So it’s the beginning of our 20th reunion, and at 1:45 a.m. on Thursday morning, July 18, and I can’t help but think how much time the reunion committee has banded together in order to put this thing on. With the help of our local 93ers, not to mention the patience of John Hekkel at Club Moderne and Scott Hatcher at Locker Room, who both endured late weekday nights so we could forget everything we just spoke about, our weekend IS FINALLY HERE!
The sleepless night also brought me to think about those who won’t be joining us. One such classmate is Christian Winther, one of our exchange students from Denmark, who sent me a message after contacting him to tell me he is serving in Afghanistan. I’m sure you will join me in wishing him well while he fights for all that’s good and right for his country.
So many other classmates aren’t joining us who hail in the contiguous United States because of work strains or having the trek be just too far for a weekend visit, and all I can say is we will be thinking of you, one and all. Kudos to you for thinking of your family first and foremost, as any good, responsible parent should. Let it be known we will be tipping a few back for the good ol’ times that seem like forever ago (but thanks to Selina Pankovich and her Forget Me Not Photo Archives business, those memories are a little more clearer than ever before).
Then I got to thinking about those who can’t be with us because they paid the ultimate sacrifice. We’ve been an extremely lucky class in this regard, only losing four to death. Clarissa Walner, Joseph Windorski, Marlo Rouse and Doug Garland, we will be holding a moment of silence in your honor. You are not forgotten.
But as I scoured through the numerous faces in our Big Stack and tried to contact our former teachers, administrative assistants and administration, I found we’ve lost a few more over time.
- Anne Carpita, our former Señora and Spanish teacher as freshmen, died following a battle with cancer in October of 2010. I tried to get in touch with her husband, Jim, who still resides in Helena, but I’m not sure my message was received. I spoke with a cousin of his in Dillon and was given an E-mail address, but you know how those change over time. Of course Jim is linked to our class in another way as well as his son Tony, who was married to classmate Jennifer (Galle) Carpita passed away some time ago as well. We pass along our sympathy.
- Bob Gossack, our former science and biology teacher, passed away April 8, 2008, after a battle with cancer.
- Rich Silzly, our former match teacher, passed away July 23, 2010, after a battle with cancer.
- Pierre Tesson, our former typing teacher, among other classes he taught, and an Anaconda High School cross country and softball coach, died June 28, 2008 after a battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
(IF THERE ARE ANY MORE FOR THIS LIST, AND LET’S HOPE THERE ISN’T, PLEASE DROP ME A LINE SO WE CAN GET THEM ADDED).
As a message to their family and friends, please accept our deepest sympathy of the loss of your loved ones. Whether they were our classmates or the men and women who molded us into the people we are today, we all still hold a special bond of graduating from the greatest place on earth, and may we all once again remember what the true meaning of being from little old Anaconda and calling ourselves “Copperheads” is all about.
Cheers to us all this weekend! Let’s have one to remember!