Monday, May 3, 2021

Milton Who?

Yeah, I know. It's been a while. I've had my reasons, as you'll see, so read on. 

It's been a crappy year. I can't think of any year (even my crappy college years) that was worse.

It wasn't just the sheer helplessness we all felt; waiting for the other shoe to drop; the loneliness of not being able to see loved ones; watching the evening news as the death count kept going higher. I started comparing the death count to the populations of major American cities and tried to imagine everyone in that town dropping dead at once just so that I could come to grips with the magnitude of the losses. I was really getting morbid and it took a lot from Linda to kick my ass out of that mode. I'm still working on it quite honestly.

This past October, Linda and I finally got up the nerve to pick a place where the infection rate wasn't quite so high because we, like the rest of us, just needed to get out of the house. We decided to go to Cleveland and visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We were on the road and just north of Columbus when we got a call from my sister that my 97 year old father had been stricken with a heart attack and that things didn't look good and that we needed to divert to McLean VA. So in October I ended up losing my dad. But that wasn't all.

During the past couple years, we kept losing Reitz classmates. We lost Bill Burgdorf, Roger Cox, Paul Ensinger, Gene Helfert, Myrtle Sutton Hibbs, Austin Sammons, Bob Wolf, Brenda Cosby Gatewood, Bill Shaeffer,  Jim Nunn, Jerry Purdue, and we lost Sam Still's wife, Brenda. 

Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse, Linda and I contracted Covid-19 in mid-January of
2021 (we always do everything together); we were lucky, only getting mild symptoms (mild like getting run over by a hit and run driver and then someone driving a spike into your brain then having an elephant sit on your chest for a few weeks and then having the stamina of a 2 year old for another month or two). I spent an observation day in the hospital but we're above ground looking at the sky and that means everything.

As gruesome as this all was, things are looking up. Evansville is opening up slowly (maybe a little too quickly for my still masked taste). Linda and I are now vaccinated. We're seeing our Great granddaughter regularly. The 100th WSNC Fall Festival is on, as is the Henderson Handy Blues Festival. And Reitz is going to have a graduation this year which, if outdoors, we will be attending to watch our grandson get his diploma. 

I am almost ready to clap my alcohol gel-chapped hands at the slow upward progress of vaccination numbers, and the pandemic cloud seems to be breaking up. Did I mention that 2022 is going to see our 55th anniversary reunion next Fall ( don't jump the gun - not this fall, but the next one.) We will be announcing planning meetings later on this year and collecting ideas for next year. We've got plenty of time but we always want to do things a little different every time and next year will be no different. With any luck we'll be hugging and shaking hands and making merry. I so look forward to it. In the meanwhile, send us your new email addresses, change of addresses, and new contact phone numbers to make sure that you don't miss a thing as they develop. 

One thing this year definitely taught us is that time is fleeting and we never know what the Fates have in store for us. I witnessed and tasted mortality this year, and it was bitter. Whatever it is, do it now. Don't wait to say it; say it now.


So folks, I'm back from the edge of the abyss and I hope this finds you and yours in good health and good spirits. Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Other Countries Heard From

Hi folks. Yes, it's been a while and while I've been honey-doing for Linda and doing my best to corrupt the youth of Mt. Vernon, there have been some doings on FB, including new and recent activity from Billy Beale, Mike Derrington, Barbara Cappy, Judy Kay Moore, and Myrtle Englert. So it's time for me to crack my arthritic knuckles and get to blogging.

By now you probably already know about the passing of Pam Fogle Irwin, Darlene Hines Barnes, Dana Sharp, Carolyn Becker, Clarence (Gene) Helfert, and Steve Schnarr. Also of note was the passing of Eddie Merritt, and Jack McKendree (who our Daniel Wertz classmates will remember)

This month also marks the somewhat anticlimactic Reitz 100th birthday celebration marked by a historical presentation by Reitz history star teacher Jon Carl (he also wrote a book published by MT Publications which is really quite good) and a beer crawl. Big Blue Boosters also took the money that was raised for the celebration and will be overseeing the building of entry gates to adorn the school entrances once they get the blessing of EVSC.

On a more immediate birthday celebration, we are cooking up plans for a 70th birthday celebration in October of this coming year (2019). Nothing fancy, probably at Howell Shelter (after such a great event on the Friday before the 50th reunion). Hey, the Class of 1967 never misses an opportunity to plan for good food, good company, and building great memories. Again, we'll try to coordinate the timing with the Westside Nut Club Fall Festival so out of town classmates can come to the birthday bash and do a twofer while they're here. As long as dessert is included, I'm all in. More details to come as the plans take on more reality and we actually have a skull session with the Reunion Committee.








Monday, October 23, 2017

A Reflection on a Very Successful Reunion


It's been a few weeks since the F.J. Reitz Class of 1967 held its 50th reunion. After nearly every event that we have had a part in organizing, I know I usually Monday morning quarterback the event, dissecting the positives and negatives and begin a list of things not to do again or definitely repeat for next time. This time I deliberately held back my natural tendencies (well, alright, the foot surgery had something to do with it but that's just a minor distraction) and delayed my critique till this week.

In general, I've concluded that Reunion Committees as a rule, overthinks everything. Give people a place to meet, a place to sit, a decent meal and plenty of time to talk, they will consider the event a success. It's only the Reunion Committee that noodles over details that in the big picture will not make or break the event.

And the single most important thing? That everyone feel invited and welcome. Let us not forget that our involvement with the reunion began with one powerful impetus. You've got a really stubborn classmate who was determined to find and contact everyone. EVERYONE. That is the heart of the matter, plain and simple. Once you've been contacted, it's no one's fault if you've become reclusive over the years. Just like rogue nations, there are reasons that such things happen and a reunion committee invitation is not going to make a difference one way or another if you've been becoming isolated over a 25 year period. Based on my experiences with my own high school some of which I have related to you over the years, I know that a 35% participation rate is really high for as many years as we've been out of school. So I'm delighted if we get over a 125 or so classmates to come to every event. It's not always the same people just because of life. It's called life, and life happens!

Well, life continues to happen and the Reunion Committee is already plotting and scheming our next get together. With the success of the Friday night pork party, we're hearing talk of a 70th birthday party for the class. We may even serve birthday cake, but without candles. Burning down the Bishea building just wouldn't do, now would it? Planning it for around the Fall Festival again would be great, wouldn't it? Needless to say, we'll be meeting and sending out invites when the time comes.

Here's a picture of the room all decorated just before we left for a rest on the morning before the reunion. I was sitting here speculating about older classes who have far smaller attendance than we do simply because of the nature of age and mortality. I know we're a long way from that but it does remind one why it's important that we do this as often as we can.

So here I am sitting in front of my computer and Linda tells me that she had just heard that Max Harth passed away in Switz City. Max went to Cynthia Heights and was apparently one of those people who had been in poor health for many years and who I was destined never to meet. I immediately thought of the picture of the empty reunion room, but I also thought about all the new classmates I was able to meet this time, like Tim McMahon, and Terry Williams, and Angela Hempen and so many others. I haven't given up hope that I will continue to meet new classmates yet, next time, in two years and two years from now I know that I will still have the same lingering regret about not having had the time to speak with each of you. It's definitely not because I think so much of myself; rather it is because there is too little of me to go 'round. That certainly goes for everyone on the Reunion Committee with their responsibilities, but it applies to all the rest of us too. See ya in two years if not sooner.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

It's Reunion Time

The time is drawing down for the 50th Reunion of the FJ Reitz Class of 1967!

So here it is in a nutshell:

FRIDAY September 29, 2017: The Warm-up at Howell Shelter 5:pm-10pm

An informal get together, a prequel to the following night featuring BBQ Pork Butts prepared by Bob Willis. All ya gotta do is show up with either a covered dish, or 2 liters and snacks or a dessert. It's pot luck and a lot of chat. And it's free. That's right. It costs nada, nil, zilch, zero, courtesy of the Reunion Committee that has been wise with your class funds (if we don't say so ourselves) to provide for this cooker extravaganza. Nothing fancy. Just good food and fun.

SATURDAY September 30, 2018: The School Tour 9AM-11AM at Reitz HS

Show up at the link and enter the main entrance to FJ Reitz at 9AM (There is handicap access in the form of an elevator in the right hand entrance). The tour lasts about 2 hours and will be conducted by Beth Carnahan, Reitz class of  1980 and current principal of Reitz. Beth bleeds blue and grey and is one of the most active and popular principals in recent memory. This is the tour that is sure to be remembered and a great way to spend the morning of the Reunion.

Additionally, if you're a golfer, contact Larry Broerman  (lebcrdlr@aol.comwho is setting up an outing.

SATURDAY September 30, 2018 The REUNION 4:30/5:00 PM  St. Phillips Conservation Club

This is it. It has been 50 years since you last passed through the doors of Reitz HS. You'll find all of your old friends and acquaintances from back then waiting for you. Catered by Gasthof of Montgomery IN, cooking in their mobile kitchen, cash bar and soft drinks and desserts. Good food, good friends, great memories. It doesn't get any better than this. Additionally, we've got some class business that the reunion committee wants to run by you for future reunions.

Dress comfortably and have a good time.

So it's not too late. As of now, we're running our usual 30% participation, but we can always do better! If you're local, there's definitely time to attend - just call or email Linda (812-425-3255 or linday7632@gmail.com to get your money in . If you're not, there's still time to make plans, but time grows short. Don't forget that Fall Festival begins the following week.

We will post exacting instructions to get to the Conservation Club in the near future. If you can use the odometer in your vehicle, you will find your way.

Friday, February 10, 2017

It's Reunion Planning Time: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

By now you've all probably seen Linda's post about the planning for the 50th Reunion.

So, here's a recap. We made arrangements to rent the St. Phillips Conservation Club Meeting room this past July for October 7, 2017. Yesterday, we discovered that due to an internal conflict at the club, that we were bumped to September 30. Needless to say, we were upset and scrambling like Andrew Luck in his own end zone. There were some domino-like fall-out. Schnitzelbank, our first choice for catering, let us know that they were unavailable for the new earlier date. Just when we thought it was going to start raining toads, Gasthof in Montgomery came to mind and not only could they deliver for that date, they could do so for the same price with additional sides. There just had to be a silver lining somewhere. So, I know we've said this before, but now the place is paid for and the catering is set:

The date is September 30 starting at 4:30pm; serving dinner at 6pm; program and festivities after that till 11pm. The meal will consist of two meats, 4 sides, and included beverages such as sweet and unsweet iced tea and lemonade and some 2 liters of carbonated beverages. Dessert will also be served. Additionally, there will be a cash bar with beer by the can and an assortment of mixed drinks.

As we have done in the past, there will be a program, group photos ( I swear we will gather all our veterans together for a group shot, something I regretted having missed last time, especially since we have so many veterans) and of course, more conversation and reminiscing than you can throw a stick at. Based on what I've seen so far in the past 6 years since we've been involved in planning these events, I think the class could meet in the middle of a cornfield and still have a good time. Fortunately, this will be quite a bit better than that.

We will be producing a new class directory (an anniversary edition!) that will include some memorabilia from graduation and the 60's, updated class information and in a larger format too. I hope to have all this completed well before the Reunion so that it can be ordered and then used to contact your friends and make arrangements. Speaking of contacting people, remember to get in touch with us with new addresses and email addresses and phone numbers if you've moved, gotten a new cell phone carrier, changed internet suppliers either out of frustration or corporate mergers. I want to make the directory a useful tool for everyone and that relies upon you folks to get me the latest information. Thanks in advance for spreading the word.

Finally, the 50th reunion only comes around once in each person's lifetime. It is the big one; the one you shouldn't miss. We're working hard to make it special. We hope you think so too.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Home for the Holidays Part Deux

Linda reminded me of a really important thing that I neglected to mention in my last post:

Our class database needs updating. While we have modified and tweaked it with every bit of information that you have forwarded to us, we know that informing the reunion committee of every move or email change is not the highest priority in the grand scheme of things.

Especially locally, with the digestion of Insight by Time -Warner cable and the subsequent ingestion of Time-Warner cable by Spectrum, those of us who have cable/internet based email addresses have had their emails changed to something that we can't begin to guess.

So if you're one of these affected folks, do drop us an email so we can keep you informed about the latest reunion news. Of course, if you've moved to enhance your status as a built-in grandbaby-sitter or a parent caretaker, or simply because it is too cold for those old bones, let us know this as well. There's no reason to drop out just because of a little thing like moving out of town! You've got people who care about you and want to keep in touch.

Additionally, the 50th reunion will also make available a new class address book, and we want to get it right, if not quite as elaborately as we did for the 45th.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Home for the Holidays


Hoping to find a lull in the annual funnel of activities surrounding the Christmas/New Year celebrations, Linda is trying to hold a little class get together at Parkway Pizza on December 20 at 6pm. Any classmate who needs a break from holiday preparations and would like to join some classmates over pizza should head on over to Parkway. What better way to start off the holiday festivities, eh?
On a sadder note, we found out late (due to some tech problems as yet to be figured out) that Larry Procter passed away at the end of last week without ceremony. We try to pay our respect whenever possible. Short of that, this blog has to serve the purpose. Larry was the guy who missed the 44th at Cottonwood because he didn't see the sign that Bob Willis posted on the door of the Howell Shelter House when we outgrew the capacity of the place. Larry did make the 45th though and I for one was glad to make his acquaintance in person at least for that once. His obituary can be found for posterity's sake on the class website.



So while we're at it, and before the opportunity is lost, a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Linda and me to you and yours.