Norwin Class of 1948 to hold its last reunion this weekend
By Amanda Dolasinski
Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Every five years, a dedicated circle of octogenarians make their way down a roster checking off whom to mail formal invitations for their class reunion.
Each time, the list gets smaller.
“We have the old addresses,” Florence Laffoon, the class' secretary, said. “If it comes back, we know they've moved or they're dead.”
The North Huntingdon High School Class of 1948 will meet for its final class reunion Saturday. Attendance has dwindled over time due to deaths, health concerns and lack of interest.
Laffoon, 83, of Irwin, said the committee has dutifully planned reunions every five years. Sixty-five sounded like a nice number to end them on, she said.
“I guess it was a tradition. Everyone had a reunion,” she said. “There has to be an end to everything.”
A black-and-white photograph snapped in 1948 from school grounds depicts a group of smiling seniors in caps and gowns. Stamps cost just 3 cents, “The Red Shoes” was the top-grossing movie of the year and the Andrews Sisters could be heard on radios.
“It was a simple time for us,” Laffoon said.
That year, a group of 134 young men and women earned their high school diplomas from North Huntingdon High School. At last count, 84 of them have died, Laffoon said.
At the time, students either took academic classes to prepare for college, or stayed on a commercial track to prepare for the workforce.
Football games, just like now, were the big social event of the week, Laffoon said.
“North Huntingdon's boys won a title,” she said.
Kids would spend hours painting and hanging banners to transform the gym for its latest themed dance.
“I think everybody loved decorating the gym,” she said. “We had live music. We used to do the jitterbug and back then the music was more sentimental.”
Over the decades, the class met at local restaurants including the Adam House, Blue Angel and Mountain View.
One of the largest class reunions was its first, Laffoon said. In 1953, soldiers was coming home from the Korean War and turned out to socialize at the former Belvedere Club.
For its 25th reunion in 1973, North Huntingdon combined with Irwin graduates for its gatherings. Students from the municipalities were separated after the class' sophomore year.
“I think we had a wonderful class in those two years,” Lois Hancock, 82, a graduate of Irwin High School, said. “Even though the school split, there was still fellowship between the two classes.”
Hancock, among others from Irwin, will attend the final class reunion.
“At our age, we're lucky to even have 65 in,” she said. “It's the beginning of an ending of a good time.”
Amanda Dolasinski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626.
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