The Lake-Noxen Class of 1960 and Lehman-Jackson Class of 1959 went through a lot of firsts together.
They voted to choose the first mascot and school colors for the Lake-Lehman School District when it combined in 1958.
That tradition continued when many of those classmates celebrated their 71st birthdays during a casual reunion at Grotto Pizza on Friday, Aug. 9.
“This is our third time meeting together,” said Gordon Dershimer, a 1960 Lake-Noxen alumnus.
The 70-year-old from Harveys Lake said the group got together for its 50th anniversary reunion and then everyone decided to gather for a birthday celebration last year, as many of the classmates turned 70 years old.
Now the tight-knit group keeps in touch throughout the year, thanks to modern technology and it wasn’t long before another reunion was planned.
Dershimer enjoys socializing with his former classmates and had only kept in touch with a few before the 50th anniversary reunion.
Beverly Wandel, 71, of Harveys Lake, said she keeps showing up to the reunions “like a bad penny.”
“It’s fun to see all the old people - or should I say, past classmates,” she laughed.
Wandel, a Lake-Noxen Class of 1959 grad, said one of her favorite high school memories was meeting her husband, Ray Wandel, when he came to the school for the first time in ninth grade.
“He was cute,” she said.
But her husband remembered the romance a little differently.
“(She) liked my ‘49 Mercury,” he said.
Frank Dudinski, 70, of Greentown, met his wife Donna later in life and out of the area, but the two share roots in the Back Mountain.
“My wife lived in Dallas, so we always have a little rivalry about which team has had the (Old) Shoe more times,” said Dudinski.
The coveted trophy is a key point of rivalry between the two school districts, and the varsity football teams duke it out every November to see who will win the Old Shoe for that year.
Dudinski remembers voting to pick the school colors and the outcome was one he didn’t want.
“I liked maroon and gold,” he said. “But I got used to black and gold eventually.”
Al Niezgoda, 70, of Dover, Del., said the Lehman school’s class colors were once red and blue, and the district’s well-known Black Knight mascot was once another fierce black character.
“We used to have a Scottie dog as a mascot,” laughed Niezgoda.
Seventy-one-year-old Jim Roberts, of Sweet Valley, was hand-picked to draw the new mascot in the class yearbook.
The 1960 Lehman school alum said he was always a good artist, and he even etched in a little dedication in the drawing to his sweetheart at the time, hoping no one would notice.
“I was dating a girl at the time named Flo,” he said. “I wrote the name ‘Flo’ in the knight’s cape or on the horse somewhere for her. Now it sticks out like a sore thumb when you look at it.”
Other classmates had similar goals in high school when it came to impressing the ladies. Don Steltz, 74, of Sweet Valley, was no exception.
“I just remember cutting class all the time to go hunting,” said Steltz of his extra curricular activities. “I was in the chorus, but I wasn’t a good singer. I just joined to meet girls.”