FHS Class of 1943 holds 70th reunion

The Fredonia High School Class of 1943 recently held its 70th class reunion with 10 members in attendance. The event was an afternoon luncheon held at Bob Evans restaurant.

Margaret Valone read a letter from John and Josephine Cash from California. The Cashs also sent a picture. Everyone reminisced about times from grade school up until the time of graduation.

Classmates talked about how they went through the Great Depression of the 1930s and then WWII. A few male classmates were called into the service even before graduation. They also discussed how much the school system has changed since the time they were there.

During the classmates’ grade school days, there were four elementary schools: Eagle Street School, Barker Street School, Seymour Street. School and a one-room schoolhouse on Webster Road. Those attending the Eagle Street School only went there until sixth grade. Afterward, they had to go to the Barker Street School. Then for eighth grade and up until graduation, they attended the old high school. Teachers back then had as many as 30 students to a classroom with no teacher’s aides.

Discussion also included the staffing of the schools in those days compared to today. For example, each of the elementary schools in Fredonia had a principal, but the principal also taught a class. Mrs. Woodcock was the principal for the Eagle Street. School, and she also taught fourth grade. The superintendent of schools (then, Claude R. Dye) was also the principal of the high school. His staff consisted of a secretary and a truant officer. There was only one athletic director (Dinty Moore) who also coached football and basketball. He also went to the grade schools and supervised the exercise classes. In poor weather, the children stayed inside and ran around the room. No other sports activities were held.

In their school days, the classmates had to walk to school. Students living on the outskirts of town took a West Ridge Bus that ran regularly from Erie, Pa. to Buffalo. There was no breakfast or lunch served at school. Those who lived far away brought their lunches. Those who could walked home for lunch.

There was much to reminisce about for the classmates, as well as new news to share and catching up on one another’s lives and families. All had a great time visiting and talking about “the good old days.”