By Rachel Stock
The Caledonia Argue
This past weekend on Saturday, July 16 the Caledonia High School graduating Class of 1957 got together at Elsie’s restaurant here in town to celebrate their 65th reunion. The event kicked off with a sing along of the class’s “national anthem:” “The Class of ’57” by The Statler Brothers. A hearty Midwest meal of chicken, biscuits, corn, and mashed potatoes was served buffet-style shortly thereafter. Much conversation was sparked over the lunch table, and the room buzzed with the talk of fond memories.
After lunch, classmate Irv Plitzuweit lead the group in a moment of silence for class members lost since graduation, paying special attention to those who passed most recently this last year. Hats were removed in remembrance and heads bowed.
Following this show of respect, a secondary sing along of “Centerfield” by John Fogerty was conducted. The song was played in memory of a particularly unforgettable baseball game this senior class competed in so many years ago. Though the team, then called the Cyclones as opposed to the Warriors, ended up ultimately losing this game to Chatfield 6 to 7 in extra innings, the story of its play remains vivid in these Caledonia minds. Ken Grob, former pitcher for the baseball team stood up in front of his classmates and told the story of this defeat, stating it was the “most disappointing sporting event I’ve ever experienced.”
Grob recalled a tie game, 6 to 6, with two outs and John Winslow on third base. Determined to come away with a win, Winslow attempted to steal home. Unfortunately, due to some miscommunication on the ballfield, the teammate at bat decided to bunt the ball, therefore resulting in Winslow to be tagged out and the inning to end.
Despite this difficult loss, however, the Caledonia Class of 1957 looks back on this day with laughter in their hearts and warm smiles on their faces, for it is a memory that continues to bond these former classmates, regardless of the time gone by. Grob, in conclusion to this heartfelt story, addressed his classmates as a whole, saying “thanks for the memories. I love you all.”
Various yearbooks from past years were sent around the room and enjoyed by those in attendance. Of the 36 Caledonia students who graduated in 1957, around 18 were present for this heartwarming reunion. This group also included John Pongratz, a teacher instructor at the high school.
Plitzuweit lamented about how much Caledonia has changed since him and his classmates graduated. The biggest difference to note and popular topic of conversation was the building across the street from Elsie’s. Now used as the City Hall and the Caledonia Public Library, in 1957 the building was where graduation ceremonies and class plays were held.
Though the last formal gathering of this group occurred 10 years ago in recognition of the class’s 55th reunion in 2012, it had not been 10 years since these friends last saw one another. Rather, the group made a promise early on to get together once a year on the third Saturday of every July. It is a promise that has been kept for decades and one that truly embodies these classmates’ continued admiration and love for one another.