OK, since you asked.... I was invited to France to play a piano concert in Charlieu, Burgundy, in late March. Charlene (Punky Milliken) Lambert came all the way from her home in The Netherlands to hear the concert! We had a wonderful reunion, and I attach a photo of the two of us flanking our French friend Dominique, who hosted us at a very special luncheon in my honor on the day of the concert.
Diana Egbers Fanning
A TRIBUTE TO DORIS OSMOND
Those of us who were lucky enough to have Mrs. Osmond for a teacher were very fortunate indeed. And most of us knew it. I think quite a number of her teenage students got along better with her than with their parents. In fact, calling her “Mrs. Osmond” didn’t seem enough to reflect the relationship. So the students usually found something else to call her. In my generation – the first half of the 60s – it was “Momma O.” Sometimes we just called her “O”. But just “Momma” didn’t seem to cut it.
Doris had students. She had LOTS of students. Whereas most high school teachers see maybe 125 students a day, she had a daily roster of between 200 and 300, especially if you include after school choirs and rehearsals. And she had a long and distinguished teaching career. So there are many, many people out in the world today who were touched by her.
Because of what she taught, classes and activities with Mrs. Osmond were more of a collaborative effort. In most classes the teacher teaches and the students, one hopes, absorb. But with singing, performing, acting and producing we were all in it together – teacher and students working collectively to come up with something that was both pleasing and of a high caliber. And because we students and Doris simply spent more time together we bonded more strongly, with each other and with her.
But she didn’t let us get away with too much – she still ruled the classroom, but did it with a combination of humor, discipline and love. Things did get a little bit wild and loose in class from time to time, but if somebody crossed the line, he or she (usually “he”) got “THE LOOK”. Pseudo stern face with one eyebrow raised. That was the signal to get back to business.
Doris always wanted to put out a quality product – tastefully chosen material, performed with feeling and accuracy. Who can forget the dozens of operettas she produced year after year, with students competing vigorously to claim a part, a few lines or a place in the chorus in her productions? How many teachers can say that their students were climbing all over each other to participate in classroom activities? She can.
The operettas were major productions, with huge casts and large stage choruses, as she wanted to give as many people as possible a chance to be in
them. Of course, I have a personal fondness for “The Music Man” and “My Fair Lady”, but there were years and years of great ones. The first one I saw, as a 7th grader, was given in the Junior High gym. It was “Annie Get Your Gun.” I remember coming back home from college to see my brother Ross in “Kiss Me Kate.” I had never seen “Kiss Me Kate” before, and it was so great and so funny that I went back to see it again the next night. I have never seen a subsequent version of that show that I enjoyed as much as that Hinsdale High School production. I went back in other years to see her later shows, including “The New Moon” and, her personal favorite, “Brigadoon.”
Beyond the operettas there were state contests, Boys’ and Girls’ choirs, Madrigals, octets and, in the later years, singing tours to Europe. Those must have been something. Alas for me, they were after my time.
But what better way was there to start your school day each day than singing in Concert Choir with Momma O? Whatever miseries you were facing that day – algebra test, dialogs in French class, or wrestling in gym class – you could handle going to school in the knowledge that you would at least start off with some good times.
Doris was a legend long before she retired, she is a legend now and will be one as long as any of her thousands of students are around to remember, to reminisce, and to be satisfied that Mrs. Osmond made them the best singers, the best performers and the best people they could be, and that she changed their lives for the better.
Thank you, Momma O.
April 16, 2008
Remember the carnival every summer at Robbins Park below Madison School? My family lived just a block away, so my sisters, Kathy and Mary Ruth, and I would bike around the field's perimeter in late June, looking for signs of life in what seemed at the time a vast, empty green canvas awaiting inspired strokes from the powers that be.
Finally, the caravan of trucks arrived and workers started pulling out all the metal, canvas and wooden parts that would transform the expanse into a tangy gumbo of rockin' rides and game-booths, sodas and cotton candy, stuffed pandas and straw hats, tanned skin, stolen kisses and laughter.
Mary Ruth hated the Ferris wheel. Kathy and I always talked her into going on, promising her we wouldn't rock the seat when we reached the top. But once there, we couldn't resist swinging as hard as we could, and she would scream so loud parents in the crowd below would look up, mouths open, hands shading their brows, fearing someone's child was about to plummet. Afterwards, Kathy and I swore we'd never do it again. But we kept it up until the three of us were too big to fit into one seat.
No matter, she always forgave us. And by the Fourth of July, we were side by side making deviled eggs and mini ham-and-Swiss-cheese sandwiches for Uncle John and Grandma who always came to visit that day. All afternoon, we'd run back and forth between the carnival and our front porch where Grandma was staked out in a lawn chair. Nibbling Chex party mix and sipping 7 Up, she waited for dusk, when the fireworks began. You could see them from our porch.
Sometimes I'd watch the show next to her, holding her hand. "My, isn't that grand!" she would exclaim, between gasps that punctuated the colors exploding across the sky. Sometimes I'd watch with the crowd on the hillside behind the school (a great place for sledding in the winter, too). Either way, I was awestruck and content.
I've seen far more elaborate fireworks in the ensuing years. But in my mind, none compare to those shows of old. Such variety and color. One explosion after another in diverse formations and configurations. Solos, trios, quartets; ballads, cantatas, arias.
In a way, our high school class was like an evening of fireworks, each of us contributing to an exquisite whole, some overshadowed by those more powerful or colorful, some failing to go off when they were supposed to, some going in the wrong direction, showering the spectators with sparks and embers. Some set aside for another display, another time.
I didn't make it to our grand finale. Starting in our junior year, all I wanted to do was drop out. "Why can't I just take the GED and get out of here?" I'd ask Mrs. Anderson, the school psychologist. "No, dear, you're far too gifted for that," she'd say, talking me into returning after I'd been AWOL for a few days or weeks.
So, I'd come back to face Miss Hadish's wrath. After a stern lecture, she'd plant me at the table in the closet not too far from her door. There I'd while away the hours scheming with other miscreants under the rays of one bare incandescent bulb for several days. (Is that sort of punishment even legal now?) Then I was allowed to return to class, zero credit in perpetuity for the time missed.
When the big snowstorm hit in January of our senior year and the schools were closed for the first time in 25 years, it didn't faze me. I hadn't been to school for over a month anyway. Then, a kindly relative whisked me off to Holy Family Academy in Beaverville, a little town about 90 miles away. Under the surprisingly loving care of the nuns in charge, I did a year's work in one semester. I couldn't get into much trouble in a place surrounded by cornfields to the horizon in all directions and a hamlet comprising one gas station, one bar, one combination post office/general store, and one church/school complex. So, I walked across the country stage, one of 13 girls in the graduating class of 1967.
I've been to Hinsdale rarely since then. The little redwood ranch house my father, a chemical engineer, built in 1955 on nights and weekends because he thought it would be a fun challenge (and less expensive than buying a properly constructed home), no longer stands. A McMansion (to my eyes) has replaced it, filled with another family's dreams. So be it.
In 1975, a time of shiftlessness and adventure for me, I came to California to visit Mary Ruth, who had recently graduated from Stanford Law School. I was drawn to San Francisco's beautiful vistas and decided to explore the city for a few months. I wound up staying for 29 years—got married there, raised a family there. Now Jim and I live in paradise, Sonoma County, with our youngest child, who will probably launch within the coming year. "Reversible Skirt," a memoir I penned about my first 13 years, will launch in the coming year, too, from RockWay Press, a small, independent publisher. A website is under construction for the book: www.lauramchaleholland.com. (McHale is the middle name.)
And, in the summer, I'm still often on a bike, not riding the rim of a carnival, but cruising along eucalyptus- and fennel-scented paths on my way to and from work as managing editor for a trade publication.
Life is grand. God bless you all.
Laura McHale Holland (nee Gross)
Okay. I’ll be there, but don’t look for me in a coat and tie. (Does anyone know why it was never called the Clarendon Hills Golf Club?)
I was astonished by how meaningful (and fun) our previous class reunions were, despite my anticipatory doubts and skepticism. The seeds of so much of who we are today are (duh) rooted in the people, places, and events of those times. To run into some of the friends that I literally grew up with, but hadn't even thought about during the intervening years – was very moving and personally important. More than once during our 1998 reunion, I had the spooky experience of encountering a middle-aged stranger wearing the name tag of someone I seemed to remember . . . and suddenly seeing that stranger's face morph – right before my eyes! – into someone I warmly remembered from a lifetime ago.
Re-visiting those images and those chapters – the ones that we fled and rejected, as well as the ones we recall with fondness – is a powerful experience that I recommend to everyone.
The wonderful website that Jan and others concocted has generated a number of off-line emails and telephone conversations with ’67 classmates. Some have expressed real doubts and misgivings about attending our September get-together and probably won’t be there (y’all know who you are). And to be honest, my own feelings have been mixed as well. Let’s admit it – those were the best of times and worst of times for most of us – but they were also 40+ years ago, and most of us have moved on and led real lives of our own since then. We are who we are, and who we’ve become – with or without the baggage of more than four decades ago. So, let’s get together and honor (or trash) the past, celebrate the present, and share the successes and failures of all those years in between.
I look forward to seeing the handful of classmates I’ve managed to stay in touch with, but I especially look forward to the surprise and delight of running into others separated by . . . all those things that seem to separate us – time, distance, family, careers, divorces – you name it.
I’ll be the balding middle-aged guy without a coat and tie at the Clarendon Hills (oops, I mean Hinsdale) Golf Club.
See you there!
Durham (not Chapel Hill), NC
I Remember When submitted by Annette AuBuchon
As a teenage girl growing up in Hinsdale I remember so many things like shopping at Jordell’s Women’s wear store and buying identical culottes with Debbie Kinsey. We’d dress alike and people actually asked us if we were twins. Then we’d stop at Walgreen’s for green rivers and French fries. There was also a lot of iced cream consumed at Dipper Dan’s.
I remember going to a football game with Liz Jergens and wearing our “mohair sweaters” to dress alike. I played the glockenspiel in the band at the games. This was not nearly as glamorous as cheerleading. There were many homecoming floats built at my house on Vine Street and stored in our “coach house” garage.
On weekends I recall going to the Youth Center in a purple dress wearing fishnet stockings and paper mache jewelry (from my Mom’s shop, La Petite Boutique), while dancing to Beach Boys music.
I remember serving on the Youth Jury with Joe Vosicky and giggling when we had to make a television commercial about it.
At 16 I was so proud to get my license and I backed into the chief of police while driving my 1949 gray Cadillac which dented in his rear fender and no damage to my car - it was a tank.
I haven't forgotten your request for remembrances/ stories / "Boss" happenings from High School. It's just that my brain didn't adequately "back up" the information left 40 years ago. So, as an aid in remembering, I went back to the 1967 "El Diablo". What follows is a collaboration or compilation of various remembrances from you, my dear class mates:
NANCY: I will never forget the great time we had this year at Raiders, etc. etc. Rhetoric was awful, Mr. Mach hated us... L. Nancy (I DON'T REMEMBER RAIDERS AS A PERSON OR GROUP. WHO IS MR. MACH?)
HAIGH: Meadens and my house was so super Boss. The Fondu (sp), parties, and the hole in the ceiling -- Dego's sickness in the sink. The Oakbrook visits, the Hinsdale flicks watching "Alfie", 2 aspirins in a coke does wonders. You fell in love with Meg. Winding up with the big bang ...Prom, the chairlift ride was the highlight! As for our philosophies this summer it depends on you, BTAB depends on me! As always, Barb ( I GUESS IF THE CHAIRLIFT RIDE WAS THE HIGHLIGHT, PROM WAS NOT SUCH A BIG BANG! ALL OF THE REMAINING REMEMBRANCES HAVE BEEN FORGOTTEN...MAYBE THAT COULD BE THE THEME OF THE 40TH.)
GINNY ALLISON: ...it's been a real experience knowing you ( don't think about that too much) I must admit we had fun together (at least most of the time) I'm really sorry about last May. Someday, if you let me, I'll make it up to you. Too bad you aren't going to C.U, but prom is over now...I imagine you remember the things I'd like to write, but can't... Love, Ginny (I DON'T THINK 2 ASPIRINS CAN HELP ME HERE! WHAT HAPPENED IN MAY TO SCAR ME? ISN'T IT TIME SHE MAKES IT UP TO ME..I'M NOT GETTING ANY YOUNGER! I LOVED THE LINK BETWEEN PROM AND HER CHOSEN UNIVERSITY.)
TERRY PHILLIPS: Well, I guess I come last again. What I want to say to you, I can't in here for many reasons, but I hope I can express them to you this summer- if you come to see me that is ( words). I guess I came to my senses about C.B. but I guess that doesn't matter to you now - I only wish it did...Promise to come see me before you leave for school. Love always,Terry ( BOY, I MUST HAVE HAD QUITE A LAST SUMMER IN HINSDALE...THE TROUBLE IS, I DON'T REMEMBER! $10 TO WHOEVER IDENTIFIES C.B. DO YOU THINK SHE'LL BE AT THE REUNION?)
JANURA: Thanks for getting me going I guess it was you who almost made me break my leg a couple of winters ago...remember what I taught you in that one lesson ..."Stein" Janura ( JAN, WHAT WAS THE LESSON? NICE DRAWINGS IN MY YEAR BOOK.)
WARE: I guess we've been through a lot this year..this spring was really great for fun times - you may have corrupted me, but it is worth it. Keep up you Zorba the Greek attitude, because it keeps me from becoming too serious and studious... Good luck, Don ( WHEN CAN I DROP THE ZORBA THE GREEK STUFF! YOU NEEDED A LITTLE CORRUPTION, NOW I'M NOT SO SURE WHAT I MAY HAVE STARTED!)
JANICE MEADEN: Only 15 minutes from Yale? You know I wouldn't do that - I'm not that kind of girl. Please let's not recap that night. I don't care what they say, I had a scream at Homecoming. They have the friendliest trees in Hrubes front lawn. I am determined to come see you next year - I may even come unannounced - be prepared. It's just like a can of beer, right. Love always, Janice ( IS IT JUST ME OR WERE WE ALL SPEAKING IN TONGUES - NO OFFENSE GINNY. SHE NEVER SURPRISED ME...IS SHE COMING TO THE REUNION?)
FRED MC ELHONE: Rossy, I'm really going to miss all the great times you and I had...Marathon Night when you ran with pins in your shoulder and Mort drank beer while he ran. All of the Friday nights when Gary ( Withall ), Ens ( Ensign ), you and I would get to the games with 3 minutes left. Then the rest of the night hustling for sat-nite dates. When we were brothers it was a riot...have to stick together. Mick ( WOW, HUSTLING THE REST OF THE NIGHT - 3 MINUTES TO GET DATES. I WONDER HOW MANY LONELY NIGHTS THESE FOUR AMIGOS HAD TOGETHER. ARE THERE ANY TAKERS OUT THERE? WHERE IS MORTENSON?)
RICH ANDERSON: Ross Babes, You lucky devil (pun), you got out of 1/2 of the year with scabby Kaleb. Boy is she loads of fun...I think we just barely passed Comp. Math, but Johnson was a riot. I think there are 1/4 of the students that know more than Johnson. Keep your left one swinging... Love and Kisses, Rich (I GUESS RICH AND I WERE CLOSER BACK THEN! WHAT HAPPENED TO ME MY LAST SEMESTER OF SENIOR YEAR? WHY WAS I NOT IN CLASSES? SERIOUSLY. AT MY AGE, IT'S NOT JUST MY LEFT ONE THAT IS SWINGING.)
MEG (HAARLOW?): Well the boss senior year is over. I'll never ever forget all the boss times we doubled ( the Mamas and Popas, all the parties, etc. ) And I guess all my advice on certain problems wasn't too much appreciate. But then again your advice to me wasn't exactly what I had in mind either...good luck and stay away from the Eastern girls, Love and Kisses, Meg ( SHE SOUNDS LIKE THE PERFECT GIRL FOR ME...HOW DID WE NOT HOOK UP AS THEY SAY TODAY, OR WAS IT YESTERDAY. AT LEAST I TOOK HER ADVICE ABOUT THE EASTERN GIRLS, OR MAYBE SHE ALERTED THEM ABOUT ME!)
JIM HESS: You have been very sociable toward our gang. Parties -- good old times they seem now -- but we still have a lot ahead. To future boozers, I salute you...Hester ( DO ALL OF YOUR YEAR BOOKS READ LIKE MINE? WE DID NOT BUY YEARBOOKS FOR OUR CHILDREN!)
HANKE: ...There is no doubt that "little Joes really honk out. Never drink one warm after you've eaten chicken because it's bad news... Hank (ADVICE THAT I FOLLOW TO THIS VERY DAY)
ENSIGN: When it comes down to it you are one of the best friends I've ever had... remember all our "private talks" about life and people. Thanks for the hospitality at your house the past years. I'll be seeing you a lot this last summer and for the rest of my life I hope. Let's make our permanent homes in Hinsdale...Love & Kisses, Ens ( THE ONE FRIEND I WASN'T THERE FOR WHEN HE NEEDED ME...)
JEFF MORTENSON: ...good times with you are something I will always have with you. We've had some wild parties at your house, but the parties aren't the real fun, the people are...Next year cut out the wine and song and concentrate on the women. Mort ( I AGREE WITH HIM WHEN IT COMES TO PARTIES, BUT I THINK WOMEN GO BETTER WITH WINE AND SONG)
LIZ ELY: Dear Ross, Dearest Ross? I don't like to call you my brother, but it really amounts to that. We've shared lots of experiences, when you stayed with us, when I had that fit with Withall, Palisades... This year our class has bloomed so to say and we've really had some good times as a class for once. Next year ought to be good for a laugh. Sink or swim is going to be our motto. I hope to see a lot of you (Hint, Hint). Thanks for being a great friend- Liz ( SHE IS LIKE A SISTER, AND A GOOD FRIEND. I'LL NEVER FORGET HOW AMAZED I WAS AFTER STAYING 2 WEEKS WITH HER FAMILY WHEN MY PARENTS WERE TRAVELING HOW SHE COULD LOOK SO GOOD AND PUT TOGETHER WHEN HER ROOM LOOKED LIKE A DUMP AREA!)
MARILYN: Dear Ross, God! What a year! I still say we have the greatest class there ever was. If i ever wanted to wind up our high school experience it would be a must to mention Homecoming Freshman year. Now don't laugh. I guess it was a complete farce to you but I just roll every time I think about it. I will never, ever forget that. You and Jan did a good job of Homecoming but I'm the one who got stuck with her when we all got to foxes -- what a mess. There were so many times at my house, at your house, at Janice's, at the Youth Center, that we all had the best of times. Fondue at Janice's was great. Barb's parties were something I really think everyone will remember. Oh, and our serious talks. ( Sitting in Janice's dining room analyzing you and your traumatic situation. You probably don't even remember)... All those times at Johnny's. ( Thinking about it gives me indigestion) I was laughing so hard I thought I would die. Ya' know, you are one boy who gets in more predicaments than anybody else I know. Please take care, Love always, Marilyn ( SHE WAS SOMETHING ELSE. MY FIRST LOVE. I MADE HER LAUGH, SHE MADE ME CRY. MARILYN WILL BE A FRIEND FOR LIFE)
Well there you have it, my life in High School as seen by my friends. What chance did I have when all I did was have parties, miss 1/2 my senior classes, try to manage 3 girlfriends at once, almost flunk out, I guess, of math class, all while hanging loose on my left side. I truly do not remember a great deal about high school. I do know it went by very quickly and involved some class work, study halls, athletics, dances, concerts, and test taking. Three years of French 1 and 2 years of Latin did not squelch my desire to travel the World. What I do remember from the letters, is that they remind me of the people I still care a great deal about. Thank you for being part of the adventure and do not hesitate to straighten me out at your earliest convenience.
Hinsdale and beyond: what I remember - or not.
We have ventured quite a long way down the road, and are facing the perplexity of age and maturity; reckoning with the lives we have led and not led. Some have disappeared into their work totally and not left any trace of themselves. (What do they know that we don’t?) Others have faded into the oblivion of everyday life. I, myself, have been more than a little off-course at times. It’s when I fixed myself in one place, thinking I had it made, that things would start to unravel. However, I’ve managed to make an honest living, raise four kids (well, still working on it!), and even fit in a few adventures along the way. So in truth… they’ve all been good years.
At this particular age, one attempts to ameliorate the tension between where we have been and where we may go. After the carefree days of high school (and college), we have nearly put in a lifetime of work. In retirement, I imagine the first step is to get up and make coffee, which I can deal with. After that, what happens is not in firm hands. I figured out that one of my obsessions is freedom. Hmm… not unlike 1967. I guess we are who we have always been. If I’ve learned anything along the way, it’s to be kind to others. It’s that simple and that difficult.
I have a mental list of faces and another list of the names that go with each one, but at the moment of greeting I don’t always succeed in matching the faces to the names. I am also becoming accustomed to waking every day with a different pain that keeps changing location as the years pass. I have heard that the first symptom of old age is when you begin to resemble your father. The truth is that the first changes are so slow they pass almost unnoticed, and you go on seeing yourself as you always were, from the inside. That being said, I look forward to seeing you all at the reunion. It will be fun!!
Well, Jan, you asked for stories, so you might as well take the heat! For some crazy reason the names and details of this story have stuck with me, even on those pre-Alzheimer's days when I can't remember where I left my reading glasses.
Some of you with very long memories, might remember me as a seldom used running back on the famous HT football team. My closest claim to fame came our sophomore year, when we had a Friday night game under the lights at Maine East. I got the call at our 40 yard line, took the hand-off, zipped through the line, saw Wally Knorr out of the comer of my eye as he took out the linebacker, and like a bolt of lightning I streaked 60 yards down the field. As I crossed the goal line, all I could think of was how proud my dad, sitting up in the stands, would be of me. When I turned around, certainly to be cheered by teammates and the stands filled with screaming HT faithful, all I could see was a field full of red flags.
Upon further examination, the player guilty of the clipping penalty was identified. That student-athlete was none other than a young man I had known since I was 5 years old and had gone all the way through the Hinsdale school system with. Starting at the Lane Elementary School and all the way to the hallowed halls of HT we had been playmates, friends and classmates. My mother had even picked him up and given him a ride with us to the team bus that night. Yes, my fleeting moment of glory and stardom was erased forever when the referee pointed at good old #73. And yes, Jan Janura, THIS IS YOUR LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Jan's number was 62, Kirby)
El Diablo Memory from Debbie Osborn...
WRITTEN FROM: Ginny Allison
WRITTEN TO: Debbie Osborn
MESSAGE: Deb, What can I say except it's been great knowing you. We have had so many cool experiences over the past years--the nights at the "Hole"--what a great place. Especially that night with Morris and Cheney. And there was New Year's Eve with Johnson & your car accident with Svendson. I could go on forever about the things we've done together. This year has been so cool--Pom Poms was really neat. With all of our friends how could it miss--even with Ding-Ding getting all the attention. By the way, how's Paul? He really is cool, but going out with older men, especially teachers--how risque! Make sure and tell me what it's like. This year has really been a year for the senior boys--mainly cause there wasn't anyone else. You and Hutchens and me and noone--I tried with Forbes, but it didn't work. Prom was really cool, at least the dance was. Now we're graduated and Fox's is over. I'm really sorry about the way Bill acted last night at Fox's. Enough of that. It has really been great having you as a friend the last few years. Love, Ginny CONTEMPORARY COMMENT: Haha remember Friday nights at the "Hole"? Who's Ding-Ding? Wow, seems like I spent a good deal of time chasing "older" men--yes, I did have one date with our math teacher Paul Halac after graduation, but it was anything but risque. Ginny, I hope I signed your book with just as much juicy teen activity.