Peaks Mill Class of 1943 gathers each month for 'reunion'

By PHILIP CASE State Journal Columnist Published:

A couple of years ago members of the Peaks Mill High School class of 1943 recognized the only time they were getting together was when someone died.

"We decided that at the next one (funeral), one of us wasn't going to be there," said Victor Johnson, a member of the class. "That's when we agreed to get together every month ... as long as we're able!"

His fellow classmates, their spouses and other family members, laugh affably at Johnson's explanation, all gathered around a long table in the private dining room at Shoney's last Thursday night. They meet there or at another local restaurant every month now, on the last Thursday.

One month from today, on May 28, the nine surviving members of the 14-member class will celebrate another anniversary in their common journey. Walking across that stage on that warm spring night so many decades ago, the young men knew what the immediate future held for them.

"With the country in the midst of war," said Ed Strohmeier, "we knew where we were going. All nine of the boys went into the service."

"And all returned home safely," said Sally Rice, the valedictorian. "None was even wounded."

The class was the first to complete all four years and graduate from what the members call the "new Peaks Mill School," which has now been replaced by a newer Peaks Mill School. They'd studied together in grades 1-8 in the old frame school house which was in front of the modern brick structure opened in 1939.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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