1953 Class returns home

There is only one chance in a lifetime to attend the 50th anniversary of ones high school graduation, to relive the most memorable days of ones life. High school days hold a special memory for young men and women on the brink of adulthood, yet still under the protection of parents. More time has been spent with classmates than parents, one has fallen in and out of love every other week or done some really silly things they wish they hadn’t done, hoping no one will remember or recall after all the years have gone by. (They do.) Closer ties are formed in smaller schools where families have lived for several generations, gone to church together, had Sunday dinners and many are related. This is especially true of the classes from Lohn High who graduated from the 20’s through the 60’s. Rama Hemphill Huie, Wanda Marshall Williams and Peggy Browning Stoker began working on getting the 1953 class back to Lohn for a reunion. Their plans were very successful as 41 people from Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana were at the Tabernacle on Saturday May 10 for getting reacquainted, visiting, looking at pictures and other mementos. The tables were decorated with candles and class photos. A picnic style lunch was served after Kinneth Slaughter asked the blessing on the food. Eight of the 13 graduates attended the reunion. They were Tommy Caylor of Lohn, Peggy Browning Stoker from Lohn and Temple, Jackie Fay Dunn Pate of Minden, La., Marie Frost Richards of Pasadena, Rama Hemphill Huie of Lohn, Wanda Marshall Williams of Brady, Kinneth Slaughter of New Braunfels, and John R. Caylor of Taylor. Spouses attending were Bill Stoker, Charlie Pate, Donald Williams, and Georgine Caylor. The 1952 and 1954 classes were invited and those who came from the ’52 class were Barbara Browning Young and husband, Dale from Amarillo, Don Deck and wife, Jo Ann from Midland; from the ’54 class were Shirley Fullagar Ellis and husband, Brad from Lohn and Austin, Charles Moore from Georgetown, Nolan Underwood and wife Peggy from Kerrville, Lee Hardy Caylor, wife, Jan and son from Taylor. Attending the reunion were some who began school with the ’53 class in 1941 but did not graduate; Betty Waite Hill of Lohn, accompanied by Betty Hill Bingham of Brady, Patricia Ann Hargrove Tennon of Lawton, Ok. and grand daughter, Dorothy Hill Day of Benbrook; husband, Jim, Noda Lu Moore Simpson of Coleman, husband Jerry; also Jerry Andrews of Lubbock and Carol McShan Johnson of Brady who were in the class. Martha Hemphill of Pear Valley represented her late husband, Carroll. Two former teachers, John Ross Hale and wife Margie from Brownwood and Nelda Moore Rogers from Hurst were special guests. Unable to attend but sending messages were former teachers, Charles Rives of Kerrville, Alvarie Shaver Taylor of Georgetown, Elizabeth Utsey Howard Land of Brady. The Hales celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary with the group. Other visitors were Jerell Hemphill, Dorothy Kleumper and Eunice Day. Rama Hemphill Huie reaches back in her memory to the years 1941 through 1953 and shares these thoughts. ‘ The class began school in 1941, shortly before the beginning of World War II. “I remember going to chapel during those years and of hearing the announcement of Bernard Carroll being killed in action. I didn`t remember Bernard, but felt so sorry for his sister, Carolyn a few years older than we were. “Later we attended his funeral, the first military funeral I had ever attended. The song ‘My Buddy’ was sung, the bugler played Taps , making quite an impression on me. Mrs. Ben O. Grant was our first grade teacher’the vivid memory I have of her was that I was scared to death of her. I spent a lot of time standing in the corner because I was afraid to ask her to be excused to go to the bathroom (those horrible outdoor toilets) or to get a drink of water. Students in the first grade that year were: Anna Rae Barsch, Kerry Bray, Tommy Caylor, Marie Frost, Kent Gafford, Patricia Ann Hargroves, Carroll Hemphill, Rama Hemphill, Brylene Henderson, Dorothy Hill, H.D. Lively, Jr., Noda Lu Moore, Betty Lou Waite, and Mary West. Possibly others I don’t recall. Mrs. Lois Briscoe was our second and third grade teacher. Every one loved her, she was sweet and kind to us all. When we were in the third grade, H.D. Jr., a tall, large boned healthy looking boy, the only child of Mr. And Mrs. H.D. Lively, died from leukemia. “I remember Mrs. Lively bringing a dish pan full of popcorn to our class before he got sick. She later drove the Pear Valley School bus. I lived four and one half miles from Lohn and in the afternoons I rode her bus 40 miles to get home. “She had heard of a bus load of children who were washed down a creek somewhere because the bus drowned out while attempting to cross it. Some of the children were drowned and Mrs. Lively was determined that that would not happen on her route. She would stop and check out the creeks to see if she thought we could make it, then back up and rev that old yellow bus up and hit it as fast as we could go. We always made it across the creek safely before the bus sputtered to a stop. She would get out, dry off the distributor cap and we would head for the next creek. She always got us safely home.. “Mollie Smith taught fourth and fifth grades and she was liked and respected by all of us. During this time students from Pear Valley began coming to Lohn. I don’t remember us as being unkind to the ones in our classes, but do remember the older girls on the bus calling the older girls ‘old Pea Vines’ and they cried. “Evelyn Bissett taught us for a short time in fourth grade. During our sixth grade we had a pretty young teacher, Lorraine Wuthrich, from Wharton who told us how they raised rice as their main crop. “When we reached seventh grade the kids from Fife joined us. Our teachers were Stark McQuain, Alvarie Shaver Taylor, Elizabeth Utsey Howard. In eighth grade we had Mr. Aubrey Burkes, who believed in whipping the boys and making the girls sit on the wall or put their nose in a ring on the blackboard when we misbehaved. We were taught by high school teachers the last six weeks of school. “Some of our teachers during our high school years were Cleg Gassiot, D.E. Edwards, Pearl Gann, Mrs. Willie Younger, Nelda Moore, Vera Faulkner, John Hale, Everett Yielding, Charles Rives. The boys basketball coach was Mr. Gassiot and obviously a good one as we won district almost every year. Leon Walker and John Hale coached also. “The girls began playing basketball when I was in the tenth grade. We won district every year. The boys were not so lucky in football. In the four years I was in high school we won a total of four games (one each year). The year following our graduation Lohn started playing six-man football and went as far as they could go, which was regional. “A serious accident happened during our sophomore year. The FFA boys were building a trophy case using glass from old refrigeration boxes donated by George Reed when during the dismantling of the boxes, a freon line burst, the gas hitting Nolan Underwood in the face. His eye sight was ruined but not his spirit. He missed the rest of school, returned and finished one year behind us. He was a year younger than most of us having skipped a grade at Fife. Through the years he has had transplants, some helpful to a degree. He has lived a full productive life making the best of the situation. “My father, David Hemphill, died suddenly of a heart attack my sophomore year. I remember how supportive the teachers were, especially Mr. Gassiot and Mr. Rives. My classmates, especially, the girls were so kind to me during this difficult time. “By the time we were in high school the Korean conflict had begun. In 1952 we started our senior class with a total of seven boys and seven girls: Juanice Amarine, Anna Rae Barsch, Peggy Browning, Johnny Caylor, Tommy Caylor, Jackie Fay Dunn, Marie Frost, Kent Gafford, Rama Hemphill, Buddy Horne, Wanda Marshall, Kinneth Slaughter, Glyndol Snodgrass and Jerry Turner. “In late September, Anna Rae developed pneumonia and none of the antibiotics seemed to help. After a few days she died in the Brady Hospital. She was an outstanding athlete, an excellent student, respected and liked by all who knew her. It was a shock to all of us. “The seven boys were pallbearers and we six girls sat directly behind them. We were stunned. She was buried close to her 18th birthday. Her death made each of us aware of our own mortality’if it could happen to her it could happen to us also. “The 13 remaining classmates graduated on May 22,1953 and suddenly we each embarked on a new and exciting time in our lives. All 13 are still living. “Growing up in Lohn was a real blessing for us. We weren’t latch key kids. Eleven of us had both parents, one had a step mother since his mom had died and one’s mom was divorced. Each of these parents was always there for us. We spent many nights at each others homes especially at Marie’s and Peggy’s when going or coming home from out of town games and activities. Lucille and Jake Frost and Opal Browning were always so nice to put up with us. “Most of our families were either farmers or ranchers who didn’t have a lot of money, but we never really needed anything we didn’t have. We had homes that for the most part were pretty old, some with indoor plumbing and some without, not all had running water in the house, but we always had plenty of love, plenty to eat and enough clothes. “Most of us had grandparents who lived close enough to help guide and watch over us with love. Most of the mothers didn’t work away from home’I certainly won’t say they didn’t work because they did everything from chopping and bolling cotton to raising pigs and chickens, feeding sheep and milking cows along with raising a big garden, canning, cooking, laundry, and all other household chores. “Most families had one vehicle for the entire family, not one for each member. We went to Brady on Saturdays and often went to the movies. Electricity was not readily available to rural homes when I was small. Our last stop out of town was at the ice house for a 50 pound block of ice. “We would enjoy tea with our supper on Saturday night and Sunday dinner and supper. Then we would use what was left to make a freezer of homemade ice cream. Nothing is better than homemade vanilla ice cream. “I remember eating margarine for the first time at Marie’s house and waffles at Peggys. We had a cow and churned butter, so margarine was a luxury. Wanda milked cows and I attempted to help but wasn’t very successful. Television was not available in any of our homes, we usually had a radio and listened to it. “The library over the fire department in Brady was one of my favorite places to go on Saturdays. I would check out books and enjoy them the following week. Our parents were hard working honest people who attempted in every way to teach us a good work ethic. We were expected to say yes mam and no mam or yes sir and no sir. I don’t remember Huh as being part of my vocabulary. “Summers were spent working hard. Church meetings or revivals were looked forward to with much anticipation. The tabernacle would be filled during services with the Baptist and Church of Christ people, every one in the community would come, so we would get to see a lot of our friends. “Fifty years have flown by since our graduation. Most of us have children, grandchildren, even great grandchildren that light up our lives. “Of the 13 of us who graduated in 1953, seven are still married to their first spouse, two lived with their first spouse until death parted them. That is quite a record in this day and age. “Few of us had been far from home when we graduated, now most have traveled all over the U.S. and some to foreign countries. We are more mobile, have bigger fancier homes and cars, but I wonder if we are as fulfilled as our parents were. I look back and say, ‘WHERE HAVE THE PAST 50 YEARS GONE'” What has happened to the class since leaving Lohn’ Next week there will be a picture and an up date on the class, also pictures of the Junior Senior Prom. Marian Louisa (Bugs) Lohn Fry died Saturday May 10 in Abilene. Marian Louise was the youngest daughter of Marion and Lizzie Lohn. She was born at Waldrip August 26, 1918. Marian Louise graduated from Lohn High School in 1935. There were eight girls and two boys in the class. Only one survives now, her cousin Mary Lee Fullagar Littlepage of Tahoka. Marian graduated from McMurry College with a bachelor of arts degree in 1938, worked as a secretary to the principal of Brady High School and as a secretary at Camp Barkley during the war. She married Lewis Weldon Fry July 23,1939 at Waldrip. He died in 1993. She and her husband operated Fry’s Market in Abilene from 1950 until 1969. They had one daughter and two sons. They, their spouses, eight grand children and four great grandchildren survive, also two sisters, Mabel Clark of Austin and Annie Laurie Ludwick of Brady. Durward and Nina Solsbery have a new son-in-law. Their daughter, Phyliss Lankford and Alvin Bolton were married on Easter Sunday at the Rochelle Baptist Church. Congratulations and best wishes to them. Several families from Lohn were in San Angelo for graduation ceremonies on May 10. Scott Smith graduated from Howard College with a degree in computer networking on Saturday, May 10. Attending were his parents, Tommy and Patty Smith, Tyler and Tammy Smith, Charlie and Claudia Smith, Paul, Jennifer, Carrie and Amy Smith, Nina Solsbery, Peggy Solsbery, Justin Solsbery, Laney Chandler, Debbie Johnson, Frances Bingham, Matt Orosco, Tina and Mandy Corfield. He was honored with a reception at his parents home on Saturday night. Jim and Debbie Johnson hosted a Mother’s Day lunch at their home on Sunday. Attending were Durward and Nina Solsbery, Nelson, Peggy and Jana Solsbery, Phyllis and Alvin Bolton, Robert, A. J., Taylor, and Mason Allsup, Vance Thurmon, S. A. Lankford, Tommy and Patty Smith, Tyler, Tammy and Scott Smith, Tina and Mandy Corfield, Frances and Bill Bingham Charlie and Claudia Smith celebrated Mothers Day with a supper at their home. Attending were Paul and Jennifer Smith, Carrie and Amy, Tommy and Patty Smith, Tyler and Scott Smith, Tammy Smith, Tina and Mandy Corfield, Mike and Brenda Smith, Lisa, Tasha, Johnny and Haven. The Lohn School Awards Banquet will be Thursday, May 15, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Lohn Tabernacle.

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