EMHS Class of 1970: 50 Years

I remember when my parents attended their 50-year reunion and then several years later celebrated their fifty years of marriage. That seemed like a huge milestone for those “oldsters”! Well, guess what….we are now at the fifty year mark! Where has time gone?

Fifty years ago we were the class with a rosy view of the world and ready to conquer it with vigor. We were the class ready to flap our wings to the college of choice or to enter the workforce with high expectations. We were high school graduates on a mission. We were ready and we were unstoppable.

Covid changed the plans for our fifty-year celebration. Instead of being a big to-do worthy of our class, we were a small group meeting in a classmate’s “party” garage with social distancing and masks! Even though most of the class reunions for the school were canceled, thirteen brave class of ’70 classmates met for fellowship and lunch. We had a wonderful time and it was hard to part ways.

Classmates in attendance (left to right): John Augsberger, Darrel & Sherill Hostetter, Pat Hertzler, Jim Eby, Don Gerig, Karen Smucker, and Diana Berkshire.

Diana and Allen Berkshire were our gracious host and hostess. Diana has been the class “mom” for fifty years and kept the records and contact info on classmates and organized our reunions. She is still working part-time in her daughter’s medical office and baby-sits her granddaughter several days a week.

Darrel and Sherill Hostetter, high school sweethearts, worked for Eastern Mennonite Missions for years in Lancaster, traveling the world and providing emotional and spiritual support to missionaries. They are now retired and living in Harrisonburg. They anticipate a move to Virginia Mennonite Retirement Center in the next few years.

Jim and Rita Eby still lives on their farm just south of Park View and raise a few beef cows. They are enjoying being “mostly” retired.

John and Beverly Augsberger live at his homeplace. They are presently caring for Beverly’s father who is in hospice. Since retiring, John has been crafting beautiful pieces of furniture for their home.

Don and Linda Gerig, Karen Smucker and husband Jim Shelly win the award for coming the furthest to our grand event, hailing from Oregon and Idaho respectfully. Don did not actually graduate with our class but he and his older brother, Rod, were a part of our class during our junior year. The foursome hopped aboard the Amtrak train in Portland and rode the rail across the northern US to Staunton. Going home they will take the southern route making almost a complete circle of the country. The foursome have developed a deep friendship over the years and often travel together.

Don is a retired nurse and he and his wife enjoy traveling in their RV. Don is president of the mission at Camp Marantha in La Paz, Baja. It is a fascinating story of reaching the “unreached” with the gospel of Jesus.

Years ago Karen fell in love with Idaho and eventually was offered a teaching job at a university there. She and Jim are both retired and anticipate moving back to Harrisonburg next year to Virginia Menonnite Retirement Center.

Pat Hertzler and her husband Gene live in Powhatan. They are still actively involved with their farm supply store and beef farming.

I thought of the song made famous by the Statler Brothers, “And the class of ’57 had it’s dreams. Oh, We all thought we’d change the world with our great works and deeds. Or maybe we just thought the world would change to fit our needs. The class of ’57 had dreams.”

We became just ordinary people, doing ordinary things, living out our dreams. We were parents, school teachers, farmers, preachers, homemakers, workers in retail, business owners, missionaries, contractors, nurses, truck drivers and leaders in our churches and community, each with a story to tell. We are a class of faith and mission. We had our challenges, disappointments and hard times in life. The last stantz of the song tells the rest of the story…. “And the class of ’57 had it’s dreams. But living life day to day is never like it seems. Things get complicated when you get past eighteen. But the class of ’57 had its dreams. Oh the class of ’57 had dreams.”

Diana went down the list of classmates noting updates or lack of updates on each one. Since our last reunion five years ago, we have lost Dennis Kauffman, Peggy Oswald Jackson and Bernie Christner. We missed each one that was not present. The plan is to have our “official” reunion next fall when covid is just a bad memory. Be on the lookout for an email or call from Diana. We hope to see you there. By the way, those of you who did not come…. you missed a very special time.

5 Comments »

  1. Glenna Said:

    Thanks for sharing. Not on the email list to receive info.

    • Pat Said:

      Message me your email and I will send it on to Diana. I wish you could have been there.

  2. Jim Collins Said:

    Looks like you had a great time. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it because of Covid19. Look forward to meeting next year. Jim Collins

  3. Martha Picone Said:

    I was certaintly thinking a about
    You and am glad you had a good time.Love ti you all from Italy.

  4. Gerry Said:

    Thank you to all who worked on getting this gathering together-looked like a nice group. Thank you Diana for your hospitality. Thank you Pat for your pictures and words! I read your blog sometimes-you do a great job with that. Karen I would have enjoyed talking with you. Being a friend on FB, I suspect we share a lot of opinions. Would be nice to get together as a class, or groups of EMHS friends, in the future! We still live in Hagerstown, MD. Hope to move to NC in future, to be near our daughter, her husband, and our grandson and granddaughter.

    Blessings,

    Gerry Godshall Fix


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