— CHS Class of 1957
On Oct. 20, you may have seen a strange sight in Corsicana. Men and women in
their late 60s were racing in cars all over town, speeding, driving up over
curbs, making illegal U-turns, leaping out and running to the center of
Beaton Street where they stood and pointed at buildings and shouted at one
another. Bystanders and shoppers were astounded and amused. Some of them
even attempted to help, but since they were under 40 they had no idea which
direction to send the eager senior citizens who were acting like they were
They were looking for The Ideal Theater, the original Mexican Inn, the
Piggly Wiggly store, J.C. Penney’s, Duke & Ayers, the Corsicana Daily Sun
building on Main Street, the Navarro Hotel, Amy Yeldell’s house, the Wolf
Brand Chili Company, the Dairy Queen, the A&W Root Beer stand, Mrs.
Linscomb’s Tastee Freez, Bobby Torrito Baseball Field, and the 40-yard line
of the old Tiger Field. These were just a few of the 26 locations that
participants had to find in an hour and a half. They had to take a picture
of the group or a group member holding a large number standing in front of
the no-longer-in-existence building. Then they had to race to the next
“location,” and make it back to Star Hall with their cameras before the
other cars. There were many arguments, a lot of wrong turns, several
near-accidents, and much happy laughter. Nedom Muns organized and planned
this savage game, and in spite of the near fist-fights that broke out at the
finish line, the participants were grateful for his creative endeavor. It
made them feel like kids again, and they acted like kids again.
This was all part of the 50th reunion of the Corsicana High School
Class of 1957, which began on Oct. 19 with a fiesta dinner of fajitas
catered by Mike and Yoli Amez. There were piñatas hanging from the ceiling
and multi-colored tablecloths, all part of the festive evening planned by
Martha Grady Washburn and Billie Morris Carroll. After dinner, the class
presented Ann Call Griffin with a scrapbook of letters from class members
thanking her for her 50 years of dedication to keeping the class together.
This was followed by a lively and hysterical karaoke session arranged by
James Venable with the help of BJ the DJ, who provided 1950s music for both
nights. The evening ended with the class singing “All Hail Corsicana” which
was led by Judy Ware Jerman, the 1957 CHS queen.
Before the fierce scavenger hunt Oct. 20, the group enjoyed a savory
array of dishes served at a welcoming come-and-go brunch at the home of
Dolores King Stone, where class members visited and autographed their Class
of 1957 Memory Books.
The 150-page memory book contains high school and recent photographs,
addresses and phone numbers of every classmate from the class of 1957,
including many people who began elementary school with the class but
graduated at different times or moved away before graduation. The 54 members
of the class who have since passed away are also included. The book is a
trip down memory lane for anyone who grew up in Corsicana in the ‘40s and
‘50s. Class members wrote their individual recollections of coming of age in
a small town in Northeast Texas during a time when Ike was in the White
House and people didn’t have to lock their doors. There are old photographs
of those no-longer-standing buildings, a brief history of the town, and
lists of ‘50s memorabilia, such as sock hops, blue suede shoes, S&H Green
Stamps, hula hoops, rock ‘n roll, movie stars, and historical events. A copy
of this book, compiled and produced by Patricia West Hays, has been placed
in the Corsicana Public Library and can be viewed there in the genealogy
On the night of Oct. 20, the class dressed up for a sit-down dinner.
Star Hall was transformed by Anna Griffin Sanders of Annie’s Garden into a
magical fairy land with a ceiling of twinkling lights. The tables were set
with white tablecloths, royal blue satin runners, gold chargers, and
delicate flower and candle centerpieces. Class members received glass
coasters engraved with the words to the CHS “All Hail Corsicana” in boxes
wrapped with gold ribbons. All the women received orchids to wear in memory
of those special prom nights of long ago. The evening began with a
candlelighting memorial service for deceased classmates led by Harold Scott.
Nedom Muns served as master of ceremonies for the program, which included
viewing a DVD prepared by Megan Carpenter Vadasy with help from Patricia
After an elaborate dinner catered by Traditions of Tyler, the class
danced to ‘50s music and laughed and talked the night away. The evening
ended with “All Hail Corsicana,” led this time by Gail Toldan Combs just as
she did on graduation night May 31, 1957. Photos taken during the weekend
were burned onto CDs by Elise Johnson for participants to take home.
As a final surprise, the class presented Griffin with a very special
Raymond Weil watch, purchased with generous contributions from the class.
Griffin is the one person who has spent 50 years keeping the class address
records up to date, planning and coordinating reunions, and mailing notices
to all members. She has also been responsible for providing flowers, with
funds raised at each reunion, for all funerals of deceased members of the
CHS Class of 1957.
Ninety-two people who were members of the class at some point in their
lives attended this 50th reunion. Total attendance was 126 over the weekend,
including spouses and other family members.
The class of 1957 holds an auction each year to raise money for
“Helping Hands” which provides assistance to former classmates, classmates’
families, and current CHS students in need. The class has contributed over
$7,000 to special causes in the last six years, thanks to the efficient help
of Eleanor Collier Statham, who has also served as special assistant to
Griffin. The 2006 reunion auction funds were set aside for the 50th reunion
in order to keep costs reasonable for participants.
The class will continue to meet on the third Saturday in October each
year to hang out together for a day, reminisce about those long-ago times,
and catch up on current happenings.
Corsicana Daily Sun
Submitted by Patricia Hays