Some high school classes are just more cohesive than others, like the students of the class of 1940 from Notre Dame Academy in Belleville, an all-girls school.
A group of the local graduates gather about four times a year for lunch to talk over times old and new. There were 52 graduates that year. On Thursday at Fischer's Restaurant, seven of "the girls" were present.
"I always say girls," said Harriet (Pope) Ross, oldest of the remaining graduates at 91. "We all do."
Their mini-reunions have been going on for many years, said Roselle (Heck) Krug, 89. "I know we've been doing this for over 25 years. We've always been close. We've always kept in touch."
Two years ago when they had a full reunion, they had about 25 in attendance from several states. Some class members have passed on since then.
"We've lost nine this year," Roselle said.
Alice (Braun) Reime, the youngest of the group, was not there because of ill health.
"She knows all the stories," someone said. It was kind of hard to keep track of who said what in the free-ranging discussions.
"We have fun," different people kept repeating.
Most are in pretty good health. Several still drive themselves to the gatherings.
Also present were Cassy (Hoeffken) Reifschneide, Delores (Modrow) Kassly, Ethel (Loring) Corrigan and Margaret (Beuechler) Eisele, and Charlene (Hermann) Hubert.
They talked about the strict nuns but also about some of the lay people who taught at their school. Some remembered tuition to grade school was $1.50 per month and $36 a year to Notre Dame. It was the tail end of the Depression.
"Many couldn't afford even that," Charlene said.
Roselle remembered you could get a tuition waiver if you attended every Sodality meeting and Mass.
"I never heard that," Charlene piped in.
The girls wore uniforms of a navy blue skirt and blouse or pure white for special occasions. The school was strict about the length of those skirts -- they had to be long.
Several of the women attended the same schools from kindergarten through Notre Dame.
Some remembered a specific teacher they didn't like. They were so happy when the school year was over and they would move on to a new teacher.
The teacher told them she would introduce them to their new teacher and walked out of the room. Then she walked back in and said, "Here I am."
Everyone was so disappointed, but they survived, as they continue to do.
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