Kay Mack Simpson, Jane Warriner Randall and Darlene Coonrod Knox, class of 1964 at Denison High School, place items in the time capsule locked by classmates to be opened in 10 years when the 22 women get together again on their 70th birthdays.

 

These baby boomers from the Class of 1964 at Denison High school celebrate their 60th birthdays together this week at a three day gathering.

 

 

Donna Hord Hunt, class of 1953, and Darlene Coonrod Knox, class of 1964, reminise the late 1940s when Darlene's mother was a Camp Fire Girls leader for a group that included Donna. Darlene was just a little girl at the time.


 


“We’re the best for evermore, Senior Class of 64”

 

 

“We’re the best for evermore, Senior Class of 64”


Take a bunch of baby boomers who haven’t seen each other in quite a while and bring them together for three days and you have the makings for a great experience even if it is a 60th birthday party for the whole group.  That’s what happened in Denison this week when 22 women from the Class of 1964 at Denison High School got together for a three day 60th birthday slumber party to celebrate the past, present and the future.


To insure that the future will be as great as the past and present, the women put together a time capsule to be opened in 10 years when they all reach 70.


They began arriving Sunday from all over the country – California to Connecticut, West Virginia. Louisiana and Georgia to join classmates from Denison and towns closer to home. Talking was non-stop.


Planning the event was not as hard as one might suspect because through the miracle of software all could communicate in the planning. They now can go home and relive the event by downloading pictures, comments, addresses and much more from the Internet, where a web page has been set up by the group.


Connie Rutledge Mehos’ house at 1030 West Sears was headquarters and classmates began arriving Monday to celebrate the past. A welcome gathering with retro snacks at the Mehos home kicked off the event, where the women brought items to pin on the ’64 Wonder Wall which rapidly became decorated with poetry, pictures, stories, memories, recipes, and e-mails from classmates. Kleenex also were kept handy.


Monday evening the group went to Hendrix, OK and the CS Wild Kingdom Ranch home of Charlotte Browder-Shelton, for a Fajita Festival with great food from the grill and retro bingo. Each brought something from the past for the bingo pool.


On Tuesday the classmates rejoiced in the present for a tour of Denison High School, the restored Rialto Theater and a visit with Lola Mae Stevens, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday and who taught most of the women at DHS. It turned out that Mrs. Stevens was a roll model for at least 11 of the attendees who followed in her footsteps and became teachers. She also was the sponsor for the Future Teachers of America in which most were members.  Dinner at The Pointe hosted by Mary Pat Porter-Elledge ended the second day for the group.


Wednesday was the day for farewells and the future starting with a brunch at the Mehos home with Darlene Coonrod Knox as hostess, then a trip to Sam Moon’s in Frisco for more fun.


The women were all great friends in high school, where most were in FTA, Y-Teens, Hi-Toppers, band, chorus and other organizations. Darlene Coonrod Knox and Connie Rutledge Mehos were two of the last majorettes with the DHS Band.


Wednesday morning as the women put together the time capsule and reminisced high school days they remembered Roger Hanson coming to direct the chorus and Henry Scott, now superintendent, coming to the school as baseball coach. “He had black hair then,” one commented. Harold Gentry was teaching biology, and Dr. Frances Willis, Mr. Ed Wilds, Mrs.Rosie Mayes, Mrs.Marie Miller, Mrs. Ruth Whitfield, Miss Ruth West, Miss Elizabeth Bledsoe and Misses Maggie and Romie Sommerville were remembered as favorite teachers.
Jeanette Taylor Auerbach, Suzanna Mosse Dreskin, and Tana Moore were on the yearbook staff and all decided that Robert Clark, who taught civics, was the cutest teacher. When the group toured the high school they were excited to see classmate Marva Sanders Lewis still working in the office. She took them on the tour of the school.


The class was the first to graduate in the new Eisenhower Auditorium and it was during their senior year that President John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. The last pep rally of the year had just finished on Nov. 22, 1964, when announcement came that President Kennedy had been shot. Charlotte Browder Shelton, who was devotions chairman at the school, was called when she got home and asked to prepare a devotion for Monday over the intercom. She said she worked on it all a weekend. Some thought that the last football game was canceled and others couldn’t remember.  A group was supposed to go to a Dallas speech tournament the next day, but everything was closed down and cancelled there.


All the women are either already 60 years old, or are facing that big day in the near future.  Accumulative, they have 37 children and 47 grandchildren. Calling themselves baby boomers, they said in school more teachers had to be added every year as they progressed through the grades.


The women have created interesting careers through the 42 years since graduation. Jeanette Taylor Auerbach is a docent with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in the Japanese wing and Suzanne Mosse Dreskin graduated from college the day before her 50th birthday and now teaches in Lewisville. Penney Ketcham Raines is an elementary principal at Texoma Christian School in Sherman.


Other careers have included marketing, an airline executive now with the IRS, an executive with the Social Security Administration, a 27 year secretary who was told by her typing teacher that she could never make a secretary, an accountant, homemaker, Realtor, landscape architect, an Exxon chemist, an accountant in securities and a business owner.


The time capsule was left in the care of the Denison Alumni Association to which most of the classmates belong. It will be opened in 2016 when the group gets together again.
Included in the capsule are a poem by Suzanna Mosse Dreskin “Reflections of a Baby Boomer Babe on Becoming 60”, a roll of pennies which may be extinct by the next gathering, postage stamps, a current gasoline receipt, stock market report, Herald Democrat, Shopper, grocery advertisements, TV Guide, real estate guide, clothes catalog, pizza coupons, an American flag, National Enquirer, Nell Porter’s book of timeless poem, the Eisenhower story that ran July 16 in the Herald Democrat, a grocery receipt, list of current books, a Boniva (bone density medication) box, an “aging to perfection” mirror and a crystal cross in honor of Amy Bryan, mother of classmate Ellen Bryan Voelzke, Mrs. Bryan passed away on Tuesday.


Joining in the three day event were Darlene Coonrod Knox of Walnut, CA; Mary Pat Porter Elledge of Murphy, TX; Carol Gladen Kinney of Mesquite; Patti Albright Harmon and Pam Ball Wray, both of Carrollton; Suzanne Mosse Dreskin of The Colony; Cecelia Mull Hausler of The Woodlands; Thetis Buford Thrasher of Rowlett; Kay Mack Simpson of Hoganville, GA; Jeanette Taylor Auerbach of Southbury CT; Barbara McBride Couch of Shreveport, LA; Jane Warriner Randall of Houston; and Charlotte Laughlin Williams of Lorona, WV.
Hometown girls attending were Connie Rutledge Mehos, Ellen Bryan Voelzke, Charlotte Browder Shelton, Penny Ketchum Raines, Marva Sanders Phillips, Karyl Oaks Welch, Polly Cole Staley, Mary Simms Glenn and Mary Rucker Fitts.


The gathering was a reunion of sorts for Darlene Coonrod Knox and this writer. Mrs. Knox’s mother was leader of the Camp Fire Girl group made up of this writer, Alice Smith Schick, Patsy Christman Hampton and others at Central Elementary School in the late 1940s. Darlene was the three year old that tagged along. - Donna Hunt

 

This poem, "Reflections of a Baby Boomer Babe on Becoming 60" was written by Suzanna Mosse Dreskin of The Colony for the Gals of the 1964 DHS graduating class's 60th birthday party in July 2006.

 

Life is full of unexpected, unforeseen surprises--

Triple chins, tri-focal lenses, former self disguises.

 

WHO KNEW the tricks Mother Nature would play on us;

Graying hair, droopy lids and a mustache like a walrus.

 

Who's that in the mirror who looks just like my mother?

Who resembles the photo in a Before Botox disclosure?

 

What happened to my curves in all the right places?

Why does it seem so far down when I tie my shoe laces?

 

Somehow this isn't how I pictured "Happy Ever After"--

Divorced, disgruntled and addicted to the TV zapper.

 

But for every wrinkle on the roadmap of this Boomer's face

Knowledge and experience have been etched in place.

 

Although wisdom seems to come at mighty hefty prices,

To live, to love, to serve God above are worth my sacrifices.

 

Don't fret, don't frown, don't put yourself down, Boomers,

Our stories are far from done.

We'll get old LATER, not sooner, my friends,

And the best is yet to come.

 

So seize the day without delay, celebrate and take a bow:

Old Age is always 15 years more than you are right now!

 

Happy 60th birthday, all you bodacious Baby Boomer Babes!

 

 

 

 

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