Share This Page

Former Fayette classmates reconnect during Golden Reunion

| Monday, May 26, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Lori C. Padilla | For the Daily Courier
They dated in high school and then lost touch, married and had families. Toni DeMarco Schiavoni, Connellsville Class of 1957 found her way back to Lou Durbin, Connellsville Class of 1953 after their mates passed away and rekindled their high school romance during a Golden Reunion held in Connellsville.
Lori C. Padilla | For the Daily Courier
The Golden Reunion brought together classmates of all ages at East Park on Sunday,May 25, 2014. Those who graduated from Connellsville, no matter which building, and Geibel enjoyed the afternoon reminiscing and listening to the musical collection offered by the Sammy Brooks Band. Sam Brooks took Dee Callahan on a twirl around the dance floor enjoying the music and nice weather.

So many times, people hesitate to attend reunions. Who knows why? This or that person did this or that to me back then. He or she did so much more than I and now is so stuck up. There are plenty of reasons to avoid reunions, so why go?

Curiosity, maybe? Boredom? A desire to go down Memory Lane?

Just go. You never know what can happen — just ask Lou and Toni.

Three years ago, Lou Durbin saw Toni (DeMarco) Shiavoni strolling through East Park and half a century melted away. It was during the first Golden Reunion hosted by Fayette County Culture Trust that they fell back in love. Now they are engaged to be married, and the trust's Golden Reunion carries on as strong as ever.

Sunday's fine weather provided a perfect backdrop for the third Golden Reunion, which featured home-cooked food and homegrown talent: The Sammy Brooks Band.

About 100 people attended. They were graduates of Connellsville, Dunbar, Immaculate Conception and Geibel high schools. All gathered and talked about old times — at school and growing up in the Connellsville area.

Brooks crooned favorites such as “Fly Me to the Moon” to the crowd, waiting for the chance to crank the music up to “Jump, Jive and Wail.”

Those attending took it all in stride.

Among them were Toni (DeMarco) Shiavoni, who was married for 50 years to (the late) James Shiavoni of Connellsville. Lou Durbin grew up in Connellsville and moved away to Pittsburgh, where he still resides. He, too, was married for more than half a century; his wife passed away in recent years. Both marriages were happy, and resulted in several children and grandchildren.

“There's always hope,” said Toni at Sunday's reunion, referring to her reunion with Lou as well as the reunion of Connellsville classmates (she graduated in 1957, Durbin in 1953). She remembered dating Durbin in the early 1950s. “Those were happy, innocent years. The 1950s were great. We went our separate ways and have finally found our way back.”

She and Lou assisted planning Sunday's Golden Reunion at East Park, with assistance from Fayette County Cultural Trust, which sponsors the reunion as a follow-up to the city's Geranium Festival, which was held downtown with great fanfare on Saturday.

Laura Szepesi is a contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.