PLYMOUTH — The 19 classmates of Plymouth High School’s Class of 1952 hope this wasn’t the last time they will get together.
On May 24, the group of 82- and 83-year-olds sat around tables at Konefal’s Restaurant in Edwardsville and talked about those good old days.
They answered trivia questions, like who intercepted the pass on Thanksgiving Day against arch-rival Nanticoke to seal the 7-0 victory for the Shawnee Indians.
Of the 111 members of the Class of 1952, 19 attended the 65th class reunion. Some brought spouses or friends. All of them had fun.
John Lelak and Hugh Haughney spearheaded the plan to hold the reunion. One classmate traveled from Wisconsin, another from Maine. Most of them drove through their old hometown to see what it looked like. For a few of the classmates, this was their first time back in Plymouth since they graduated in 1952.
Lelak said many of them saw a Plymouth far different than the town they grew up in — especially the huge void where the old high school and junior high school once stood on West Main Street.
A lot of the same buildings still exist, but usage has sure changed. The Shawnee Theater is gone too, as are so many small businesses that stood along the sidewalks filled with shoppers. The Rea & Derick is closed. Golden Quality is a laundromat. Al Wasley Jewelers is empty and so is the Ben Franklin Store. C. Matus News remains open, but the pool tables and pinball machines are gone and there are no more magazines to browse through. The parking meters still stand out front to lean on, but the liquor store is long gone.
Where the Ward P. Davenport High School once stood, with its connecting bridge to the junior high, the Wyoming Valley West High School sits far back. The Huber Field remains, but the wall and bleachers have been removed. If you stand there, you can still see — but only in your mind — the press box, the field house and the scoreboard.
Lelak sent me a note with some pictures taken at the reunion. I have to say the group looked pretty darn good. But there was one line in the note that hit me pretty hard — “I hope you can make something out of this, which may be our last get-together.”
I kept reading that line over and over, thinking how sad that sounded. As I tried to deal with the reality of the prospect, I found myself hoping it wasn’t true. I sincerely hope this class will get together again and again and sit around those tables and talk about their good old days and answer more trivia questions about athletic exploits, teachers’ nicknames or past boyfriends or girlfriends.
This was so much more than a small group of old friends gathering for a dinner and talking about old times. This was about the Class of 1952 and where they came from, where they have been and where they are now. Lelak said when someone mentioned this could be their last class reunion, a few spoke up and volunteered to be on the committee for the next reunion — to be held as soon as two years from now. Why not a 67th class reunion?
Perhaps it’s too early to start planning now, with the experience of the 65th reunion still fresh in their minds. I’m sure in due time, Lelak, Haughney and a few others will start making calls and contacting classmates. Maybe more than 19 will attend the next one.
And that means more stories about revisiting those good old days and those good times with those good old friends.
Maybe they will plan it to come back in August when the Kielbasa Festival is in full swing and Plymouth is filled with people walking up and down Main Street.
Or maybe they will pick another quiet day in May to recall the days when they walked the halls of PHS and cheered for the home team and made big plays in rivalry games on Thanksgiving Day.
One thing is certain — they will always cherish their time together and they will forever share a bond of friendship that was Plymouth High School Class of 1952.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle, or email at [email protected]