Former Two-Room School Students Convene in Waterloo _ by Bob Friend
“Wow! Is that really you? It’s been over 50 years since we last spoke!” Comments like this were frequent in Waterloo’s Francis Thomson Park on Saturday, June 13, 2009, where former students reminisced at the Richland Township Schools Reunion.
Over the years since my boyhood in rural DeKalb County, I had often wondered whether it would be possible to find enough of my fellow “old-timers” to have a get-together. Earlier this year, in an e-mail exchange, a fellow Waterloo High School and West Richland School classmate, Janis (Myers) Sproat (now of rural Butler) asked me what I thought about staging such an event -- and that was all it took to get the ball rolling.
During the months leading up to the reunion, Janis and I worked diligently to locate and contact alumni from East Richland, West Richland and Corunna. Since I live quite a distance away (northwest of Chicago), I concentrated on such things as media contacts, e-mail communications and designing the promotional flyers, which Janis had printed locally and then posted in various supermarkets, churches, libraries, etc. In addition, she called many people personally, and I performed numerous Internet searches with some success. Although not everyone we reached was able to attend, we were pleased with the turnout -- approximately 75 (plus spouses and other guests).
An adjunct event was a tour of the old East Richland School, now owned by Don and Pam Sebert, of Auburn. (Don spent grades 1~8 at East Richland; our first encounter was some 50 years ago when, as a member of West Richland’s softball-team, I pitched to him!) After I shot group photos at Thomson Park, a number of attendees drove to a well planned open house hosted by Pam. This is the only one (of the three old schools) still standing, and the exterior is pretty much the same as at the time of its construction (1914). West Richland’s roof collapsed some years ago, and the building today is largely rubble. At Corunna a monument now marks the site of the old school.
(See < http://fotobyfriend.smugmug.com/gallery/2967601_HwGqB/1/160485530_5WM2n/Large
and < http://fotobyfriend.smugmug.com/gallery/2967427_bNW3q/2/160473772_FLXYE/Large
Many expressions of heartfelt appreciation were expressed to Janis and me for organizing this event. But others contributed as well, especially Janis’s husband Ron, along with Connie (Roop) Combs and her husband Claude. Janis and I are also thankful to all those who attended -- some coming from far and wide -- to be able to reconnect with their old classmates.
I hope you -- and those who could not attend -- enjoy these photos. If you see a picture you want to buy, just double-click on it and then click on "buy: this photo"; to purchase more than one pic, click on "buy: multiple photos." This service is offered as a courtesy, without obligation. You are also welcome to save this link and simply look at the pix -- which will continue to be viewable free online for the foreseeable future. A final note re the GROUP PICTURES: All three photos are shown four ways -- original, 5x7, 8x10 and 4x8. I did this so that if you want to order you will not have to worry about proper cropping -- it’s already done. Thanks again for attending -- maybe we can do this again sometime!
ALSO, I WILL BE ADDING MORE DETAILED CAPTIONS AS TIME PERMITS.
--Bob Friend (aka Little Bobby of Fike’s Corners and Kirk’s Hill)
(West Richland 1953-'59; Waterloo 1959-'65)
Robert E. Friend _ 512 Greenview Dr. _ Wauconda IL 60084-2555
PHONE FAX: 847-487-6535 _ CELL: 708-860-1123 _ E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org