St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SCFHS Class of '65 Reunion 2000

St Croix Falls Class of 65 Reunion July 1, 2000

Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm the proud remnants of the SCF class of 65 gathered to recall the joys and sorrows of their High School years. The smaller than usual group was offset by the increasing substantiality of the individual members. The afternoon started informally with snacks and visiting and was crowned by water balloon shelling of the emcee and the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" HS memory competition.

The author of this article interviewed each of the old timers. Summarized below are the truly remarkable achievements of the class members and some of their plans for the short futures they have left.

Tom Montgomery and his lovely wife Pam were there early as co-hosts and planners of this year’s reunion. It was agreed by all that the informal nature of the event was not due to weak planning on the part of Tom, Gary Harlander and Dan Woolson, but to their precociously perceptive insight into elderly people. They realized that rather than entertainment, the opportunity to relive the past, show pictures of the children and grandchildren and telling and re-telling stories was exactly what was really desired by the class members. Kudos to these wonderful gentlemen and their amazing sensitivity to the needs of the class(take note women-the men of 65 are truly modern men).

Tom has finally found out how to go back and improve his college record. This had been bothering him for 3 decades when he finally hit on the solution of becoming a computer consultant for a company that provides the computer systems and software to manage universities. He helps the university with the software. Currently he is doing this for the University of MN. He has found that his own college records were very much in error and has been able to correct them! He will invite us to his re-graduation magna summa mucho cum laude next spring (when he decides which college it will be at).

Gary Harlander was their early with elegantly designed signs to direct the traffic efficiently and quickly the the reunion site. He also wrote the liability insurance policy for the gathering(see him in Rice Lake, WI for all of your insurance needs-right on Main Street). The cost of only $850 for the policy (liability up to $1000) was covered by the free-will donation box on the table (note: if you did not see this and failed to contribute your share-just send it directly to Russ Hanson, 15937 County 27 Blvd, Pine Island, MN-55963 and I will see that it gets into the right hands). As master of ceremonies, host of the game show and judge of the athletic competitions he was truly masterful. All of his classmates were excited by his status of being the first male of the class of 65 to actually have body jewelry (although the rumor was that the jewelry was a cleverly disguised hearing aid). His new dental work was also widely approved as it gave him a more forward-looking appearance.

Dan Woolson never arrived. The general view was that he was worried that his status of "most times married" might not hold up. We thank him for his help in planning!

Duane Anderson attended his first ever class reunion. He also won the prize for having traveled the longest distance-coming from Buena Vista, Colorado. His career there as a cowboy, saddle maker, hunting and dude ranch guide was by far the most colorful of the gathered friends. His saddle making career and work inside and outside of state and federal institutions certainly give prison rehabilitation programs a good name. There were some problems understanding him with his Scandinavian cowboy accent, however it was agreed by all that his cowboy "Uff Da" brought to mind pictures of a cowboy eating lutefisk.

Jennifer Mueller (insert married name here) came in somewhat late. In cruising the Cushing establishments of entertainment she had run into Marlin Olson, class of 67 and as soon as they were able to drive had come on to the reunion. Jennifer was so excited to see her old classmates. She proudly showed them her AARP card, the latest of her marvelous accomplishments and achievements since graduating. She and Diana Brown were the "B" team in the millionaire competition of facts from the 1965 Sentinel (they choked on who was the senior class president?). Jennifer has been an important support person for her fellow women classmates as they lead their wildly interesting and riotous lives, she provides the calming stable influence that they so often need when they come down! Jennifer regaled us with a story of when she attended the class of 64 reunion and Gary Loudenback claimed NOT TO KNOW HER.

Diana Brown Whyte was there early, although her recently retired husband only came at the end of the day as a designated driver. She was wonderfully enthusiastic about her son’s recent marriage the excitement of making friends with her new in-laws. She is teaching the third grade in the Milwaukee area as she has for many years and has her sights on retiring in a few more years. Diana has not, like some elementary school teachers (you know who you are), gotten into the habit of talking to her peers as if they were little children. She keeps it fully on an early teen level and often soars above. Diana was on the losing side of the millionaire contest when she and Jennifer failed "What is Tom Montgomery’s last name?" The team never recovered momentum after this. Cheers from the crowd failed to motivate them, as the cheers were totally unorganized and spontaneous, causing confusion, incoherence and general disarray. They certainly were not done this way in HS when "WE" were seniors

Donna Ogilvie Witasek was there early with her first husband Tom. They live in the Winneconne, WI area where she is teaching PE in the elementary school with 6 classes of exciting and enthusiastic children. Donna and fellow cheerleader Sandra Lucken Berg were overheard discussing golf with ever decreasing scores as the afternoon progressed. Donna and her partner won the water balloon toss competition (although her partner was heard to mutter-"it just the same as the 60s I never did break anyone’s balloon then either"). Donna was very disappointed that none of the teachers from SCF were there, as she had brought along 3 test papers that she thought she could get a total of 6 extra points and change that one miserable A to an A+ in Mr Bilderback’s 8th grade class. (If the author may be allowed to reminisce: Many a time I have longed to be back in 4th period band and to hear the melodious saxophones set off from the squawking clarinets, the gastric drum rumbles, the mis-tongued brass and general mayhem with Mr Bilderback smiling in particular at the Tenor Saxophones whilst scowling at the whole rest of the band).

Sandra Lucken Berg traveled from Hudson to her alternate office in the Grantsburg area and then to the reunion. As a businessperson with her own public relations firm she has found an occupation that wonderfully suits her gregarious nature. Of course, she did have to lobby the class of 65 for the new casino in Hudson so that the travel, entertainment and hours were billable and properly tax deductible. We were treated to the wonderful amount of information she has immediately available on fellow classmates and our old neighbors. The ever-thoughtful Sandra says "a dossier on each of you may come in handy in the event you return to the area and become active in any organizations".

Gail Felland Felland attended her 6th consecutive reunion. She surveyed the attendees with the question "So when are you going to retire and what are you going to do?" Sadly, she has no idea of what she might do while retired, thus the effort to search out the best ideas of her peers (we can’t all be leaders, but Gail certainly is a gracious follower). Gail has lived in Minnesota for many years and has adopted the MN dream of the "Cabin at the Lake in Wisconsin". She spends her holidays and many weekends on Cedar Lake where she loves company. However, be gracious and call a few hours before coming on any prolonged visit to stay with her (work: 612-883-5820-Fax 612-883-5880) west of Osceola on M.

Gordy Peterson continues to be the person with appearance that is least altered with time. How he manages to maintain his slim build and healthy appearance is a secret that the rest of us would certainly like his plastic surgeon and barber to pass on to ours. Gordy works as a carpenter doing all kinds of construction and remodeling. As modest and unassuming as always he specifically insisted that I make no mention to those of us with cottages or homes in the area that he does high quality work for reasonable prices and gives free estimates.

George Gullickson is a faithful attendee of the reunions. He has worked as a computer engineer at Medtronic for more than 2 decades. However, cutbacks in medical insurance and Medicare funding and the ensuing problems at Medtronic have forced him to take up farming the 75 year old Gullickson farm on Bass Lake to support him still working full time at his chosen profession. George and his lovely wife Marcia won the contest for the fastest draw for retrieving pictures of their children (although there was a very close competition for this prize with Diana and her wedding pictures). George is very much the same in spirit and appearance as he was in HS except for being two feet taller and 100 lbs heavier on a ruggedly strong frame.

Don Hoag and wife came early and as they live in the Dresser area were up to date on the local scene. Don has over three decades in at Anderson Window where he is the supervisor of a very stable shop. He has such excellent rapport with his workers that the newest one has been there for 23 years (or was that 3 years that seemed like 23 years?) Don won the prize for most grandchildren and spends much of his spare time babysitting them in their new house. The glass ceiling that some people run into in their work certainly hasn’t hurt Don’s career.

Tim Nagler was also a visitor from a distance, coming from Indianapolis to visit his classmates. Tim was a short time HS student in SCF leaving a few months into his freshman year for the wicked and worldly Amery HS. As he attended his first 8 years with the Town kids, he knew them well and provided a focal point for those who still retain early memories. Tim was treated poorly by the master of ceremonies in the millionaire quiz by being selected on the A team with Sandra Lucken in a futile attempt to aide the B team. Tim having, left in 1961, would be very unlikely to have any chance of answering questions from the 1965 Sentinel! We apologize for such a gross injustice, however it is likely that behind the scenes this is just more revenge from the Town kids for having a father that saw farther ahead them their fathers! (for further information see Polk Co. court case Nagler vs the SCF Board of Education on foolish additions to obsolete buildings). When asked how he moved from being and English teacher to running a construction company, Tim compared diagramming sentences and grammar constructions to reading blueprints and building houses. A marvelously talented individual!

Russ Hanson cheerfully accepted the responsibility of coordinating the planning for the 40th reunion in 2006. He is planning on getting help from the other members of his class through the use of the Internet and e-mail (that is except for Jennifer who thought that she might have only B-mail). Russ has changed little from his HS days except that he proudly shows his college BS degree. Having started with a MN governor-like body he has continued to enhanced it in the over the 23(base 16) years since he graduated 1st(base 12 rounded off) in his class of 81(base 10) students.His wife Margo was elected honorary chair of the menopause discussion group(this was a high honor as she was not even a class member). Russ continues to maintain his cutting edge not only in technology but in his whole life. His wife assured fellow classmates that he was certainly as edgy and cutting as ever with his friends. As a hobby Russ began building a house at the time of the 30th (base 10) reunion. He expects to complete it in the year 2000(base 11).

A visitor from the class of 67, Marlon Olson came to share the day with the idols of his youth. His adoration for the upperclassmen was still evident with his language sprinkled with "sirs" and "madams" to show his respect for his elders. He traveled even farther than Duane, coming from Alaska to worship at the feet of the upperclassmen and women. A gracious spirit of condescendence was evidenced by his superiors as they included him in the discussions and reminiscences as if he were their equal. It was agreed that underclassmen showing the proper respect as exemplifed by Marlon would be welcome at future reunions. Thank you for attending Marlon!