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Lunch with the GHS Class of 1946

Stories shared by the Geneva High School class of 1946 during their monthly reunion lunch.

My job as Executive Director of the Geneva History Center is always interesting.  One of the highlights was an invitation for lunch last week with the Geneva High School Class of 1946.  These classmates have been meeting for a lunch reunion on the first Wednesday of each month since 1987.

The luncheons are arranged by Class President, Jim Coulos who still lives in Geneva.  He decides on the location and then calls each of his classmates to remind them and let them know where to meet.  There are 18 classmates on his list including their class sponsor, Esther Iverson who was a bookkeeping and typing teacher at the high school.  She was not there last week but attends the luncheons when she can.

"Shes not much older than we are," explained Coulos.

"There's a little story about her," added classmate Elmer Wilhelm who drives all the way from Joliet with his wife Tillie to attend the monthly reunions.  "When she first walked in to the class, ah, I still remember the red sweater...  Some guys were ready to make a move on her until they saw her walk up and sit at the teacher's desk!"

"Some things never change," added Margaret Ogden.

I asked how the these monthly reunions got started.

"We were planning one of our big reunions and Norma and Charlie took the reunion committee out to lunch.  "We enjoyed it so much I said why don't we do this every month?" said Coulos.  "The rest is history."

"Not everybody makes it every time," added Phil Dun, owner of the former Shutter Shack on State Street in Geneva.

"Unless we have a doctor's appointment," quipped Norma Acciari who with her husband Charlie hosted the first lunch and were high school sweethearts.

I asked Elmer if they still make the drive from Joliet in the winter.  He replied, "We have snow tires!"

Some of the interesting stories included a class prank that took place while they were in high school at the Coultrap building.  "Someone brought a horse in and up to the second floor.  It was a hoot to watch the teachers try to get the horse down the stairs and out of the building," Wilhelm recalled.

Included on the list are widows of GHS classmates and Harry Coulos, Jim's brother, from the GHS Class of 1945.  His class doesn't meet anymore so they consider him a classmate and invite him each month.  "It's been wonderful."

Thank you for a great time, Jim Coulos, Harry Coulos ('45), Margaret Ogden, Charlie & Norma Acciari, Elmer and Tillie Wilhelm, Phil Dunn, Annette Carlson, Donna Anderson, and Dave Oatman.

Their laughter, demeanor and kindness to each other was delightful and probably the reason they are all still able to get together and share their stories.  And, yes, I did finally ask, they are all around 84 years old.

I had such a great time and as a GHS Class of 1982 graduate I have been invited to join them anytime. Thanks to the great resource we have here in the Geneva History Center archives I found their senior yearbook and enjoyed reading about their activities and seeing their youthful faces that I will recall as I listen to their stories.

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Elmer F. Wilhelm June 11, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Please send me a hard copy of the class of 1946 article. To: Elmer F. Wilhelm -- 2689 Hoberg Drive, Joliet, IL. 60432 I tried to print from the email but could not do it. Thanks Elmer
Geneva History Center June 11, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I'll put it in the mail today! Thanks for sharing your stories with me. Say hello to Tillie.

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