Posted in Family, Twin Tiers Baptist High School

A Blast of the Past #116: TTBHS 25th reunion

One of the main focuses of the summer trip in 2009 was my 25th high school reunion.  So here are some pictures from Twin Tiers Baptist High School — from 8 years ago.

Posted in Education, Twin Tiers Baptist High School

Journey to a High School Reunion — Senior Year

In two weeks I will be hauling my family 1,000 miles “back home” to attend my 30th high school reunion. Today I post my final reflective blog on my school years leading up to that high school graduation — the senior year.HCS Cover010

The senior year book was dedicated in memory of Van Page. His passing and his influence was still a constant reminder to us of the need to live Christ-centered lives now, even as we were planning for the future ahead — the futHCS Cover012ures that have unrolled before us in the 30 years since. How close to what we “planned” have those 30 years proven, and how much better, or worse, are they  for not having lined up with our plans, but with His?

The yearbook had other reflective moments. There was a section of baby pictures, to see how various seniors had changed since their early days. I look at those pictures, compare to the senior pictures, and compare the senior pictures to my pictures today, and realize the continuity within change that the years bring. Do we find ourselves, become ourselves, grow into ourselves? We were exploring those questions in the plans made during senior year, and I’m not sure I’ve plumbed but a small portion of their depth since.

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Speaking of the senior pictures, my name was misspelled.  My middle name got spelled wrong. I wasn’t on that part of the layout, but being on the yearbook staff, I should have known to double-check.

My main role on the yearbook staff was advertising sales.  Among the sales was an ad from my then church honoring me as its graduate. I got to do the layout, and put it in a heavy old English font. With my experience as an editor and copy editor for both college and regular newspapers, I look back and that and wonder what I was thinking when I chose that font.HCS Cover013

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I remember Mr. Wilson following our choices for beyond high school in Bible class. As time went on we announced what college, or other endeavor, we planned to follow. There were a lot of Baptist schools — Cedarville, BBC, etc., choices. When I announced my choice of Houghton College, a Wesleyan school, several of the teachers and staff raised questions, often indirectly, about the choice. The only person who expressed no doubt at all about my decision was Mr. Wilson.

What memories to you recall from senior year?







Posted in Education, Twin Tiers Baptist High School

Journey to a High School Reunion — 9th Grade

The summer before ninth grade was one of the watersheds of our education. It was the summer that Van Page died.



In fact, our ninth grade yearbook was dedicated in memory of Van, a reminder of service to Christ, that it wouldn’t always be hard.

From what I understood at the time, Van died in an attempt to help someone else. It may not have been a smart thing he tried to do, but the heart, the motive was right, what we all remember of him.


I felt Van was a good friend of mine, but I wouldn’t by any means claim to have been one of his closest friends in the class. I would appreciate those of you who did know him well to make comment after this column about him.

As usual, I don’t have a lot of memories of 9th grade. Oddly, my most persistent memory at this time is about soccer practice. This was the year I was on the varsity soccer team for the first time. We had been allowed to create special t-shirts for practice.  Since it was the summer of “who shot J.R.?” and since my initials are J.R., my brother Robert created a shirt with J.R. on it for me.  I still have it in my drawer and wear it occasionally.


Our class count was up to 25 this year. I also notice on the faculty page of the yearbook they got Mr. Wyse and Mr. Mullikin’s names backwards. Probably a big thing then, but small to the web story I saw today about the yearbook for an Arizona high school release here in 2014 — with the year 2013 on it, a quote across someone’s face, all sorts of wrong names, etc. After seeing that web-clip, I am glad for the efforts put in by the people who put our yearbooks together all these years, to help us have these recorded memories (before the days the web made everything “saved forever”).



Posted in Education, Twin Tiers Baptist High School

Journey to a High School Reunion — 8th Grade

As I recall from our TTBHS years, 8th grade was always the year that the staff found the various classes the hardest to handle.  I don’t remember the full theory behind that fact. What I do remember (whether correct or not), is that our class didn’t end up with that wild streak that most other classes did during their 8th grade year.Scan0034

The 8th grade yearbook was dedicated to Mrs. Snyder. I wrote a bit about her during my blog on 6th grade. But the significant thing was her teaching, both in piano and vocal, was the foundation of the musical skills I have used ever since. Without her dedication in teaching, I wouldn’t be doing the organ playing I am.Scan0036

There is a picture missing from our class pictures — Darla Kramer. I don’t know if her family was attending my church — Caton Bible Chapel — during our eighth grade year.  Actually I am pretty sure they weren’t. Seems I would have remembered if anyone besides my family was attending our church and going to TTBHS. But she, or more directly her brother, had a connection to my life when I moved to Kansas City. Scan0037

The same year I joined Madrigalia Bar Nonne, A Peggy Chilson joined. Not long afterwards Peggy figured out that she and I had attended Caton Bible Chapel at the same time during our teen years — she because she was attending with Darla’s brother Gary. Darla’s mother like to call Peggy a “heathen” — something Peggy continued to remember years later, and recount. Just shows you never can tell where you will find a connection.Scan0038

One other thing I remember from these 8th grade pictures is an incident from chess club. Despite my brains, I seldom won chess games against the other players most of whom were older and more experienced.  But one time I managed to eliminate all of Dan Thorp’s men, and was chasing his king around the board with my limited men (just 2 or three pieces), to find a way to put him in check. Then suddenly he declared it a draw.  Seem he knew about this rule that it is a draw if you cannot checkmate the other person in a certain number of moves after he has only his king. Of course I was unaware of the rule, and so didn’t realize I needed to mate him quickly. I had been already to win, when Dan made sure I didn’t by pulling a technicality that he knew I didn’t know.Scan0039

Posted in Education, Twin Tiers Baptist High School

Journey to a High School Reunion — Seventh Grade


Our 7th grade yearbook was dedicated to Miss Oldroyd. It mentions that she had been at the school for 5 years.  If my math is correct that means she started the same year the Lightfoots came to HCS. Miss Oldroyd is still there, and we might get a chance to see her and thank her during the reunion this summer, if we plan things right and invite her nicely.


So, 5 years then, 5 more years through the rest of our high school, and then 30 years to reunion — 40 years of teaching for Miss Oldroyd?

Anyway, I have to admit right now that I’m coming up rather memory-less about anything that happened during 7th grade.  Even staring at the pictures in the yearbook doesn’t bring much to mind.


I am amazed at the number of pictures of myself that I can find in the yearbooks.

Although I think the picture of me on the class picture page is just a closeup of the picture from the music page. Or if not a closeup of the same picture, a closeup from a picture taken about the same time at the same event.


So, tell me, everyone, who has specific memories of our 7th grade year — the first year at the TTBHS building for our class.

Posted in Education, Twin Tiers Baptist High School

Journey to a High School Reunion — Sixth Grade



Sixth Grade — By this time we were split between TTBHS and HCS. So our Sixth Grade year we were the top class, the graduating class.


I don’t remember a lot about it, but our old school buildings, which were actually the Horseheads First Baptist Church, underwent a lot of changes once the high school students had moved to Breesport. And the changes have continued over the years.  Been a long time since I have been back, but I don’t think there is much of anything of our school rooms that we would still recognize.


There are two events from the sixth grade year that I do remember.  Actually, this first one may or may not be from the sixth grade year, but I’ll place it there in my memory, since it occurred at the HCS parking lot.

We had been on a field trip, I don’t remember of what, and had returned late to school.  We were waiting around for our parents to arrive to pick us up. We had broken up into small groups, and were standing around talking. The groups were somewhat fluid, and I was talking in a small group of boys. Somehow our conversation intersected with that of some girls.

I cannot remember the conversation leading up to it, but I remember a line Lynne Margeson said to me: “Can’t you ever talk about anything but serious stuff?” Well, the exact word choice might have been different, but the idea was that. Apparently she thought I couldn’t make small talk.

I have remembered that encounter all these years — just not with a lot of details, obviously.


The second event I remember I know was specifically sixth grade.  Mrs. Snyder had given an award the previous year to the music student who improved the most during the year.  I was determined to win that award in Sixth Grade.  I got myself up 15 minutes earlier every morning so I could practice 45 minutes a day instead of 30 to put the extra effort in.

The annual recital that year was in the new church sanctuary. I remember playing my piece from memory (I don’t remember what the piece was). I also remember winning the award, and Mrs. Snyder mentioning the effort I had put in, getting up early to rehearse.


Obviously a lot of other significant things happened in sixth grade. My memory is notoriously sparse on those events.  What do the rest of you HCSers remember from sixth grade?

Posted in Education, Twin Tiers Baptist High School

Journey to a High School Reunion — Fifth Grade

Now I arrive at fifth grade.  This is the year where I seem to have the most specific memories so far.

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As a fourth grader and third grader I heard stories about Mrs. Harriman, the fifth grade teacher.  She was tough. She was mean. It was rough being in fifth grade.

To my mind they were the usual kids scaring each other tactics. Fifth Grade was one of my favorite years. Mrs. Harriman taught me how to study. Structure and discipline and focus emerged.

But I also had a lot of fun. How many of you remember Mrs. Harriman reading us books over lunch time.  There is one book in particular I have memories of — just not enough to figure out what book it was. The book was set in the Tudor or Elizabethan period of England, and featured a young boy and his mentor.  It was sort of Prince and the Pauperish — but was NOT Prince and the Pauper.

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The scene I remember was the main character talking about the correct words to use for groups of various animals and people. Within the list was the point that it was a “gaggle of geese” and a “gaggle of girls.” They may have mentioned what you call a group of boys, but I do not remember.  Does anyone happen to know which book this might be? I’ve already had this hankering to read it again, to really remember it.

I also remember a field trip to the Newtown Battlefield.  My mother was either the home room mother, or one of the ones assisting.  They drove us out in cars, and afterwards we were doing cleanup and packing up. I took the front passenger seat of our Mercedes 240D, and the other kids sat in back. Mrs, Harriman was going to sit in front, and I ended up sharing the seat with her, at first, because I wouldn’t move to the back. Then suddenly I kicked my legs over and backwards and flipped myself into the back seat to sit with the two or three other boys from the class that was there.

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Does anyone remember that visit to the battlefield, or riding back from it, and that stunt of mine? I am sure it is true, but cannot remember who else was in the car.

The other scene from fifth grade I remember is actually from the yearbook.  This was the year that the fifth grade was listed in the yearbook by book titles.  Each of us, all 18, was given a book title.  I have looked at those over the years and wondered how accurate each was. Were they at all predictive?

Mine was “Points to Ponder.” Seems quite indicative of where I went and continue to go.

I was always fascinated by the Margesons’: “A Tale of Two Sisters: Miss Ladylike and Miss Action.” It seemed an image that followed them through high school, at least from my perspective. And I think it has colored my perceptions since, such as meeting them on Facebook. But how much of that is my perception, and how much of it is current reality?

Which raises a question. Those of the rest of you from fifth grade, what did you think of your “book title” in the yearbook when you first saw it, and what do you think of it today?


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(Let me give credit and thank you to Kelly Margeson Sill for the photos with this blog. I misplaced my fifth grade yearbook and she kindly scanned pages from hers that I could use to illustrate this blog.)

Posted in Education, Twin Tiers Baptist High School

Journey to a High School Reunion — Fourth Grade


Fourth grade was my second year at Horseheads Christian School. There are several moments I remember from this year.


The first item is something very unique in my schooling.  Out of 19 students in fourth grade, three of us had the name Jonathan: Jonathan Langley and myself had been there in third grade. This year Jonathan Green joined us while his parents were on leave from the mission field (was it Brazil? does anyone know/remember?).


The second item was the bicentennial.  I remember the school putting on a big bi-centennial program.  The yearbook itself was themed around the occasion of America’s bi-centennial.

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The third thing I remember was Miss Wood, our fourth grade teacher, sending a student to the principal’s office with a note one day, and then, before the student got back, she fainted on us. I recall her being seated at her desk and then her eyes just suddenly rolling back. It wasn’t too long before someone from the office was there — her note with the student was asking someone to come relieve her because she wasn’t feeling well.

I don’t remember much of what we students did during that brief time window. Does anyone else remember this event, or have better recollection of exactly what happened? Who was the student that took the note to the office? It is amazing what I can and cannot recall.Scan0027

Posted in Education, Family, Twin Tiers Baptist High School

Journey to a High School Reunion — Third Grade


Finally, my reminisces bring me to my private school days. My parents transferred my siblings and me to Horseheads Christian School for my third grade year. It was 6th grade for Robert and Kindergarten for Richelle.

Scan0027In 4th and 5th grades Robert had some very interesting teachers. This was in the days of open classrooms — classrooms without walls. Robert was attending the Caton Elementary School when one of the teachers told the kids their parents could bring refrigerator boxes to school for them that they could put around their desks so they could go inside for privacy to study during study times. Our dad decided Robert could do without them. A teacher also told the kids they would all either smoke, drink or have sex before they were 16. (Robert, being Robert, he stubbornly decided he wasn’t going to do anything of the sort, and has never done the first two, and saved the third for marriage.)

Needless to say, these and other things encouraged my parents to make the sacrifice to send us to HCS.

The yearbook shows that there were 19 of us in third grade. My count says 11 of us were there in 12th grade at TTBHS.

The yearbook that year was dedicated to Mrs. Smith, our teacher, who was retiring after 19 years of teaching, including all 5 years of HCS’s existence.Scan0028

It was also Mr. Kane’s first year at HCS. Robert had him in sixth grade.

It was my first year with Mrs. Snyder as my piano teacher. While it was my third year of lessons, it was with Mrs. Snyder that I started developing my talents in earnest, the talents that led me to be a rehearsal accompanist in college, a substitute pianist at my various churches, and eventually to being substitute organist where I am today.


So, what do all of you remember from third grade, especially the other 10 people who were there with me?

Posted in Education, Twin Tiers Baptist High School

Journey to a High School Reunion — Second Grade

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I have more memories, or should I say impressions, about second grade than any of the previous grades. Second grade was Mrs. Ginnan’s class. She lived up the rode from us, and in the years following was one of my customers for eggs from my 4-H chicken project, along with several other fund-raisers and small businesses. But for Second grade she was my teacher.

My key memories of second grade were playing with a particular plastic construction toy: it was a flat plastic circle with 4 peg legs that clicked  into each other. Does anyone have any idea what it was called?

I remember playing with it during study breaks from our study groups. I remember playing with one friend in particular.  I remember his name as Lance.  And when I left public school for Horseheads Christian School my memory would return to that friend over the years and pray for him.Album 005

For you see, I had gotten saved over the summer between First and Second grades. And I had never figured out quite how to share it with him during second grade.

(As an aside, my mom said that in one of her conversations with Mrs. Ginnan, it was mentioned that because of my beliefs I took some ridicule from my peers that year, but wouldn’t give in.  I don’t have memory of that at all.)

Years later I saw his picture while working at the paper, and wondered if it was him. It was in one of the wedding announcements. We got a chance to talk, and he remembered me, as I remembered him. He had become a Methodist minister. We discussed our faith. My prayers from all those years had been answered.

Then I knew his name,  first and last.  Today again I only remember Lance, and even that might be a substitution of the brain over time.

How about the rest of you? What do you remember about your second grade experience.