Personifying the famous words from Cole Porter’s song Friendship, members of the Provo High School Class of 1949 say their friendship is “just a perfect blendship.”
Mary Keith Boyack, Dale Shumway, Hilton “Turf” Terry and Ralph Morgan continue to bring members of the ‘49ers together. Shumway and Terry are the co-chairs for this year’s 70th reunion.
The reunion will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Provo Library at Academy Square. A catered buffet and sharing memories and memorabilia will part of the day’s festivities.
Classmates also meet three times a year when available to check up on each other at the Brick Oven Restaurant, or as they call it Heaps A Pizza, its original name.
Shumway said they are expecting between 40 and 50 classmates to attend the daytime reunion. There were about 500 in the original class according to Boyack.
Members of the class of ’49 were mostly born in 1931, during the Great Depression. They were 10 years-old when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese, thus pushing the U.S. into World War II.
The class of ’49 went to school in the building that was located at 300 West and Center Street, where the Provo City building is now.
“Boy’s P.E. was in the street on first south,” Shumway said. “We didn’t have many facilities.”
“We went to Pioneer Park on 500 West to run the 440 race,” Morgan said.
Terry added, “We graduated in the Provo Tabernacle (now the Provo City Center LDS Temple).”
The ‘49ers class project was to cut down all the trees in in the area that would one day make the football field for the new high school being built at about 1200 N. University Avenue.
Shumway said they were a protected group. Everyone considered one another friends, though political parties and religions often differed. It didn’t matter, they were all kind to each other.
“I only know of one kid that used drugs in the high school, and that was marijuana,” Morgan said.
If there was anyone who made some interesting choices Boyack said it was her. She said she wrote the assembly for girl’s day and other programs.
“I was always getting out of class,” Boyack said. “It’s a wonder I graduated at all.”
But then she added, “It was ‘Turf’ who was the first boy to get a car in the school.”
Terry and Boyack met when they were 5 years old at Maeser Elementary School and have been friends since. This week after 83 years, she finally told him she had a crush on him back in their school days.
Shumway said he was always playing with the boys, but said playing with the boys was totally different from how it may be interpreted now.
“We were a bunch of social dudes,” Shumway said.
They had their favorite teachers too. Sherman Wing and Libby Hayward both taught English. Rudolph Reece was a math teacher and Al Johnson a highly favored science teacher.
According to Shumway a special recognition should go to Reece Bench, their chemistry teacher and of course, the Provo High School favorite principal Delbert “Deb” Tregaegle.
By 1949, the country was on track and growing again after the war. Provo High School students were unified through programs, dances and fun.
“It was a time of prosperity,” Boyack said.
Terry added, “We were trying to determine our next event, was it college, marriage or a career.”
“It was a transition time,” Shumway said.
As children they had already been through some of the most devastating times in American history.
“We were born the same year the Boulder Dam was built and the Empire State Building. During the heart of the Great Depression. We were very depressed. We didn’t have money but we had things,” Shumway said.
Morgan said he read the Daily Herald every day looking for the war column to get the synopsis on what was happening in both Europe and the Pacific. While Boyack said she just read the comics.
“I had two brothers in the Pacific,” Morgan said. Morgan went to join the Brigham Young University ROTC and after more than two decades retired a Major in the U.S. Air Force serving two tours in Vietnam.
Shumway went on to work with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Indian Placement program. Terry served in the Army during the Korean War and was a clerk/typist in South Korea. Boyack became a poet and author.
For information about the reunion call Terry at (801) 226-7237.