Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wellsville, A Reunion To Remember

Just a few weeks ago I've noticed some changes here in Wellsville. Not only do we have a Family Dollar but now we have a Dollar General store. There is a big wide open space along Main Street where long ago used to be bars. And the old rest home that sat between the post office and the little restaurant? It was torn down a few weeks ago. And just the other day I saw the doors open at the old Ann's Kwik and Easy. I have no idea what was going on in there. But I can tell you this, things are changing here in Wellsville. And it looks like it may be for the better. I ride around the Ville listening to my old school jams that my step son hates and I can see that Wellsville is an ever changing place.

I see things. Alot of things. And there are things that I may miss. God, how I miss my old Wellsville. Those are the things I miss. I miss the Old Garfield Schools that sat on 18Th Street with the tunnel going from one school to the other. I miss the playground that sat on Lincoln Avenue with the large pool that had the colors going around it. Now there is a playground on 18Th Street and a Garfield School on Lincoln. They just switched. MacDonald School is no more. Building still there, just someone owns it now. I can remember playing baseball down in the 13Th Street Field. Now there is a new high school in it place and the old high school houses the middle school, 4Th Thru 8Th grade. Why?

I could go on and on but I won't. I am sure you all have your memories of Wellsville, but in your own way. Wellsville is a nice, little ole town with some very nice people. I know some of you may not agree with me. That's ok. My memories go back to the time you can actually get penny candy..........for an actual penny. Are you kidding me? Those were the days. You can walk from one end of Wellsville to the other in a matter of minutes and along the way see your friends and have a good time just sitting on a wall or standing on a street corner with causing trouble. The police would ride by and wave or stop and talk to ya. They made you feel welcome. But more than that, safe.

Going down to Yellow Creek for a swim (not me, I don't know how), or for fishing. Riding your bikes down to the pondage area and try to climb the hill. Some would make it, some not. But it was fun just trying. Or how about when we got older, riding around in cars or trucks. Clowning around, just having some fun. I can remember Quentin Collins blue truck. He would have the back filled with people and never had to worry about the cops stopping us. But what he did with that truck to other people I still get a kick out of it just remembering it. A bunch of use would get a friend, blindfold him or her, ride around for a few minutes, stop the truck and and take off the blindfold. The graveyard. What a hoot. They did that to me once. I wanted to run but couldn't. My thinking was if I ran, a body would jump out from a grave and get me so I stayed in the truck.

Walking up 10Th Street going to Hammonds Park was another adventure. Man that hill was steep. But the best part about going to the park was going up the backside of park that over looked downtown Wellsville. I look at it now and think to myself were we fools or just kids looking to have fun and adventure? I think a little of both. Those are some of the memories That I have but there is alot more to go, but I'll save them for another day.

But the best, absolutely thee best memories that I have were in school. Those were the best of time for alot of use. Whether it be in class, lunch, or at sporting events, you will have a memory. Those are the ones that most people share. The dances, detentions, getting paddled (never had one thank you). It would be during those times when you want to have something happen that will create a memory and most of the time something did happen. Four years (five for some) of them, etched in your mind forever. And when you graduate, those memories go with you no matter where you go. And the only time you share them is when Wellsville throws one big huge party.

Well, it is about that time again. Has five years really gone by that fast? Yeah, I guess it did. From June 29Th to July 3rd we welcome back all the ones who had graduated or attended Wellsville High School. A week long celebration of family, food, and friends. I guess you can say it will be a huge family reunion. I like the sound of that. One way or another, we all are family. Sharing stories, taking pictures, reliving the past one more. But this reunion will not be like the others. That week, we celebrate with East Liverpool, Oak Glen, and Beaver Local. Four school, rivals, and for that one week, friends.

How many remember their high school days? I can remember mine and all the people I had the pleasure to call friend. To this day, whether they still live here in Wellsville or moved away I still call them friend. Yeah, there may have been a few I didn't really get along with, but that was back then. This is now. We are all adults and should let all that was bad stay in the past. I think I can honestly say I got along with everybody. Can you? I can remember at the last reunion Jeff Brandt calling me a Friend For Life. Wow. That amazed me. See, those are the types of memories that should be taken with you no matter where you go. I'll never forget that. Or during my freshman year running track I was trying to learn to run the hurdles. Dan Tice taught me how, and how he did it still has a profound affect on me. I couldn't get the three steps between the hurdles. Dan moved them the lenght of the girls distance. Now I could three step. The next week I ran them again and told Dan I was ready to move them to ten meters apart. And what he told me floored me, still to this day. He said you all ready are running them ten meters apart. I moved them before you got down here. All I could do look at him walk away. When I coached the Modern Strider's or helped out with the school, I used his concept, and it helped alot of those I helped. Thanks Dan Tice.

Not only do we celebrate the ones who come back, we also morn the ones we lose along the way. They are not forgotten. They are forever in our minds and hearts. It is not easy to lose friends. It is especially hard to lose family. We seem to take life for granted. So far in my class alone we have lost, I think, five. We remember them and will never forget them. So, no matter where you are at during the reunion, raise your cup to your fallen classmate. Let them know that you are thinking of them and not forgotten.

Just walk around the area where the reunion is being held and you will see sights beyond your wildest dreams. When I say sights I mean pictures. Yes, the storefronts will have pictures that will not only bring back memories, but somewhat embarrassing. I want to see them. I want to see people from before me and after me. I want to meet people whom I have never met. I want to just walk around the reunion and take pictures. There is no other reunion like ours. It has been told that Wellsville know how to throw one mean party. The food, the music, just the all around atmosphere of the reunion will have most people going back home talking about how really wonderful this reunion was. It hasn't even started yet and I am already excited.

This year the hall of fame committee inducted 10 alumni into this years class, and they are: Dan Tice, Class of 79; John W, Euill, II, Class of 62; Jason Roger Ours, Class of 93; Gerry Allison, Class of 74; John Bobalik, Class of 70; Lynda M. Salter, Class of 86; Collin M. Kinsey, Class of 94; Laurie Punch, Class of 93; and James BOO Carter, Class of 42. Most of these inductees I have either played with, seen or coached. People like Dan Tice. I seen him play football, basketball and run track (remember he taught me to run hurdles), Lynda I seen play play volleyball, basketball I ran the scoreboard during them times) and I helped at one time or another in track. And Laurie, I remember her joining the Modern Striders back in the day and I knew she was going to be someone special. I can remember Gerry Allison, his brother and the rest of the Big Orange Machine controlling the Ohio Valley and beyond. And from what I was told John Bobalik was in Sports Illustrated for making 30 consecutive foul shots in a game and held the state record for 48 in a row. He was in the Faces In The Crowd section. The others I either read about or just didn't know about. But they must have been something to have made it to the Hall Of Fame. Congratulations to all who have made. Anyone need a speech writer?

I have been uptown, just riding by and I noticed that the stores and homes are decorating. Our colors, Orange and Black will be flying high for one week. And for that one week, old memeories will surface and new onew will be created. Friendships will be anew and bonded forever. Yet, I can't help but wonder what will happen when it all ends. What will become of the Wellsvillians who traveled many miles to get here just to celebrate a homecoming like this? Will we remember those who can not make it or those who have passed away? Each class will do their own thing I'm sure. My class, not sure. But if there is one thing I do know, Wellsville will open their arms to all those who are coming back to celebrate this special occasion. To all of you who will be attending, Welcome Back, for those who are not able to make it, well, sorry you couldn't do so, try in 2015. Either way, no matter where you are at or what place you call home, Wellsville will always be your home.

Note: As you all may know I am not a writer. Really? Wow. But this is something I wanted to do for the my alumni family that are either still here or are coming back. But there are those who will not be coming back, the ones who have passed on. But this year we welcome the new class of alumni, the Class of 2010. And after that class and the class after them we can only hope that Wellsville will continue on for years and years. Once a Tiger, always a Tiger. We don't die, we multiply. Forever Wellsville, Wellsville Forever.