“MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS”
55TH REUNION OF THE AHHS CLASS OF 1956
ALOHA!—What a beautiful greeting our Hawaiian brothers and sisters have added to our language. It can mean both “Hello” and “Goodbye,” but also expresses feelings of affection, love, peace, and compassion. These were only some of the sentiments so often expressed to one another at our 55th Class Reunion. As usual, the weekend was over all too soon. But, during those precious hours we did re-connect with so many of those who played a major role during one of the most important times of our lives. We realize that there were many reasons that some of you could not join us. Hopefully, this retrospective on the weekend and the pictures now on Facebook (and eventually on our Web Site) will make all of you feel that you were a part of our wonderful time together in Frankenmuth.
Our first event, the Golf Outing at The Fortress, began with a bit of a glitch. Matt Spence and Bill Leser had arranged for a lovely buffet luncheon in the outdoor pavilion of the golf course prior to the shotgun start of the golf scramble. Unfortunately, earlier this year the computer system at The Fortress crashed and the part of our reservation that dealt with the luncheon got lost in the shuffle. However, the management of The Fortress acknowledged that the error was theirs and they then went “above and beyond” to apologize. Not only did they provide us with a substitute lunch at no cost, but they also waived the entire cost of 18 holes of golf plus a cart for each participant! Needless to say, everyone left with positive feelings about The Fortress, which is really one of Michigan’s great golf courses.
Friday evening found classmates at The Frankenmuth Brewery located on the banks of the beautiful Cass River. We got to enjoy one of the most beautiful views in town while sharing an “All-You-Can-Eat Buffet” that included 3 kinds of pizza, some of The Brewery’s “Signature Appetizers,” cheese and crackers, and trays full of fresh fruit and veggies. Of course the Brewery’s locally brewed beer was also available for purchase. Tunes from the fifties played softly in the background as everyone viewed the beautifully-crafted picture boards provided by Fran and Ron Martin. All evening long folks drifted from table to table playing “catch-up” with old friends, some of whom they hadn’t seen in 55 years! Cash prizes were awarded to some who participated in the Golf Outing. Many were delighted to win door prizes which included Frankenmuth Brewery tee shirts, CD’s of music from the 50's, and the evening’s Grand Prize, 18 holes of golf for two at The Fortress, which was won by Pat Cay Zill. Thanks to Tom Pugh and his committee, Friday night was a total success and enjoyed by all.
Most of those who stayed in Frankenmuth chose to sleep in Saturday morning. Following a late breakfast many enjoyed shopping excursions to such places as Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland and Frankenmuth’s River Place. Attendees put to good use the maps and booklets obtained from The Visitor’s Center by Hospitality Chairperson, Gladys Frank Utter.
Gladys also provided everyone with Coupon Books that gave all the opportunity to save money or obtain special gifts with a purchase at a variety of Frankenmuth businesses. Some cruised the Cass River while others enjoyed horse-drawn carriage rides throughout the beautifully landscaped streets of the city. Numerous classmates stayed with friends and family members still living in the area.
On Saturday evening almost everyone donned Hawaiian shirts, muumuus, and other casual, colorful garb for the weekend’s main event, The Luau Reunion Secretary, Betty Schafer Guenther, greeted everyone at the Registration Desk where all were presented with silk flower leis and name tags. The Composer Rooms at the Bavarian Inn Lodge had been transformed into a tropical paradise complete with a tall wooden Tiki to greet everyone at the door. Shiny green palm trees centered each oval table made even more colorful by the Hibiscus covered mint cups centered by pink flamingoes. Many thanks to Lynn Ahrens and her committee who did the decorating for the luau.
During the Social Hour all enjoyed a variety of hors d’oeuvres served by the strolling wait staff. It was a good time to visit with those who did not attend the Friday events. Prior to the beginning of the buffet, M.C. Jim Schadt introduced Class President, Ron Martin, who welcomed everyone. A moment of silence was held in memory of our departed classmates. Class Secretary, Mary Wilcox Princing, delivered the invocation during which we were reminded how fortunate we were to grow up where we did and when we did. (The invocation is printed in its entirety elsewhere on this Web Site.}
Dinner began with a crab and shrimp cocktail. Guests then were escorted to the Hawaiian Buffet which featured marinated pork au jus, coconut chicken, fried shrimp, and the Bavarian Inn Lodge’s famous Frankenmuth chicken. Other items included fried rice, stir-fry vegetables, small white potatoes, and warm garlic rolls. The meal concluded with an orange coconut torte and coffee.
Following dinner, M.C. Jim Schadt took us on a nostalgic trip down “Memory Lane,” recalling the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Saginaw we knew as teenagers. He shared memories of our days at Arthur Hill. Jim also recounted his last visit with our classmate, John Schwartze, who died shortly after visiting Jim at his home in Connecticut. We were all reminded that we cannot take tomorrow for granted and that we need to tell those whom we love how much they mean to us while that opportunity exists. Jim ended his presentation by introducing Dave Thompson who led the group in the singing of the “Arthur Hill Alma Mater.”
Throughout the evening we were entertained by the music of Ron O’Neil who amazed us with his many vocal and instrumental talents as a “One Man Band.” Many enjoyed dancing to tunes that took us back in time to the 50's, when the songs had pleasant melodies and the lyrics were meaningful. Throughout the evening classmates visited and revisited the Memory Boards, one of which included pictures of our departed classmates. Pictures from our childhood and days at Arthur Hill were included as were pictures from previous reunions. Thanks to Barbara Nash Ewend , Luau Chairperson, and her assistants from the rest of the Reunion Committee, the evening was absolutely perfect. We also want to add our thanks to Annabelle Grainger, wife of classmate David Grainger. Annabelle has been of great help to Lynn Ahrens who runs our Web Site; she also was there to lend a hand with decorating the banquet room for the luau. Thanks, Annabelle. Consider yourself an honorary member of the Class of ‘56.
We stayed until the music ended at 11:00 p.m. The Picture Boards were once again encased in plastic. They have been put to rest under the king-size bed in our guest room where they will remain until 2016 when we hope to celebrate our 60th class reunion. It is the sincere wish of the Reunion Committee that you will choose to join us at that time. Perhaps you have NEVER come to a reunion ~ for several classmates the 55th was their first time. I’d like to share a comment from one such classmate who told me several times during the weekend, “I’m so glad we came. Everyone is so nice!” If you were with us, you know that statement is true. If you weren’t here, why not consider coming in 2016? We’d really love to see you again!
In closing, please remember to keep our Secretary, Betty Schafer Guenther, informed of any changes in your address. You may e-mail Betty at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
ALOHA–we hope to see you in 2016!
Joann Klemm Frank, Reunion Chairperson