Jim O'Leary

Waverly Star

By Jim O'Leary

An e-mail newsletter for and about Waverly people, used with permission in the HLW Herald and on this web site.

August 25, 2001

Mary Galvin Coyne made the mistake of taking a potty break during her recent class reunion, and was therefore selected during her unexplained absence to write up the reunion and mail it to me for The Waverly Star.

Here is Mary's account:

"On Monday, Aug. 6, the St. Mary's High School class of 1947 held a reunion at Buffalo's Mill Creek Inn.

"Organizing this event didn't begin until Friday, Aug. 3, when Arleen Stumpf Peterson and Eleanor Diers Boltz began making arrangements. There was almost perfect attendance on this very short notice.

"Those who came were Eleanor Diers Boltz, Cyril Dressen, Mary Galvin Coyne, Lorraine Karels Zachman, Joan McHale Berners, Jean Meehan Bengston, Alice O'Connell, Teresa Reardon Zeleny, George Stackhard, Cletus Stifter, Arleen Stumpf Peterson, and Mary Zeller Grotz.

"Our calling committee failed to reach Mary Copeland (Sister St. Luke, CSJ) and she was very much missed at this reunion.

"Three classmates have gone on to their eternal rewards, and they were respectfully remembered. They are Ann Althoff Neaton, Virginia Berkner Cullen, and Bob Sawatzke. Spouses who have passed on are Carl Bengston and Leon Zachman.

"After 54 years of reunions, our spouses have become very good friends with each other, and look forward to the get-togethers as much as the classmates themselves.

"Spouses in attendance this time were Elroy Boltz, Mary Ann Dressen (Class of '51), Marty Coyne, Joe Zeleny, Wally Peterson, and Wally Grotz.

"Visiting began at 3 p.m., and the afternoon was spent renewing friendships, reminiscing, and enjoying one humorous account after another of our days at St. Mary's, although grandchildren and health problems seemed to be the main topics.

"The day together was good therapy for all of us, no matter what our health problems were.

"The class of 1947 was unique in many ways. For one thing, it was the largest graduating class up until that time. We have probably had more reunions than any other class.

"Everyone in the class has made great contributions to his or her parish and community. While nobody in the class is rich or famous, at the same time, nobody in the class is in jail.

"None of us ever was divorced, either, so it seems we all made good choices.

"Our life's work has taken us down many different paths, all successful, but none of us has ever forgotten our humble beginnings in Waverly.

"God has really blessed us with many good friends, not the least of whom are our classmates and their spouses.

"After dinner, the loud farewells were 'Same time next year!'

"We all want to thank Arleen and Eleanor for bringing us together this time.

Mary Galvin Coyne, 1842 Alameda Street, St. Paul, MN 55113-6532; (651) 481-2375; e-mail: coyneone@aol.com

45th high school reunion

Regular readers will know Peggy Keener as the writer who took the trouble to tour Waverly just to see for herself if it was "as great a town as the O'Leary boys made it out to be."

Her subsequent column nearly got me into a lawsuit with Rocky's, since she commented on Rocky's questionable (to her) status with the Minnesota Health Department.

I think Rocky's has calmed down some since a picture of their building was published in the last edition.

Here is her account of her high school class reunion in Austin, Minn.:

"Just to let you know that I am back home after a gloriously glorious experience. So much fun and so many good old friends to update with.

"As much moving around as I did in my adult life, there was another part of my existence where I was born and grew up, all in the same town with the same people. And they were all my rediscoveries and absolute delights this past weekend.

"It is utterly fascinating to hear what people have done with their lives. In our case, what 400 'kids' have sailed or trudged through in the past 45 years.

"We all looked pretty darned old, but we all looked pretty darned old together.

"There were only two of us who chose to wear dresses with no sleeves (in other words, had the audacity or blind vanity to show their upper arms). Upper arms and its accompanying dingle-dangle factor were kind of a measuring stick for us girls . . . if you know what I mean.

"My, oh my, but a reunion is an event. Let me tell you that it is thoroughly mind-blowing and very taxing trying to remember all 400 different faces (which are now wrinkly and saggy), their names, and your association with them in grade school through high school.

"It's also really interesting, as well as bewildering, to hear the stories people tell you about yourself that you have forgotten. You go away from that kind of wondering just where that part of your mental collection has gone.

"We now have five years to recover for the next one, the 50th. I think I will volunteer to make name cards for that event.

"I will put each person's high school photo, not a current photo you understand, on the card. It will be blown up for easy viewing, and the name in huge, block letters which are easy to read from 12-inches away. I also will use only the maiden names, since nobody has the extra brain cells or energy left to learn another name for all the females.

"I also did suggest that for the 50th, we might be able to work up a rhythm band using our walkers.

Love, Peggy"

The queens of Waverly

Last Friday, I had the great privilege of joining the local royalty at their noon repast. We were in the August ambience of Bill's Grill on what used to be Highway 12.

"The Yellowstone Trail" is now a dust bowl, and will be unavailable until its reconstruction is completed, some time into the next millennium.

The workers I saw made the WPA look like high energy folks. Us kids used to holler "We poke along" at the poor guys back during the great depression, but I was afraid to holler anything at those dudes lurking outside Bill's Grill, leaning on their shovels.

I asked the royalty if they would mind if I included their names in my "Waverly Star," and one of them responded that they indeed did need the publicity.

I had their permission to write up my encounter, with only one qualification. They did not want their ages published, even though the present Queen Mother of England herself is a proud 101.

These ladies, truth be told, are not far behind. Let us just state that their collective wisdom approaches four hundred years.

Thank you, Your Highnesses, not only for giving us, as your sons and daughters, the princes and princesses of Minnesota, but for your own gracious presence among us.

These four marvelous ladies dine and plan together every Friday at Bill's Grill.

They are: Genevieve Le Page Lamb, Clare McHale, Martha Fitzpatrick, and Catherine Campion.

If God is good, I will be there with them soon again. I might even pick up the tab.

My reward

This is what it's all about. This week, I heard from a former stranger, and now friend, named Cheryl Ford.

She wrote: "I lived in Winsted from 1977 to 1988 and attended Howard Lake-Waverly High School, graduating in 1983. My name at the time was Cheryl Karstens.

"After graduation from college in 1988, I moved to Phoenix, Ariz., mostly to get away from the snow and cold.

"I read the Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal/Howard Lake-Waverly Herald on the Internet every week to keep up with things.

"In reading your 'Waverly Star' column dated Aug. 18, I was very surprised to read about Hazel Ollig, as I live at 4913 E. Mitchell Drive in Phoenix and she's at 4929 E. Mitchell Drive, just doors away.

"What a small world!

Cheryl Ford. e-mail: gcford@qwest.net"

The wisdom of Will Rogers

· Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.

· If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there.

· If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around.

· Never kick a cow chip on a hot day.

· There's two theories to arguing with a woman. Neither one works.

· If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.

· Never slap a man who's chewing tobacco.

· Never miss a good chance to shut up.

· Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

· Always drink upstream from the herd.

· There are three kinds of men:

1. The ones that learn by reading.

2. The few who learn by observation.

3. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.


Back to Waverly Star menu
Howard Lake-Waverly Herald & Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal
Stories | Columns | Obituaries
Community Guides | Special Topics | Cool Stuff | Search | Home Page