Alumni relive youth at multiclass reunion
Members of three classes remembered the old days at Rayen.
By GAIL WHITE
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- When The Rayen School classes of 1935, 1936 and 1937 had a joint reunion in the Liberty Room at the Holiday Inn MetroPlex Friday afternoon, 22 alumni were in attendance.
"We're the babies," said Bob Leedy, from the class of 1937.
His classmate Joe Newman was acting like a juvenile, walking around with his name tag stuck to his forehead.
His big sister, Mary Edwards, class of 1935, gave him a reproving look.
"She's an old lady," Leedy chided.
Seventy years after high school graduation, when these octogenarians get together, they act like teenagers all over again.
"The minute they walked in the room it was like they were back in high school," said Barbara Cantwell, attending the reunion with her mother, Sally Cantwell Barnes from the class of 1937. "You can see it on their faces."
Indeed, as the classmates sat around tables enjoying their meals, their smiles showed how happy they were to see one another.
Dom Rosselli, president of the class of 1935 and noted Youngstown State University coach, stood up to speak. "At our age, it's wonderful to see anybody, let alone all of you!"
He went on to share his special feelings for his alma mater, "I consider it a great honor to have graduated from The Rayen School."
Reminiscing, he said, "My brother and I used to sneak into football games."
Mary Funcheon Morrison nudged the classmate next to her, "We all did that."
Before introducing the next speaker, master of ceremonies Tony Tucci, class of 1935, shared a story about his high school friend, "Dom and I grew up in the old Smoky Hollow, that tough old neighborhood. I have known him my whole life."
Tucci went on to share one of his favorite football memories of Rosselli, an athletic standout in school.
Bill Cruikshank, president of the class of 1936, welcomed his classmates to the reunion and declared, "We're the youngest looking class."
Showing their age
Leedy rose to speak to the classmates of 1937. After a humorous introduction, he announced, "I forgot what I was going to say. I guess that's common when you're 86 years old."
During lunch, Jeanne Graham leaned over to her friend and said, "I couldn't get over how old everybody looks."
At another table, Hazel Robison Schotten echoed Jeanne's sentiments, "I look in the mirror. How did I get this old?"
Nancy Brocket Tod was catching up with her high school girlfriend Judy Strausbaugh Patrick. When asked if they knew each other in grade school, the two women looked at each other questioningly. Nancy answered, "I think we did."
When you've lived more than 85 years, the first 10 can become a little fuzzy.
While the classes may argue over which one is the best looking, they all agree that school is different now than when they attended.
Vince Nilsson, class of 1936, noted the lack of paddling in today's schools.
Cruikshank, a retired principal, believes his classmates had more respect for their teachers.
Tod believes the morals are totally different now.
Milly Hammitt Bloomquist remembers playing sports with the boys. "I spent my time in the gym."
Morrison nudged her friend, and with a giggle said, "We spent our time hanging out outside the gym."
The classmates reminisced about football games that cost 25 cents to attend, baby-sitting for 50 cents, and buying Isaly's ice cream Skyscraper cones for 5 cents.
The end of the reunion was celebrated with a balloon launch. Classmates put their names and addresses on orange and black helium balloons and set them free.
All of the tags were marked with the graduation year. So anyone who finds a balloon will know if it is from an "old" or "young" graduate.