Members of the class of 1948 gather to remember all the good times they have had together. From left to right (front row): Irene Miller, Pearl Kittleson, Pearl Ducklow, Rosella Wallsingham and Jeanette Timm. Back row: Grace Bailey, Ann and Ken Rudesill, Kent and Gayle Seifert. Note: Ken Rudesill is wearing his 1948 Spring Valley School sweater. Photo by Bill Bailey
EL PASO, WI - They were a jolly group, sitting around a large round table at the El Paso Bar last Tuesday, June 11, 2013. The drinks were soft, the coffee was hot, and the lunches were delicious as members of the Spring Valley High School Class of 1948 along with three spouses shared memories and had a laugh or two or three.
Pearl Ducklow from Spring Valley explained the gathering. "Our class has always gotten together for reunions, but about every year when Ken Seifert and his wife Gayle come up from Sebastian, Florida, we get as many local people together as we can." On Tuesday seven class members showed up.
Two people who came all the way from Two Harbors, Minnesota were Grace Bailey and her son Bill. They were there to honor Walter Bailey or "Booda" as he was affectionately known. Walter, husband to Grace and father to Bill and a member of the class of 1948 passed away in October of 2008.
"We were a very close class," said Seifert. "'Booda' always had the names, addresses and phone numbers of every class member." The list, which was started over 35 years ago, was kept current and came in very handy."Whenever we learned that someone was sick," explained Ducklow, "several of us would get on the phone, call up class members and ask them to send a card." And they could do that because of "Booda's" excellent record keeping.
"He kept our class together," said Pearl Kittleson, "but now Ken [Seifert] is doing a good job too."
Seifert called his fellow Spring Valley grads, "terrific." He added, "As a class, we always donated money over the years to the school's Alumni Scholarship. We would give money in memory of a classmate who died."
This group of classmates has been meeting for "mini-reunions" for the past 10 years, and there are no plans to stop these "spur of the moment" gatherings. "We get on the phone, make a few calls and whoever can come comes," said Ducklow.
As their 1948 yearbook "The Mirror" was being passed around, memories of "Booda's" newsletter called "The Rear View Mirror" came to light. "He sent it out once a year," explained Ducklow. "People contacted him and let him know what was going on with the people in our class." It was just one more way to keep the graduates in touch with each other.
While some classes have only sporadic reunions, the SVHS class of 1948 has never, not even once, missed a reunion. "We have them every five years," said Ken. For 65 years, members of the class have kept in touch-that requires effort on the part of everyone, but listening to the comfortable banter and the genuine laughter last Tuesday, it's easy to see that the effort is and will always be worth it.