BELMONT — There were only 16 members of the Class of 1961 at Belmont High School and during Saturday's Old Home Day celebration 14 of them showed up at the Main Street home of Janice Strople Sawyer for a class reunion.
It was the first time in 52 years, ever since high school graduation night, that some of the former classmates had seen each other said Sawyer, who said that she got the idea for the reunion last winter.
''It was a January project to get me through the cold weather,'' said Sawyer. ''I kept running into some of the members of the class at Market Basket and thought that it might be a good idea for all of us to get together. Well, eight months later, we did and it was a really fun gathering.''
She said that remarkably all 16 members of the graduating class are still alive and that the reunion also included members of the class who dropped out or moved away before graduation, as well as one of their teachers, Madeline Tickess, 93, who today lives in Franklin.
Sawyer said that she lived in the Main Street home where the reunion was held with her parents, Harold and Sylvia Strople, who managed the Taylor Home in Laconia for many years, starting in 1951 and moved back there from Gilmanton several years ago.
She said that those making long trips for the reunion included Norma Getgen Alexander, who drove all the way from Williamsport, Pa., and Mary Jane Binette, who came up from Kentucky.
Sawyer said that John Walker, who lives in Montana, wasn't able to attend the reunion but had paid a visit to Belmont in May.
Thirteen of the classmates posed for a picture during the parade and another Roberta St. Jean, who lives in Florida, arrived before Old Home Day festivities were over.
CAPTION, photo #3
Belmont High School Class of 1961 held a reunion on Belmont Old Home Day at the home of Janice Strople Sawyer on Main Street. Shown are, back row, left to right: Lorraine Bickford Hancock, Noel Kenyon, Bob Hamel, Linda Gilbert Dalton, Claudia Sharps Goyette, Fred Firth; front row: left to right: Carol Young Marden, Mary Jane Binette, Norma Getgen Alexander, Sandy Clairmont Clark, Sharon Stickney Johnson, Janice Strople Sawyer, Carole Wareing Morin (Ed Engler photo)