Catching up after all these years

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By Kim Delgado

The Robertson High School class of 1959 celebrated its 50th anniversary with a class reunion July 30-31.

The get-together started with dinner at the Sandia Resort and Casino in Albuquerque. There were some 38 classmates in attendance, which included their spouses. They had a good time, going so far as revealing who had a crush on whom back in the 10th grade.

July 31 was celebrated with a class picnic held at the Villanueva State Park, with about 23 people participating. There was a tour to the Villanueva Catholic Church for those who wanted to see the beautiful tapestry. I attended the picnic and can tell you that we started out with name tags to help identify each other, but I can’t imagine why. Those of us living in Las Vegas who were at the picnic were Billy Rogers, Onofre Gonzales (Martinez), Mary Angela Herrera and Joan Anderson.

In a matter of 10 minutes, it seemed like we were a bunch of teenagers transported back to McFarland Hall, where we used to enjoy the Friday afternoon sock hop. We reminisced about our high school years and all agreed it was a good experience. We talked about our favorite teachers and agreed that, even though Mrs. Ruth Shaeffer was strict, she was the best English teacher who had the most influence on our lives.

The highlight of the day may very well have been when Ada Bustos (Simons) let out her joyful and contagious laughter, then there was no doubt we were the RHS class of 1959. I don’t know if the others remember that we used to say, “59 Will Always Shine,” and shine we did at this unforgettable event.

There were too many classmates to mention each by name, but I do need to mention the three who put this reunion together and they were Pete Laumbach, who lives in Los Lunas; Barbara Welch (Richardson) living in Florida; and Sue Butterfield (Hagberg), who lives in Massachusetts. No doubt there were others who helped. It was interesting to learn that Sue has carried on a New Mexico tradition for New Year’s Eve. She still cooks a pot of posole with pork.

Gathering from our conversations of the day and the classmate profiles posted on our web site, it seems like many individuals became teachers, counselors and social workers. Many of the men had served in the military. If anyone wants to check out the web site or join the group, go to (www.robertson59.com). There are many reunion photos plus classmate profiles and other information at this site.

Our reunion included a moment of silence in memory of those classmates who have since passed away. Barbara read a beautiful poem and Pete read all their names. The majority of us had not seen each other in 50 years, yet the affection and friendship was evident. I came away believing that the diversity of our class served to enrich our high school experience.

The folks who put the reunion together have decided that the unused funds from this event might best be used to make a donation to Robertson High School. After checking with the current principal, it was determined that the funds could go toward paying for cap and gown fees or to purchase yearbooks for those students who need the extra help. Currently the amount is $535, with plans to increase this amount. Donations are being accepted until Oct. 1 and can be made out to Robertson class of 59, and mailed to Pete Laumbach at 1091 Lamb Ct., Los Lunas, N.M., 87031. All related information will be updated on the web site.

In closing, I must say that no one volunteered to put together the next 50-year reunion, I can’t imagine why. A few suggested getting together in five years, and I agreed, even if we have to make it a “Senior Olympic” event. Who knows, it could turn out to be the best reunion ever, with wheelchair and walker races, sword duels using canes, horse shoes and if all else fails, we can all do the “Hokey Pokey.”

Kim Delgado is a regular contributor for the Optic.