Class of 1961      Merrillville High School 

It's a Pirate's life for me!

50th Reunion Memories

I believe most of us had a great time catching up with old friends during the reunion weekend.  I've posted photos on the "In Memoriam & Other Photos" page - if anyone else  has photos they took at the reunion that you would like to share, please email them to - I will be happy to post them, we can't have too many photos.  

Our first chance to meet up with classmates was on Friday afternoon as we checked into the hotel.  The pizza party at Buddy & Pal's in Crown Point on Friday night was a great chance to catch up with friends in a casual, relaxed atmosphere - lot's of fun for all.  

As we dragged ourselves out of bed on Saturday morning many of us met for breakfast at the hotel - before we knew it, it was time to go to the high school for the tour.  Bruce Woods (MHS '59) did a wonderful job as our tour guide.  After the MHS Tour we spent some time at the Merrillville Historical Society Museum which is located in the original primary school building on "old 30".  I know some of our classmates were disappointed that the fire escape slide had been removed.  We would have had a difficult time getting certain people out of there if they had been able to play on the slide again, although they probably wouldn't have missed the reprimands they received in grade school.

After the nostalgia of the tours we had some time to relax at the hotel while members of the committee and others worked on getting the banquet room ready for our reunion dinner on Saturday night.  Thanks to everyone who brought pictures and other memorabilia for display - it was wonderful to remember all those times.

Dick Stiener was our Master of Ceremonies - following is the welcome he prepared for the class.

"When the committee asked me to welcome you on their behalf, I thought about what this evening means to us, jotted down those thoughts and would like to share them with you.

We are who we are today for a number of reasons:

The gifts we were blessed with at birth; also, the values instilled in us by our parents and family and re-enforced by our teachers, coaches and principals; additionally, what we learned in class and the process of learning instilled by our teachers; and finally, what we learned from each other ? a socialization process.

Many of us were in school together at Merrillville and Ainsworth for twelve years, but all of us were in school somewhere for twelve years.  We learned how to interact with people.  We learned what was funny and what was not; which words or phrases hurt and which did not.  We grew up together; we learned how to laugh and to cry together.

So we are who we are today because of gifts we were blessed with at birth and the process of learning and interaction with each other through school and our families.

I believe an important part of being here tonight is to recognize that process, to appreciate it, and to celebrate with, and to express gratitude for, those who journeyed with us.

So let us begin.  Let us begin the process of recognizing and appreciating the positive impact we have had on each other.

First of all, let?s recognize and appreciate the impact our teachers have had on all of us.  Let?s do so by introducing those teachers present this evening:

Jim and Grace Bovard

Robbie Bothwell

Don Patz  (and Menzie)

Lafey Armontrout

Max Hutchison  (and Clarisse) 

I suppose the impact these teachers have had on our lives can be measured by the number of us who became teachers.  So could we ask all of our classmates who became teachers to stand. 

I'm sure all of you have personal reflections that you would like to share with us about your teachers.  You will have an opportunity to do so later this evening during the Shared Memories part of the program.  I?ll go to each table and ask people if they would like to share a memory with us.  So be thinking about what you would like to say about a teacher, a classmate, or an event."

After an invocation by Ron Wilson and a toast by Dan Demmon, we enjoyed dinner prepared by the staff at the Hilton Garden Inn.  At the conclusion of dinner Dick conducted the "Shared Memories" part of the program by taking a microphone to each table, giving any classmates who cared to an opportunity to share their memories from school. Many amusing stories were shared - giving us all a different insight into what various "activities" were a part of our school experience.

On Sunday morning we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel before saying farewell to our friends until we have the opportunity to share memories again.

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