JT's Blog

Things that interest me, things that happened to me, things that I like, even some things that I don't like...

Those Other Classmates

While I was searching yearbooks for Nancy Oberly, it occurred to me that I had another set of classmates of whose fates I had no idea. That is, I went to kindergarten in 1954-55 in Wernersville, PA, and to first and second grades the following years in Womelsdorf, PA, both part of the Conrad Weiser alliance of western Berks County. So could I at least track those classmates’ progress through the rest of their school years?

Yes and no.

There’s no picture of the kindergarten class in the 1955 Weicon yearbook, and the only two classmates I recall from there are Beth Erwin (who was also in the first and second grade classes, and if I recall correctly, her mother had a baby clothing shop on High Street) and Allen Nagle (our family doctor’s son). But the 1956 Weicon does have a photo of our first grade class. I used to have that yearbook, but it’s long since been lost. Happily, the classmates site has an acceptable facsimile of it.

My first grade class. Notice James Eagelman, the tallest kid in the class, in the back row. James Garrett is in the second row next to our teacher, Mrs. Ray, and I’m a couple kids to the right with an expression on my face that seems to say “What am I doing here?” Notice Tommy Rhine at the far right in the first row. He was the shortest guy in the class, and thanks to kids like him, I grew up not realizing I was rather short myself.

Unhappily, that was the last year that the Weicon yearbook included photos of grades one through six, so that somewhat limited my tracking abilities.

I can recall about half the kids in that class, although only two of them, James Eagelman and James Garrett, really stand out in my memories, possibly because we shared the same first name. I might write up a couple little anecdotes about them sometime.

Anyway once I got to the 1962 yearbook, when those kids were in seventh grade, I discovered several things. First, I could still recognize most of the kids that I remembered, and nearly half the kids were no longer there, including James Eagelman. I wonder what happened to him. His father was a veterinarian; did the family just pick up and move? By the way, Eagelman hated the name “James” and insisted that once he got old enough, he was going to change it legally to “Jimmy”. I wonder if he ever followed through on that?

When I got to the Conrad Weiser Class of 1967 graduation pictures, I was instantly able to pick out Richard Behney, Barry Boyer, and Susan Schaeffer without checking their names. And whaddaya know? Susan Schaeffer went to Penn State? If I had known, I would have tried to contact her. Maybe we were in some of the same classes. Although if she went to study Home Economics, maybe not.

Then there are the kids that I no longer recognized, like Beth Erwin, Aldeena Firestone, James Garrett, Candace Hoover, Allen Nagle, and Suzanne Wells.

I recall running into Aldeena Firestone at a Richland Carnival a couple years after second grade, and we had a nice long talk. Also, when I was in maybe fifth grade, I saw Candy Hoover again at a roller rink. Other than that, I don’t think I ever saw any of those classmates again. Several years later in the early 70s, I worked briefly with Doug Hoover, Candy’s younger brother, at the yarn factory on 422.

There were some delightful surprises, such as discovering that Beth Erwin was selected the Class Clown and Barry Boyer was the Best Dancer. Who knew?

Should anyone from the Conrad Weiser Class of 1967 come across this blog post, please let me know. I’d love to hear from you.

Oh, and one more thing. Seeing that yearbook answered another question: “Whatever happened to David Stites?”