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Montana Reunion - June 2019

Photos and Commentary from Bob

We’ve had rain almost every day since our 62nd reunion when the weather was perfect. The birds are singing now but a couple of weeks ago they were flapping their wings in alarm.

The 62nd HGHS reunion and 80th birthday party was off to a noisy, happy start. Some of us had known each other since kindergarten. We were so happy to see each other. No need for trying to keep up pretenses. You can’t fool somebody who has known you all your life. From what I can tell, we haven’t changed much.

When our class moved from the top of King Street to what’s now called The Robert E Bell school, Cartisano owned a shoe repair store, Murry and Fanny Kuperschmidt owned the 5 & Dime next door, Dr. Donald Cadman owned the drug store and Paddy Prendergast owned the Central Bar and Grill next to the tracks that took most of our daddies into New York City. Nicky Jakowski's dad owned a wonderful pastry shop next to Bill Elman's Cigar store where a box of good and plenty cost a nickel.

Most women stayed home. Women have a better shot at a career now. But back then the college graduates among them joined bridge and country clubs and Church organizations like the almighty Women’s Society at the Congregational Church. Dotty Willis Rainwater sent me an article from the town paper in the 1950s. A Women's Society fund raiser, for example, had 13 committees to decorate, publicize, organize, raise funds, clean up, etc. etc.

We got another benefit besides having mom at home. With so few doors open, some of the best and brightest women became teachers. And we had the best, Miss Irwin, Miss Kurzon, Miss Barry, Miss Hanley, Miss Robertson kept us sitting up straight and paying attention. And if the women were the best and the brightest, so were the men; Bischoff, Barlow, Price, Taylor, and Reinhardt to name a few. When I got to Williams college it didn’t take long to realize that my Horace Greeley education was at least equal if not better than the best and most expensive prep schools in the nation.

But they didn’t lock us up at night like they do at prep schools. Some of us had cars, sweethearts, and the Chappaqua Dads kept us out of trouble on Saturday nights with an open house, roller skating in the auditorium, square dancing in the gym.

We share not just the time and adventures of grade, junior and high school, but a bond of excellence. We were unbeaten and untied in football and 62 years later, we are still bragging about it. We sure were glad to see each other.

Mostly what we did was hang out together, which, after all, was the point.

Thursday evening kicked off with fancy hors d’oeuvres and drinks on the back porch, cows and pasture in the background.

Friday afternoon we drove over the Bozeman Pass to Livingston, Montana for a look around the Livingston Railroad museum before dinner at the old Livingston Bar and Grill. After dinner we drove back over the pass for a couple of beers at Montana Ale Works in Bozeman.

Saturday was the big day. Kathryn said a hay ride would be the best way to move people around the ranch. Our neighbors across the road at the Storey Hereford ranch had an old derelict hay wagon. Larry Levengood, who does a lot of the work around here, rebuilt it using boards from our front lawn fence a drunk driver kindly dismantled for us early one morning.

So we all hopped on the wagon, Larry at the wheel of our 1959 John Deere tractor and we moseyed down the old dirt road to the Storey Ranch where Chuck and Cathy Storey Kohlbeck and their daughter Katelyn, and son-in-law Garret (both have PhDs in animal husbandry) gave us an introduction of what it takes to run a successful cattle ranch these days, from sending embryos to Australia, to keeping their prize cattle cool so they’ll grow hair and look even more alluring in their beauty shots posted on the internet.

We hopped back on the hay wagon for a ride up to the top of the buffalo jump for a grand view of the mountain ranges around us, cocktails and tasty bites. Then a steep ride back down to the stone house and log barn where we’d started for a barbeque and 80th birthday party. That 6-layer birthday cake, by the way, was baked by our next door neighbor 3 miles away, Barbara Axtell on the Axtell ranch which has been around even longer than we have.

Sunday morning we had mimosas, breakfast and farewells. And wished the whole class of ‘57 could have been here.

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Photos from Susie

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Photos from Bruce & Abby

Abby and I went out early and did some hiking.A few pictures of Yellowstone Lamar Valley and Bozeman Valley.

Abby and I starting to hike on the Lamar River Vally trail which goes up to the left of the trees on the side of the hill

Our hiking buddy

Hiking home after we got soaked by rain and nailed by hail

Back at the car park. Weather changes quickly

The next day one of the peaks in the Bridger Mt Range. One of the prettiest spots I have ever seen. Renamed Mt Abby

View from the North Cottonwood trail. Up the road a ways from Mt Abby

Bob & Kathryn’s back yard. It doesn’t get much better than this.

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The Mygatts visit the Judds In Montana