A new book being crafted by a group of dedicated Elmhurst High School graduates is looking to keep classmates and friends connected after more than 50 years, appropriately titled, “50+ Years Later.”
Several members of the Elmhurst class of 1965 are putting together a volume to tell the stories of their class members since high school, and even some intriguing tales outside the sphere of the school, located at 3829 Sandpoint Road.
Fred Warner, a member of that class and editor of the student yearbook, The Anilbrum, is one former student working to make the tome a reality. Warner — and several other students who graduated with him in 1965 – have been working on putting the volume together since their 50-year reunion in 2015.
About the time of the reunion, more than 40 class members were interviewed about their life since high school – their careers, families, illnesses, where they live and their accomplishments – for use in the upcoming text. Joan Broderick (Garman), who was editor of the student newspaper, The Advance, while she was at Elmhurst, conducted most of the interviews by phone.
Each student profile features a current color photo of the alum, a smaller senior photo of them from the 1965 Elmhurst yearbook, the Anilbrum, a few paragraphs about their life since high school, with some even offering an extra photo of an interest held by that graduate.
For example, there’s the page detailing Wayne Hull, a ’65 grad, who served in the National Guard and worked at International Harvester as a test mechanic until retiring in 2006. Nowadays, he uses his mechanic’s knowledge to tinker with his 1930 Model A Ford Coupe, a car he bought in 1969, and has since logged 190,000 miles in. Hull is even helping Warner restore his own Model A. The page devoted to Hull shows him and his wife, Shirley, standing proudly next to his gleaming Model A.
There are also pages discussing where the class has settled around the country. Thirty-one percent of the students still live in Fort Wayne; 42 percent live in other states, with Florida and California the next top two other states of residence. Other locations Elmhurst grads have settled include North Carolina, Arizona, Ohio and Texas. None – according to the research – live in Alaska or Hawaii.
There also is a page of the book devoted to the classmates’ military service, mostly in Vietnam. As the raw text of the book says, “a large number of those graduating from high school in 1965 provided a ready supply of young men to serve in the U.S. military.” A total of 85 of that year’s class served in one branch or another of the military, most in the Army. A map page of Vietnam pinpoints where those students served in that Southeast Asian country, the dates of the service, their unit information, and what their duties there were. Three of the Elmhurst graduates lost their lives in Vietnam. The map was conceived and crafted by graduate Jeff Goshert.
Warner is editing and laying out the book’s pages on his Macintosh computer, a task he’s familiar with from helping to craft company newsletters when he worked in marketing. But Warner has had invaluable help from several members of his class, as well.
Schuyler Darstein did much of the “detective” work to find emails and address for the class’ 300 surviving members; John Dinius helped proofread the pages; Steven Toor, who works at the History Center downtown, assisted with printing and production of the pages; Jeff Goshert took photos of everyone at the 2015 reunion for use in the book; and Ed Kerr managed the mountain of photos the group had collected and Maurene Archibold (Ramsay) helped scan and edit the photos so they could be used in the final product.
Once the book is completed and printed, Warner said, the plan is to mail out a copy to all the classmates the group has current addresses for.
Warner believes the upcoming book isn’t just an intriguing collection of stories; it’s also a way for the class to remain close after more than 50 years apart.
“We’re doing it because there’s a lot of interesting information and stories about our class members,” Warner said. “These people are really scattered about; and this is a great way of connecting people all these years after high school.”