Unofficial Class Reunions

I think I’ve run into more classmates this visit than any other, just by the luck of the draw. It started out with the Class of 1961 and its 50th Reunion. Then, I got a call from frequent contributor Keith Robinson, who said he was in town from Kansas City. (I let him slip away without getting a photo of him, drat.)

Shari Stiver came down from St. Louis over the weekend and she, her mother and I roamed around Cape and Perry Counties in search of interesting things. The low water level on the Mississippi River let us go out on an old quarry south of Tower Rock that is usually covered by eight or 10 feet of water.

Terry Hopkins

Monday, former earth science teacher, ham radio operator, pilot and first teacher I ever called by a first name, Ernie Chiles, and Terry Hopkins from the Class of ’66 shared lunch at Mario’s Pasta House. I didn’t bother to shoot a photo of Ernie because, except for being a bit grayer, he looks just like he did when he was standing in front of a class at Central. You can click on Terry’s photo to make it larger. Terry wrote a touching piece about how important the Capaha Park Pool was to him when he was growing up.

Ernie’s plane is sick

The weather has been great for flying, so I was hoping to refresh my stash of aerials, but Ernie says his plane is down having a carburetor rebuilt. I recall that he was having to play with the mixture a bit on our last flight because the engine kept sputtering.

“I’ve never left anybody up there,” he said, reassuringly.

Reminds me of the time I was flying in the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s helicopter and we suddenly dropped like a rock to a not-so-soft landing on the beach. “What was THAT all about, Andy?” I asked the pilot.

“See that red warning light. That detects flakes of metal in the transmission. Sometimes that means nothing. Sometimes that means the thing that keeps that big fan over our head turning is chewing itself to bits. You’re better off if you figure out if it’s something or nothing while sitting on the ground.” We got a ride back in a squad car and the chopper got a ride back on a flatbed truck.

Pat Sommers

Pat Sommers and I were debate partners. I’ve written about Pat before, much to his chagrin. What you do in high school can come back to haunt you if your friend is a pack rat photographer.

While we were trading war stories about debates won and lost, Pat reminisced about the feeling of power he had when he was waving the gavel around after being elected Speaker of the House when we went to the State Student Congress. (I was elected Outstanding Senator or Representative.)

Central had a showing much stronger than what our numbers would have led you to believe possible. It came about because we put together a coalition of all the smaller schools to challenge the numerical superiority of the metro areas of St. Louis and Kansas City. That, or we just got lucky.

All this socializing is playing the dickens with my work schedule, but it’s been fun catching up with old friends.


12 Replies to “Unofficial Class Reunions”

  1. Terry Hopkins looks good for his age and is Pat Sommers wearing a “rug”? Good to see pictures of both, I remember them well..

    1. I haven’t seen hair in the mirror since my 20s, so I’m a poor judge.

      I’m gonna vote for real.

      We had a local Florida politician who had what everybody speculated was either a bad toupee or a skunk living on top his head. The photographers had a pool for the first guy who could capture it flying down the street on a windy day, but nobody was able to collect.

  2. Bert thanks for nice words…but Pat looks good too, notice Ken cropped the picture where Pat is giving the finger to the world, as usual! and his it’s not a rug..still the real stuff…
    I was nice in Cape yesterday, but we Floridian’s wear jackets or sweatshirts when is gets below 75 or 80 degrees and it was 67 degrees in Cape a near perfect day in Mo. in the fall. But COLD for Floridian’s and in Pat’s case a South Georgian….
    Bert next time let’s meet up! Hopefully I will have a little more warning next time I come up to Cape!
    returning to Florian on the airbus (Southwest) at Noon ish

  3. Terry, when you say,”we Floridians”, don’t include this one ,as I have been since I left Cape 50 years ago for Florida, and I still go in my shirt sleeves in 50% temps. I’m spending a few weeks in West Va. and am enjoying this cool weather but I will be heading bacc to Florida, probably this next week-end. At least , from the reports I’ve seen, it’s staying in the 70’s & 80’s down there now, so I guess I can hack that!
    Joe Whitright “classw of 45”

  4. Joe, exception noted for hot blooded northern types living in the sunshine state. The sweatshirt felt pretty good…or maybe I am getting old. Or as a Floridian my blood has thinned out…but I never liked cold weather or even cool weather, maybe that is why I live in Floria!

  5. Ken has a valid excuse for not getting a picture of me; I am too much on the move. Since he saw me two weeks ago, I have already been back to Kansas City, then to Watertown, S.D. and back, Springfield, Mo and back to KC and am presently sitting at the computer at my dad’s house in Cape again, but going up to St Louis yet tonight. I almost feel like a busy bee flying from the hive to flower after flower then back to the hive.

  6. Burt,

    That is perfectly OK, been getting that accusation for 30 years. I still have to get it thinned every time I get a haircut otherwise it gets so thick I can’t comb it. I guess I have the genes from my mother’s side of the family to thank.

  7. Burt,
    If I remember correctly you were thinning back in the day. Terry Darter and I had the big hair but like all things in life that get older I use a multi multi tooth comb. Not being from Cape I went to school there on the advice of my brother Tim,SEMO class of 71. Some of the best memories of my youth are from Cape. I don’t know how I found this website but I do enjoy it immensely
    Ken. Keep up the good work!!!!

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