevin Woods and wife, Carol. They were too far away to speak to, but I did get a little wave in. Same with Denny Sizemore, and Dennis Denham.

I saw Kevin George for the first time in eons..... never saw him with a beard before. It looks good Kevin!

Patty Postlewaite (Hetrick) came over, as did Debbie Fitzhugh (Richards) and Vern Richards. Cathy Skinner was there, and so were Mike and Diana (Staubs) Madonio.
I spotted Anna Skeriotis across the room, but never got a chance to speak with her.

I saw Eddie Latchaw amble in. He thought he could fool us, but we got some pictures to prove he IS off-duty sometimes.

We got a couple of pics, also, proving that John Summers really DID try out the Wing Warehouse's famous wings!

And there are also pics of: Randy Maust, Eric Pirogowicz, Susan Beth Boyts (Pangburn), Billy McGurk, Jerry Feeman, Cynthia Pirogowicz (Sheeks). There are a few shots of Janice Newcome (Schwarzinger), Laurie Gipson (McElroy), and Terrie Kisha.

Oh, I cannot leave out Christine Labbe Fox. I saw her and Connie Lute (Miller), too.

My good friend, Ron Graham, never left my side all night. That wasn't hard, as we were in the center of things and never had to get up for anything! LOL But, thanks, Ron. I appreciated it.

If you had as good a time as I did, then you had a wonderful time. And it was only the first half of the weekend's celebrations!

Saturday, 08-13-11 was predicted to be a dreary day, fraught with thunderstorms for most of the daylight hours.

Those TV Weathermen sometimes have NO idea what they are talking about......We never had anything but the bluest skies and the hottest sun the whole day! It was GLORIOUS!!

Our day began early as the Reunion Committee (and a few extra classmates, thank goodness) gathered at Mark and Candy Manning's house around 9:30am to begin setting up....for a party that didn't start until Noon. I arrived around 9:45, and Ron Graham, Billy McGurk, and Mark were already done clearing out the upper garage and setting up the tables to hold all the food.

Susan Beth Boyts (Pangburn) made enough Baked Beans and Macaroni Salad to feed an army, with Vicky Cutlip Shaw's help. While Linda Harp (Engle) and I sliced buns, 'The Men', (Ron and Billy) had been put to work chopping and slicing onions, and forming the meat into Hamburger patties! Thanks, Susan Beth!! (Almost had to call Paramedics for Ron, though....he just can't be trusted with a sharp implement!! Thank goodness it was only a small wound.....)
Committee members all had jobs, and by the time the rest of the classmates began to arrive, things were pretty well organized.

Even though the party notice said that we would be eating at 4pm, Jay Gurnish, (who happens to be Mark's cousin, next door neighbor, and member of the Ellet class of '72), threw some coals on, and started the first round of cooking about Noon.

Shortly after that, Terry Dansby --another good friend of Mark's-- showed up to share the cooking.

Before I go any further, I want Jay and Terry to know that we appreciate their efforts. If not for them, some classmate would have been stuck doing the cooking, and would not have been able to enjoy the party as much. Thank You, Guys.

Oh, and who could forget Lemonade Joe?!?
Young Joe Cole, a member of the family that owns Cole's DriveThru at Massillon Rd (241) and St Rt 619, came and made fresh squeezed lemonade by the glass, all day long. Everyone who had some is STILL commenting that it was THE best lemonade ever tasted. I don't know if it was the hotness of the day, the freshness of the juice, or what, but they are right! That WAS some of THE best lemonade ever!

So many people came.....Mark and Candace's backyard was FULL!!!
(I counted over 55 people when we got around to taking a group pic as the day was beginning to turn into evening.... Hard telling how many people may have left by then.... We had husbands, wives, significant others, children, and even grandchildren!)

Most people brought their own chairs and all brought their own beverages. Everyone brought something good to eat, some bringing more than one dish, too.

We had a great time.

Some of the folks who came? Kevin and Carol Woods. Joyce VanHook Pierce. Eric and Luanne Pirogowicz. Sue Greening. Roger Chaplin and wife, Betsy. Dennis Denham. Mike Madonio and Diana Staubs Madonio. And, unable to come Friday, because he was flying in from Sierra Madre, California: Chris Keorber.

Karl Krausse, and wife, Laurie, went swimming....it was a hot enough day for it, that's for sure!

John and Mary Summers had their little 2yr old grandson, Jayden, with them, and John took him swimming alone in the pool. Everyone agreed: that was the sweetest sight of the day, watching Baby and GrandDad play in the water together.

We had three different types of raffle tickets....(all proceeds went directly into the class fund). First, we had an array of prizes, ranging from Blow-up Goodyear Blimps, to a ceramic cheese plate, to signed copies of Eric Pirogowicz' book: "Fifty...My One Year Journey. True Life Stories, Historical Facts, and Poems."

Then, we had a Miche Bag Raffle. These purses were provided by Vicky Cutlip (Shaw), a distributor for Miche, and Susan Beth Boyts (Pangburn), a Representative for Miche.
There were three different sizes of Miche bags....a mini, a classic, and a Mega bag.

And, finally we had a 50/50 raffle. Tickets were $1 apiece, and the Class Fund got half and the winning ticket holder got the other half of the pot. The 50/50 Prize was worth $125 and was won by Billy McGurk. He told me he had a daughter in need of some garage repairs and he was going to get them done for her with his winnings. What a good dad....

What a great weekend we had.

Before the Saturday picnic ended, we had a group discussion.
We all agreed that we are past the point in our lives where "formal wear" is something we need to feel we have had a good time.
We're more laid back and easy-going now.
We took a vote.
It was unanimous that we celebrate our 40th Class Reunion, in 2014...a mere three years from now...with another weekend just like we had for this momentous birthday.

The Reunion Committee will find a suitable venue for the Friday Night Social, and then Mark and Candace have offered their place once again for a big Class Picnic.

I will leave you with these thoughts, (before you click on the links below to look at the pics that were taken this weekend):

We are older, now....older than most of our teachers were when they taught us!

Most of us may get along just fine, while some of us can barely get along.

Some of us are still party animals, while the rest of us would rather take the grandkids, (and soon, the GREAT-grandkids) to just see the animals at the Zoo.

We are kinder, gentler souls.

We love and respect those in our lives with a deeper intensity than we were capable of 37 years ago.

I have been told by many people from other classes, and even other schools, that we are envied for our ability to get our class together so often. Well, we'll keep making them envious....

We rejuvenate friendships, we keep our love for each other strong and full.

We took a vow, apparently, at Graduation to never part for more time than was absolutely necessary because we have come back together regularly and faithfully.

We ARE the Ellet Class of 1974!!!!

And, since I have control here, and can say what I want.....I want to say, I love you all.......

Before I forget, I want to give thanks to Billy McGurk, Diana and Mike Madonio, and Craig Somerville for providing me with most of the photos you will see. Click on the links below to have a look.

Pictures from Friday, 08-12-11, are HERE!

Pictures from Saturday, 08-13-11, are HERE!

d-e b   09-12-11