Class of 1971 celebrates 50 years
By Dianna Daniel on behalf of the Class of 1971
Wow!!! 50 years. I remember my parents celebrating their 50th reunions and thinking “man, they are old”. Funny, 50 years doesn’t seem so old now and 68 seems more middle age than elderly! But here we are, getting ready to celebrate 50 years since graduation and all of the memories that go along with our time at Bexley High School.
I asked several classmates what they thought we should include in this article and received several suggestions. I am going to try to include some from each of them. I always considered our class to be a pretty close knit group. I’m sure some would completely disagree, not having a very good experience in high school. I wish that weren’t the case and as we’ve grown and matured I’m sure some folks would like a “do over” to correct some of their behavior and unkindness. I hope life has gotten better for all of us. Some classmates knew from the very beginning what they wanted to do when they grew up and went after it from the start. Others took a little longer to find their way but have done quite well. Then there are some of us who are still wondering what we want to do when we grow up! Over the 50 years we have sadly lost 23 classmates that we are aware of, the most recent being our class president Donald Dick. We miss our friends and are sad they are no longer with us to celebrate this occasion. We plan to acknowledge each of them in a special way when we have our reunion in July.
Growing up in a small community like Bexley was a special experience. It allowed us to get to know our classmates, their families, our teachers, and the community. There are many memories of Jeffrey Mansion, the Bexley Pool, homecoming floats, plays and musicals, sports, hitting the various eating spots on Main St for lunch, sledding at Miller’s Hill, Rubinos, and so many more.
We had many excellent teachers at Bexley. I’m sure they helped us in many ways, exploring options for our futures and supporting us throughout our time in high school. Any one of our classmates could say that different teachers were their favorite and they could all deserve a special shout out. I will highlight just a couple however. R.G. Smith, our wacky and beloved Chemistry teacher, taught at Bexley from 1969 until 2001, a total of 32 years. While at Bexley he co-authored chemistry and physical science textbooks for McGraw Hill and ExploreLearning and, for another 20 years, worked as an international science education consultant and did teacher training in nine countries. R.G. now lives in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C., teaches Bible classes and boater education classes. He gives his best wishes to the Class of 1971.
Ms. Basnett (Charlotte or Ms B) taught at Bexley from 1967 until 1986. She taught PE for ten years (I’m sure all the girls can remember exercising to “Chicken Fat” in her class) and then served as the Sophomore Guidance Counselor for nine more. While at Bexley, she served as cheerleading advisor, GAC advisor, and coached hockey, basketball and softball. After retirement she served as Executive Secretary for Ohio Volleyball Coaches Assn and ran a volleyball camp at Bexley for a number of years. She has been a volunteer with the Greater Buckeye Lake Historical Society for many years and has served as a driver and narrator for the paddle wheeler The Queen of the Lake II tour boat. The Queen III will be running starting April 2021 if anyone is interested! Ms. B would be happy to take you on a tour! Ms. B just celebrated her 89th birthday!
I also wanted to mention Perry Smith who taught Spanish. His son Kim is one of our classmates. A little known fact about Mr. Smith is that he was a POW during WWII. He was imprisoned in Austria for 19 months in Stalag 17B and wrote a book based on his wartime diaries called “The Broken Wing”.
So many of our classmates have achieved great accomplishments over the last 50 years. I hesitate to highlight any because I don’t know all and don’t want to exclude anyone. I also know several people have dealt with serious health issues, some conquering them and, sadly,
some are still dealing with them or have succumbed from them. Please know we celebrate your positives and pray for and support you through your challenges.
We look forward to being able to gather together over the July 4th weekend this year and spend time laughing and reminiscing about old times and learning about what all we have been doing for the last 50 years. After these last 12 months of dealing with Covid, it will be a great time to celebrate! Looking forward to seeing you soon!