The 50th

The Golden Reunion
Like Fine Wine ...
Coming Home

Class reunions can be treacherous events. Hollywood and tv are full of movies and sitcoms about disastrous reunions where people who didn't like each other to begin with resumed teenage jealousies and left with hard feelings. Just a month after our reunion, CNN carried a story about a reunion in California where people ended up shooting each other. Reunions can also fall victim to anticippointment, as years of hopes and expectations were not fulfilled by the actual event. Reunions, it seems, are hard to pull off. Our class seems to have been blessed all our lives, and our good luck continued with our 50th Reunion. If Steven Spielberg had tried to make a movie about a wonderful class reunion he could not have made one up better than ours turned out to be. It certainly wasn't fancy. Friday night's event was held in a driving rain storm in a building with no air conditioning, and Saturday night was a low key dinner with Bill, Stan, Margie and Carolyn providing the entertainment. But both nights, and the days wrapped around them, were great.

The photos at the top show Danny, Jack and Carol Ann out on the patio of the Robin Hill Center, and Marilyn and Dorothy inside. Just above are Grace, Lucy, Dorothy, Jacquie and Judy in the kitchen. At left here are Janet, Cathy, Dave and Rose.

The Friday night event at Robin Hill featured 1950s music which Tony had spent months digitally remastering from his personal collection. One of the rooms had a slide show continuously showing all 663 photos from this website. Out on the patio (which fortunately had a roof since we arrived in a torrential downpour) was a buffet prepared by that kitchen staff shown above, and Bill made sure everyone was well supplied with beverages. There were three rooms filled with tables and everyone spent four hours rotating around renewing acquaintances and trying to figure out who was who on the website message board.

At left is Robin Hill, site of our casual get together Friday night. Even though outside a major thunderstorm raged most of the evening, we enjoyed ourselves. At right is the Montour Country Club, where we met for a reception early and dinner Saturday night. Out of towners stayed at the Embassy Suites, which stands where the old Montour Heights Country Club was when we were growing up. They mostly arrived Thursday night and spent breakfasts and lunches for three days eating together and having a great time reminiscing. Having already gotten reacquainted at the hotel freed them to circulate among all the locals at the two evening events.
Jacquie tells Ross about the Summer she spent studying music in Hungary while Carolyn, black and white and blonde and partially hidden by the flowers, entertains her end of the table. That's Margaret getting a piece of cake at the back.
Tony takes a moment from monitoring his sound system to pose with Rose and George. Tony had to explain to Rose one more time why Buddy Holly was the greatest musician in the history of Rock and Roll and try to pry her away from a lifetime of devotion to Elvis.
Anyone who was at the Reunion with a camera and has photos they would like to add should scan them in and email them to We would especially like photos of classmates getting together in the restaurant or lobby of The Embassy Suites Hotel, or evening photos of Carolyn, Harriet, Louann, Barbara, Margaret or Louie at either Robin Hill or the Country Club.
Bill showed off his football letterjacket. He is immeasurably proud of the fact that he can still fit in it 50 years later. Wife Kathy confides that he works out 90 minutes a day in the gym to make sure he can still fit in it. These were the last championship football jackets Coraopolis awarded. They've continued to win basketball championships, but no Coraopolis or Cornell football team since has gone undefeated or won the championship. These were great letterjackets : they looked good, were warm, lasted forever (obviously), and felt comfortable. They were bought with money the Football Mothers Club earned by holding the Spaghetti Lunch at the YMCA every Thursday. The shame of it was most of the players only got to wear them one year, our senior year. When the guys went off to college, high school letter jackets were not allowed on campus. Bill keeps his carefully packed away in mothballs, only wearing it on special occasions. Bill says he still has the hands to catch the passes, but it would take him a lot longer to get down the field to get in position to catch them.
Lucy closes her eyes for a moment's nap while Jacquie and Marianne smile for the camera. Lucy was probably exhausted from assisting Judy on the Reunion Yearbook, with then and now photos of each class member plus paragraphs summarizing what they did while in high school and what they've done since. Lucy did all the captions and added the paragraphs at the bottom of each page. This brought back memories of when Lucy and Judy both worked on the high school yearbook under Gladys Donaldson. Everyone attending the Reunion received one. Lucy taught for four decades and still subs in the Cornell Schools.
Grace and Bob talk about old times. Bob has finally retired from his dentistry practice in Florida and for the year leading up to the reunion was a frequent poster on the website message board. Grace served on the Reunion Committee and several weeks after the Reunion hosted a Wrapup Party for the other members, where they finalized the financing and began planning for the next one, to be held in three years.

Judy, Marianne and Dorothy pause for one of Judy's rare moments of relaxation. She served on the Committee, a full time job in itself, and one month before the Reunion was inducted into the Coraopolis / Cornell Hall of Fame. Judy, with Lucy as her assistant, was totally in charge of the Friday night event. And the idea of a Reunion "Yearbook" was hers from the start. She sent out the inquiries, assembled the information everyone sent in, and arranged for the printing. This was all done in her spare time, as Judy still works full time running her own business, a Palliative Care organization.

David and Danny reminisce about the time David was invited out to California to play his Theramin on the national television show You Asked For It. The Theramin was the wierd, melancholy musical instrument used to provide background strains for science fiction movies and suspense thrillers, and by the time we were seniors in high school David had become one of the nation's greatest Theramin players.
Stan explains to Joe how all three officials from our McKees Rocks football game lost their officiating licenses because of the atrocious calls they made and despite their efforts McKees Rocks still couldn't win the game. That's Ange in the striped shirt at left, and Bill behind Stan in the black zipneck. Stan still runs his consulting company and teaches college courses. Bill keeps selling off companies and "retiring" to coach his boys and girls tennis teams in California, but then starting up new companies. Ange still works as a private investigator.
Harriett studies Carol Ann's page in Lucy's Reunion Yearbook while looking at the real Carol Ann in white blouse at the other end of the table. That's Harriett's husband at left. Michel, right talks with Bill, while at the far end Tony talks to Jack about '50s music.
Every high school class has its All American couple, the star multisport athlete and A student and the star cheerleader and all A student. Stan and Marianne are ours. One son played football, one son ran track, and a daughter played college basketball on a conference championship team. They've lived their entire married lives in a house in the neighborhood we used to call Pleasant View, although their house sits where our local Boy Scout troops used to hike out and camp. After a brief pro football career Stan went back to Pitt, earned his doctorate, tried college teaching and administration, tried state politics, then founded his own corporation and published a few books along the way. His knees are finally starting to interfere with Stan's basketball playing in the Geezer League.
Big Ange and Louie wait for Bill to take the podium after dinner. Big Ange left Coraopolis for Miami University in Florida, where he played football for the Hurricanes before returning home to marry Grace. He laughs about how hard it was to focus on football and classes with the beach running right along the edge of campus. Ange and Grace are both on the Reunion Committee, and as someone who has spent a whole career as a private investigator, Ange specialized in tracking down lost classmates. Many at the reunion thought he should have been cast as one of the patriarchs in The Sopranos. Louie went to Pitt and has spent a 40 year career as an architect with offices in Pittsburgh. One of his specialties was converting old school buildings to usable modern offices, apartments or community centers.
While Bob and his wife were in town, they took half a day and drove down to State Avenue to visit Dr. Frank Braden and daughter Pam. Dr. Braden is 101 and finally, with great regrets, gave up his medical practice. For 70 years he had held office hours six days a week, being the family doctor for many of us. His only compromise since turning 90 has been to shorten his work days and refuse to take on any new patients. Dr. Braden has become a true Coraopolis treasure. He spent most of his life taking photographs of the town and its people, until he now has 10,000 pictures portraying Coraopolis since 1940. Some of the photos on our website, particularly David's Eiffel Tower, the two shots of the famous football game in the rain, the shots of us as little kids playing marbles and hopskotch, the grade school and junior high football and basketball shots, and the robot photos of Gizmo, are his. Over the last few years, Dr. Braden and Pam have been painstakingly transferring each photo to digital format, so his entire collection will eventually be on CDs or DVDs. Now that he's retired, Dr. Braden and Pam have more time for travel, but when in town they still make it to the Coraopolis Presbyterian Church most Sundays.
David and George discuss George's adventures at the University of Dubai, where he was an administrator for five years. George is now back in the U.S., and has just moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts, home of Wellesley College. Dave graduated from Ohio State in architecture and spent his career in Ohio. He retired in January just in time to have hip replacement surgery. He has found the message board somewhat bemusing with so many classmates remembering the famous Eiffel Tower he built from scratch in 4th grade at age 10. "Obviously, I thought it was pretty neat or I wouldn't have spent half the year doing it. But I never dreamed it would become such an iconic memory for so many of my friends. I certainly never dreamed that Dr. Braden photo of it still existed and would end up on the website. When I finally took it home at the end of the year, my little sister broke it into a thousand pieces. I was pretty mad at her, but if I'd known how much it meant to everyone, I might have left it at school where they could have kept it on display."
A tradition at class reunions everywhere is the class photograph. Here, on the steps of the Montour Country Club, Margie (left) tries to get everyone's attention and move them down to the steps where the photographer can line them up. Louie seems to be the only one paying attention. Everybody else is too wrapped up in their conversations.
From left seated are Margaret, Danny, Jan and Carol Ann. Standing are Dave, Kathy and Jack. Behind Dave in the background are David and Ross. Jan, in addition to her forensic psychology career, is a professional photographer with her own studio. She is working with Margie to engrave a CD with all these photos and as many others as she can collect, to be made available to any classmates who want one.
Two Californians converse in the hall at the Montour Country Club. Marilyn and Bill live in California, but at opposite ends of the state, so their paths never cross. Bill spends his time coaching a girls tennis team at one high school and a boys tennis team at another high school and founding and selling off startup companies. Both his tennis programs have become consistent contenders for postseason honors. Marilyn, meanwhile, hopes to get back to her art after spending the last few years tending to moving and other details.
Tony (yellow t shirt) and Bill pause after hooking up the sound system for the Friday night festivities at the Robin Hill Center. The scene out the door looks idyllic with its garden walks, outdoor benches and tables and walking trails. Unfortunately, just as guests began arriving, a torrential rain moved in and lasted much of the evening. It didn't keep everyone from having a great time, but did confine us to the building and patios. When we were in school, this was the Knollinger Estate, up Thorn Run Road from Rockwell Steel, about a mile past the Mooncrest cutoff. It is now run by the Moon Township Parks and Recreation Department. The building was ideal for the casual nature of our Friday night get together.
Dave waits for everyone to enter the dining room for Saturday night's dinner at the Montour Country Club. Dave went to Edinboro College, then taught Biology and coached Basketball at a high school in Northern Pennsylvania. He retired two years ago. He and wife Cathy live about two hours north of Coraopolis.
Pete and wife Cathy have faithfully attended every one of our class reunions. After graduating from Michigan State University in East Lansing, he returned to Coraopolis and has spent a career here, although they live in Kennedy Township. Pete still follows Michigan State basketball, but maintains season tickets at Pitt so he can see college games in person. Pete spent his grade school years in Stowe Township and only moved to Coraopolis in time for seventh grade, but in junior and senior high was an outstanding student while playing football, basketball and baseball. We would not have achieved the basketball success we did our last two years without him; as our sixth man he saw as much action as any starter, was our best defensive player, and hit key baskets against Bellevue and Avalon. He put on height and weight and enjoyed a successful basketball career at Michigan State, scoring 22 points in a losing cause in his final game as a senior.
Dorothy is our version of Mary Worth. She doesn't meddle in everybody else's lives like the cartoon character, but she does spend her days roaming the country visiting children and grandchildren. Once a year she gets back to Coraopolis, rounds up the girls, and creates her own mini-reunion. They laugh about the fact that they live here and rarely get together except when Dorothy shows up and won't take No for an answer.
Ross is enjoying being back home and being retired. He spent 36 years in the military, which of course meant moving from one assignment to another. He was in Budapest during the Kosova War, which was sort of his grand finale. He retired just in time to avoid being sent to Iraq, which he says was fine with him. With him is wife Karen.
Lucy banters with Bill, who served as the Master of Ceremonies. Lucy spent most of the evening fielding questions about whether or not she was the mysterious Bebop on the message board. Lucy maintains that she doesn't even know how to handle email and posting on a message board is beyond her skill level. No one was convinced, especially after Judy recalled showing Lucy how to set up her account on the message board. That's Dorothy in the background. The rumor is Lucy in her entire life has never gone more than five minutes without laughing about something.
Bill insists he's about ready to retire from the duties of Master of Ceremonies, but each reunion he is assigned the job by popular demand. After graduating, Bill went to Grove City College, then on to Cornell University for his MBA before returning home to run the family business for 40 years.
Jacquie presented Danny with a special gift, a book with a one page letter from every classmate telling him how much they appreciated the website and the message board. This had been Jacquie's project from the start. One of her hobbies is Scrapbooking, so, unknown to Danny, she presented the idea to the Committee and got approval. She wrote every classmate, collected their responses, and assembled the book. Danny insisted the credit actually went to the whole class, who sent in 663 photos and took the time to post 3000 entries on the board. After having time to read through the book, he said it was a treasure he would keep on a coffee table and leaf back through the rest of his life. He planned to spend September sending thank you notes to everyone who provided an entry. At the Wrapup Meeting he commented that it was little touches like this that made our class so special.
Bill stocks his plate during the Wrapup Party, hosted by Big Ange and Grace. It was a fun evening but a lot of planning for the NEXT reunion was also done. The decision to post Reunion photos on the website, create a CD for sale to classmates, and hold the next get together in three years rather than five, all necessitated lengthy discussion.
Abby Leigh shows off her Poodle Skirt to Jacquie. Big Ange remembered seeing lots of Poodle Skirts but thought this might have been the first one he ever saw that actually had a poodle on it. Abby has made a hobby of studying the 1950s, plays all 50s music on her Ipod, and when she drives has the radio tuned to a 50s music channel. She made this Poodle Skirt herself. She's worn the skirt to several 50s Night school dances but was delighted to finally wear it for people who remembered the real thing.
Even the cake was good. Seeing that old Blue Devil logo brought back a twinge of nostalgia in a lot of classmates, who still don't understand how we absorbed a school only a fraction of our size but it was us who lost our identity. Back when a merger with Moon was a strong possibility, Moon officials made it clear Cory students would be merged into Moon High School and they would keep their name, traditional school colors and Tiger mascot. When tentative discussions were held with Montour, they made it clear they would keep their name, black and gold colors and their Spartan mascot. But when a much smaller school came in with us, we were not allowed to keep either our name, colors or mascot. Somehow we sure did get out politicked.
Michel and Harriet laugh about the times Michel and Ann used to give Bill such a hard time in discussions and debates in Lillian Griffith's Sociology class. As lifelong Liberals, Harriet, Michel and Ann have always seen things quite a bit differently then arch Conservative Bill. After graduating from Juniata College, Harriet has spent her career in government, eventually as a director of various agencies for minority businessmen. She and her husband maintain a home in Haiti. Michel is an attorney in Washington DC who is looking forward to visiting London frequently now that her son has located there.

Front (L to R): Barbara, Janet, Carol Ann, Lucy, Margaret, Dorothy, Louann, Judy, Jacquie.

Second Row : Harriet, Grace, Gloria.

Third Row : Marianne, Michel, David, Harriet, Eleanor, Marilyn, Lee.

Fourth Row : Bob, Rose, Danny, Ross, Louie, Dave, Margie.

Back Row : Tony, Bill, Big Ange, George, David, Bill (half a step down), Stan, Pete (half a step down).

Margie will have a CD with this class photo and two nights of candids (only a few of which are shown here) available for $15+. The "+" is a chance for anyone wanting to donate toward the 2013 Reunion to write a check for $20 or $25. Janet is doing the remastering at her studio in Vermont. Anyone interested should contact Margie at her email address,