Messages from Classmates


If you would like to include a message to the other members of the class of 1966, please email Steve or Susan Ward at sward12@swbell.net, and we will add it to this page.







 



 

June 15, 2016 - Jean Stahle Howard writes:
I just cleaned out my "in" basket and found this note reminding me of our 50th reunion. Since I am probably the only person with a kid still in high school I have to admit that I will probably be attending a baseball travel team play off game that weekend. Hopefully Max will make it to the MLB and then we can meet in St. Louis. I will be sure to let you all know.

Here's to you all and do have a wonderful 50th reunion. Please give my love to all and I am sorry to miss this event.

 

 

Best to you all. 

 

Jean Stahle Howard

From Bill DeArmond    Summer  2016

Bill and Rosemary (Perryman) DeArmond will celebrate their 50
th Wedding Anniversary on December 27th, 2016. Both are 1966 graduates of Webster High School.  We were married shortly after Christmas when Bill was home on leave having just graduated from Army paratroop school in Fort Benning, Georgia.

 Bill’s first assignment was to the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky while Rosemary stayed in St. Louis to work at Brown Shoe Company in Clayton. After only seven months with the 101st Bill received orders for Vietnam as a replacement troop for the 173rd Airborne Bridge; report date 23 September 1967. The photograph of Bill and Rosemary was taken about September 20th,1967 the day  Bill left for Vietnam.  The photograph of Rosemary is one that I carried with me to Vietnam. 

The last photograph is a more recent church picture of us taken in 2014. Speaking for myself I was just a kid when we got married, and had no idea how lucky I was to have Rosemary. But when I got home from Vietnam in September 1968 I looked far more soberly at everything, and with Rosemary’s help. . . I attended college, and became a teacher; first in Webster, and then in Rockwood.  Rosemary worked as a police dispatcher, and later became a court clerk in Ballwin. We raised two wonderful sons, and they have given us six grandsons, and one granddaughter. We are both retired, and live in West St. Louis county.

Am wondering how many other pair of 1966 WGHS alumni are husband and wife?

 

Pat Corrigan writes from the West Coast:

If you're heading for San Francisco, check out my book "100 Things to Do in San Francisco Before You Die."  Wrote it with another professional journalist who also lives here and we cover some 230 attractions, including top "must-see" spots and neighborhood treasures as well. Read about it on amazon.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/100thingsSF/     thanks!
May 28, 2016 - Bob Whiteside writes:

Remembering Gary E. Smith, Webster Groves High School Class of 1966 killed in Vietnam May 14, 1967

 

Gary grew up just around the corner, and down one block from where I lived in Rock Hill. He transferred in from Vianney around the time we started our sophomore year so that would be the Fall of 1963. Gary made friends easily in the neighborhood as he was a nice fun loving guy with a great sense of humor. He and I were friends all through high school, and he was one of the last people “on the block” I spoke with before leaving for the service on June 10th, 1966.
 

We didn’t stay in touch, and I didn’t even know he had gone from the Marine reserves on to active duty until I learned of his death in May of 1967.  My C.O. at Fort Campbell gave me a leave to come home, and Phil Wedel and I attended the funeral.  Tom Fischer told me a few years ago that Gary’s mother came to a reunion 15 or 20 years ago.  She told Tom that Gary had been adopted. Gary never told me that so I suspect that he may not have even known. . . Gary Smith was a good friend who I think of often.  He and many others left this world far too soon.  My mother put the two newspaper articles and funeral card in a scrap book that I found after she passed away.

Gary E. Smith, U.S. Marine Corps      Born June 14, 1947    Died May 14, 1967

                                                                                                               Semper Fi,  Bill DeArmond

Pat Corrigan writes:

Woke up at 4 a.m. yesterday thinking about the reunion and realized I wasn't thinking; I was writing!


 

Packing Memories for a 50th High School Reunion

 
Ann and Ginny. I will see them. Susan. No – Susan won’t be there. She has early-onset Alzheimer’s and now lives in a memory care unit. Peggy has made extended trips to the mainland twice this year from her home on the Big Island and will not attend.
 
Carl. Will he be there? As an adult, I bought candy from him when he worked at an upscale chocolatier, and when he transferred to a bed store in the same mall, I bought a bed. I hope I will see Carl. 
 
As kids, Carl and I once spent an evening with half a dozen other kids draping toilet paper over trees and shrubs in the yards of a fancy neighborhood. “TPing,” as it was called, was a precursor to filling lawns with plastic pink flamingoes. Maybe that morphed into the much crueler cyber bullying?  
 
All this is what comes to mind as I pack to travel from San Francisco to St. Louis for my 50th high school reunion.
 
 
Tempus fugit
 
Fifty years! How can that be? “It is what it is,” my 87-year old aunt said, laughing at my amazement. She knows more about the passing of time than I do.
 
Jim will be there. I didn't know Jim well in high school. Oh, I knew who he was – he was president of the senior class, but more than 600 people were in my class. For 46 years, I had no idea what had happened to him. Then four years ago, I got an email from Dean, the woman Jim married. She was one year behind us, and Dean and I had become friends in journalism class.
 
Dean wrote to say that Jim was now president of a seminary in the Bay Area, and when she learned I live in San Francisco, she wanted to reconnect. The three of us met for dinner, and have continued to do so. Plus, Jim directed me to the seminary’s marketing department, and now I write for them from time to time. 
 
At a barbecue at Jim and Dean’s in July, another member of our high school class and I were on a mission. Mary and I had learned that Jim was not planning to attend the reunion because of schedule conflicts at work, but we were determined to convince him to make the trip. We succeeded. Now I can’t wait to tell people at the reunion that our class president bakes a mean strawberry-rhubarb pie.
 
Carol, a classmate I have stayed in touch with, has decided not to drive from her second home in Michigan for the reunion party Friday night or the picnic later in the weekend. She avoids all large, loud crowds, she says. Plus, the idea of sitting outside at a picnic in the Midwest over Labor Day weekend gives many people pause – and that was true before climate change, too.
 
Carol and I helped organize the 10th reunion for our class. Our research back then revealed that half the Class of 1966 still lived in the same suburb where we went to school or in the neighboring suburb, which in high school was considered a rival. The others were spread all over the world. One woman lived in a tree house in Tahiti. Sitting in St.Louis, I was envious!
 
Memories of reunions past
 
I skipped the 20th reunion, which was held at a country club – not my natural habitat. The 30th was a blast. I remember dancing the night away in a big group that included Ronnie. He’s gone now. The 40threunion was the best yet, held on the top floor of a popular brew pub. I remember laughing a lot. 
 
There was some sadness, too. At that reunion I learned that Don had died. His ex-wife, also a classmate, told me. To her, it was old news, but I was shaken by it. My first date was with Don, Ann and Don’s best friend, Charlie, when we were 14. The four of us took three buses to see a matinee showing of the movie “West Side Story.” Soon after, Don bought me an inexpensive ring with my birthstone, a gift that upset my mother. “It’s just a ring,” I said, trying to calm her. I have it still. 
 
Another classmate named Don will be at the reunion. I remember many great things about him, but especially that from time to time we would take off across a crowded room in a spontaneous polka. Those were the days! I also will see Tina, another dear friend I have kept in touch with over the years.
 
Other classmates come to mind, people who have not been located by the reunion committee. Some were quirky in high school, and seemed headed for interesting lives. I am sorry I won’t see them at the party, but maybe their lives are so interesting that they choose not to be in touch.
 
Though I had good friends, I didn’t much like high school. My family moved from the city to the suburbs when I was in sixth grade, so I was always an outsider, on the fringe among the kids who had been together since kindergarten. That feeling is difficult to forget, especially when you also are misidentified in your yearbook. (Bob, a classmate who since has died, wrote on the photo to make me feel better.) Also, at graduation the principal mispronounced my name.
 
Writing to the rescue 
 
Journalism saved me. In ninth grade, I was on the junior high school newspaper staff. The student editor (Alan -- he'll be at the reunion) may recall that was the year I decided to be a reporter when I grew up. Later, I was on staff of the high school paper. My senior year, I also wrote for a neighborhood weekly paper and for a teen page in the St. Louis Globe Democrat, one of the city’s two daily newspapers at the time.
 
One day, a story I wrote was published on the front page of the Globe Democrat for all of metropolitan St. Louis to see. A CBS news team had come to my high school to film “16 in Webster Groves,” a documentary about teens in an upper-class suburb. When the show aired, I wrote for the Globe about the students’ reactions. 
 
For decades, the documentary was shown in sociology classes at universities across the country, and people in Webster Groves still debate to what degree the film misrepresented the students. I quit talking about the show years ago. At the time “16 in Webster Groves” aired, I was 17 in Shrewsbury (a working-class suburb in the Webster Groves School District) and I was busy looking ahead, excited about getting ready to leave for college. Maybe the subject will come up at the 50th reunion. Maybe not.
 
Last week, a friend in San Francisco asked, “Are you nervous about going to the reunion?” I am not. It’s a party. We 68-year-olds will celebrate being alive 50 years after our graduation and enjoy our time together. It will be fun!
 
From Carol Shankland Porter:
 
 

Greetings, Class of ‘66!

 

Our 50th high school reunion is coming up next weekend. I won’t be there. Not because I don’t want to see old friends -- I do! -- but I plan to enjoy the experience vicariously through their eyes as I chillax in my Michigan hideaway. Still, the anticipation builds. Already some of us have blogged about the reunion, great posts by Patricia and Ann. Their excitement is off the charts and it’s catching.

    In French, the word souvenir means to remember. One of my best memories, or souvenirs, of WGHS is the time I spent in a cappella choir. Because who could forget Miss Rep -- that legendary combination of cheerleader, tyrant and musical perfectionist. Remember how she’d beam when we got it right? And how she’d holler “LOUSY!” when we got it wrong? Remember making those beautiful harmonies, the sense of tradition/legacy, the drilling on stage presence and the intense bonding we felt, not only with our fellow singers there on the risers, but also with those from Esther Replogle’s 30-odd preceding classes of choirs?

    Here is one particular memory of mine. Occasionally, in rotation with Alan and Suzanne, I served as choir accompanist. *  Once I conquered my initial terror, this became a quite enjoyable experience, in part because it gave me the best seat in the house. I can see it all now: there in the choir room, the studio piano sits behind Miss Rep. When I take my place at the bench, both of us are facing the choir. Even our room is special, with tiered  seating whose uppermost row tucks into a wide, south-facing bay window that floods the room with light. I see you, fellow singers -- sopranos and basses to my left, altos and tenors to my right. Okay, here we go: “This is a Great Country.” Ooom-pa, ooom-pa, ooom-pa...so far so good. Whoops--something in that passage is amiss. Miss Rep signals me to stop playing and just give opening pitches, so she can listen for the error. She starts you up again, this time sans piano.

  Then comes my lucky moment, my souvenir. Briefly idle, I look out at all your faces -- engaged, shining, even -- and I realize that I am seeing our best, a mosaic of youth, joy, energy, eagerness to take on the world. Even at the callow age of 17, ignorant of all that is to come, I know I’m witnessing something very special that will follow me through the decades.

  One of those things to come, of course, is the explosion of technology, which among other phenomena allows anyone to shoot an instantaneous video of a high school choir, press a button, and bingo! Everybody can see what the choir looks like when singing. A commonplace occurrence.

    But back then we couldn’t do that. We knew how it felt to sit in that room and unite through music, but only Miss Rep and a few others in rehearsal knew the marvel of our faces when we sang. I believe the sight drove her forward. I know it did that for me. I have always been grateful that I had the the good fortune of watching you, my friends, my singers-in-arms. Thank you for the perfect souvenir. All these years I’ve been able to re-une with you just by calling up that memory.

    My sincerest best wishes to everyone in the class of ‘66.                             

                                                  

  Carol Shankland Porter                                                              

 

* I’ve written about a cappella choir before, in my blog titled Mooring Fever (see “Don’t Shoot the Piano Player,” October 9, 2015). Also about the filming of “Sixteen in Webster Groves.” (“16 Behind the Scene: How a Community Was Leveled in Sixty Minutes,” February 19, 2016).

 

You can read all that and more at :

http://mooringfever.blogspot.com

From Susan Walker Kane:
 
Dear Susan and Steve...or Charlesworth n Ward as a throwback,
Honestly, only old people and blue haired ladies have 50th reunions and worse yet wedding anniversaries of 46 years!  I suppose on some level we qualify, but not ready for sunset years just yet...too many sunrises in the future!

Every time one of the emails popped regarding this reunion, my mind wandered to the amazing, carefree times we had.  So many moments of undiluted joy and silliness as we struggled to reach those "grown-up" years.  Now with a lifetime behind, we are enjoying the lifetime yet ahead.  But before I meander down that path too far, we will be in Pittsburgh over Labor Day weekend so regretfully, the reunion weekend won't work for the Kane's. Our oldest daughter's home,  with husband and 4 kids has been our traditional landing point for Labor Day, and this year is no different with a football game, soccer, gymnastics and tai kwon do for the grandparents to watch and proudly be amazed at the talent and gifts we seem to have produced. We have 3 other little people as well. Our son In Chicago has 2 boys and our daughter in Milwaukee has 5 year old Luke, youngest of our crew.  We spend a lot of time between cities to be a part of their lives and feel lucky to do so.

Everyone was home in July so the house was full to the brim finding beds for all 15 of us.  We keep talking about downsizing,  but for now we 're here as we moved my now 89 year old mom to be closer to us 3 years ago.  She's living in an independent community but still relies on us for some help.  She's adjusted and would hate to ask her to move again, so here we stay.

We left our full time work 2 years ago and have reveled in being, well, just being.  I am a born morning slug and not rising at 5:30 is heaven. We've traveled beyond the 3 cities of grandchildren, kept busy with multiple hobbies, projects and things we've always wanted to do but never found the time for before.  Health remains good and the gym beckons no matter how hard I try not to hear its call.  All in all, it's been an incredibly blessed life for Susan Walker.  Our children and their spouses bring us untold joys as we watch with great mirth and satisfaction as they work to raise little people into productive, caring, compassionate human beings.  It's hard to ask for more.
 
I'll be with the class of '66 in spirit Labor Day weekend sending my love with hugs to all,
Walker....as there were so many Susans!!
 


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