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Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2015

High School class reunites in Storm Lake after 70 years

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Friends made in high school are often forever - the Storm Lake High School Class of 1938 can attest to that.

Seven members of the class gathered in Storm Lake Friday and Saturday and shared memories. There are 22 class members remaining of the 93 that graduated from the building that is now South Elementary.

Included in the group were Jack Spooner and Keith Pierce, who both reside still in Storm Lake and Virginia (Voyles) Freeman, Fonda - who claim to be "charter" members; starting school together and finishing together. Other friends who came to the weekend gathering were Jack Prince, Sioux City; Frances (Hinde) Bean, Storm Lake; Helen (Imlay) Sliefert, Storm Lake; and Marianna (Elk) Meier, Waterloo.

"We had an outstanding class," said Sliefert, pointing out that the football team during their senior year went undefeated for the year with only one team scoring on the Tornadoes, Lakes Conference Champions.

The basketball team were also conference champs that year. The high school orchestra members went on to the national contest. The Class of 1938 was the last class to wear the pink and green school colors; a new coach came in the following year and changed the colors to green and white. Three couples paired off as high school sweethearts and married from the class.

Bean recalls the organization of the school newspaper and the contest held to name it. Hi-Breeze was the name selected and the name still is used today. Bean was one of the writers and she was thrilled, she said, to see her stories in print. The Hi-Breeze appeared in the Register and Tribune; it still appears in the Pilot-Tribune.

"We've always been pretty close knit," said Meier. Spooner added, "We had a lot of good people in our class and a lot of good friends. We never did fight."

Many of the class of 1938 went off to World War II; in fact four of those in attendance - Spooner, Pierce, Prince and Meier. Two classmates went off to war and never returned. The names of Otto Boetcher and Theodore Walrod, infact, are listed on the Buddy Monument at Chautauqua Park.

School was much different than it is today. There were no buses and there were no hot lunches. Kids were required to go home for lunch; they were given over an hour to do so. Sliefert recalls that she was considered "a country girl." She lived on Cornstalk Avenue which is where the present Northwestern Drive sits.

She allowed herself a half hour to walk to school. One very cold morning, she said, she stopped off at the post office, where Pages Bakery is now located, to warm up. She noticed the thermometer said 22 below zero! She knew it was cold, she said, but not that cold. After warming up she went on to school only to discover that school was called off. The walk home was just as cold.

Girls' sports were not played except in the intramural. "Yes, we played in our bloomer gym suits," Sliefert laughed.

School dances were held often, right after school. Records provided Big Band music. It was a social event and many students stayed for the fun.

For more entertainment, she said, high school kids went to the Cobblestone to hear live bands. "The Cob," she said, "was known as 'Sin City.'"

Normal training was offered at the school which allowed girls to take part in classes that would allow them to be country school teachers when they completed the course work and earned their high school diplomas. Sliefert and Freeman took advantages of the classes and both taught for a short while following their schooling.

The class began meeting every 10 years and later each five years. They have more recently made it an annual event and they joked that now that they are in their late 80s that they should meet each month! They are proud to say they believe they have had more class reunions than any other class in school history.

"We all feel so fortunate that we are still around," said Bean. "We all feel that we also got a great education at Storm Lake High School."

The classmates have definitely grown up together and grown old together. It has been a fun journey, keeping up with each other's families and sharing in the many joys and sorrows with each other. Many of them, in fact, talk on the telephone and e-mail one another when they can't see each other.

The classmates decided over their latest visit that maybe meeting more often isn't a crazy idea afterall. Those that can, will gather in Storm Lake each month.

Rah, rah for the Tornadoes!



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