By: Ranny Cook and Debbie Rolen
September 24, 2013
Ranny Cook joined Facebook, saw a few of his classmates from Man High School’s Class of 1963 and decided the time had come for their 50th reunion (Dec 2012).
Cook retired at 50. He was shot hard in the 1968 Tet Offensive (Vietnam). He feels he is living on borrowed time, and being retired and president of his senior class, he decided to take on the challenge. He added Lassie Brumfield Jones and Jane Bucy Cook to form a committee. Facebook, Google and email made it easier to contact classmates.
Cooks feels he and his classmates were raised by the “greatest generation” born between World War I and the stock market crash of 1929. Their parents were forged in the furnace of the Great Depression. They were no-nonsense people who worked hard for a living and wanted a better life for their children. Twenty languages were spoken in the Guyan Valley during those times.
This Man High School class was born into opportunity after World War II, just as the middle class was being formed. The class got the best education in the United States and the class scored among the highest on national standardized test scores. After graduation, they sought out the future in all directions — some went to college, some joined the military, others went to Washington, DC; Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan, while others stayed home where coal is king. So goes the story of life.
All classmates of the class of 165 were contacted except ten. They learned 43 had been lost and 49 plan to attend, coming from 16 states and New Zealand.
A survey of the ancestry of class members was conducted and includes 12 countries. Five were of Native American descent — Cherokee, Creek, Shawnee, and Sioux.
“The theme is How Green WAS Our Valley. I saw the 1941 Academy award winning film “How Green Was My Valley” and it paralleled our history,” said Ranny Cook, “Our past will be celebrated in a slide show on a digital projector. Music will be provided for a time by another classmate with the “Jimmy Toler Band” and 100 songs suggested by classmates from any era will play. Some interesting, nice gifts provided by classmates will be given away and there will be a recognition of all Vietnam Era veterans hosted by fellow classmate George Dials, a West Point graduate. Some classmates have asked to make brief make comments.”
There will be a Memorial Service at Man High School Little Theater on Saturday Oct. 26, 2013, from 10-11 a.m. The public is invited. Fellow classmate Rev. Dr. Mike Jones from the state of Washington will officiate. Another classmate, Jim Brooks, from Indiana will sing. He was a member of the gospel group “The Brooks Family” of this area.
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