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Sparta High School Class of 1961 61st Class Reunion

As alerts go, this is kind of a big one, especially if you are a ‘lost’ member of the Sparta High School class of 1961. You are being alerted that you have a 61st class reunion on Saturday, July 9, at 12 pm. Find Rogers Park and you’ve found the reunion. Contact Linda (Irish) Liscombe gmalll@hotmail.com to see if this is all true.

Another classmate sending the alert is Janice (Tawney) Hardy. She and Linda met recently and discussed reunions in general, theirs in particular, and what elementary, jr. high, and high school life was like as the 40’s became the 50’s, which became the 60’s. “We did this last year. Rogers Park was ideal. We sat at picnic tables, wandered around to talk-we had such a good time and we want to do it again,” offered Janice. “Plus, we couldn’t resist meeting as a class of ’61 for a 61st reunion!”

“We also passed the hat to buy a brick for the Sparta Sports Park-it should be put in place for this season,” Linda adds. “If it’s warm enough at Rogers this year, we’ll even hit the splash pad! And…picking up after ourselves, when we were done last year, we made sure that the grounds were cleaner than when things started.”

This group entered school in 1948, some in country schools and some at the elementary off North Union Street. Janice, as the last student on her bus route, remembers having to stand on the bottom step of the bus all the way to school. Downtown Sparta in their jr. high years brought recollections of the Five & Dime Ben Franklin Store, Wolf’s & Momber’s Drugs (cherry cokes), and the Sparta Theater. Janice recalls her dad tracing her feet, then coming back from the shoe store with a perfect-fitting pair of shoes. Linda remembers ‘ice box day’ as her dad took her to the ice locker to get a block for their ice box at home.

There were 120 classmates then, there are around 80 alive now. In a class that size, “everyone got to know everyone. It’s not like a school where 600 students graduate in a class every year,” says Linda. “Recalling memories, reminiscing, that’s what you do at a reunion. What happened in school, guys talking about football games, women-only 6 of us talking about health, covid matters, things like that. A vivid high school memory I have is of VY Tuttle. I became deathly afraid of him when, in his lecture hall, I had to record my name on a particular desk. I put my name on the wrong desk and thought I was in big trouble!”

After laughing about the fears of her freshman friend, Janice points out that they started their junior year at the new high school (now 62 years later, the Sparta Early Childhood Center). She remembers her class as the first to learn typing on electric typewriters-QWERTY! “I also remember the senior play, Our Town. I think half of the class was in it-we had a great time!” About a month before graduation, on May 5, many gathered in the new student center around the tv to watch Alan Shepard become the first American to travel into space. When asked about graduation memories and their commencement speaker, Janice responds, “I don’t remember his name, just that he seemed to be a long-winded politician!”

Linda and Janice would love to see you at their class reunion, so find a way to get to them. gmalll@hotmail.com Who wouldn’t want to sit down on Saturday, July 9, at 12 pm at Rogers Park to break bread (pot luck), maybe take in the splash pad, and reminisce among those with whom you have shared so much!

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