40th Annual Class of 1965 Reunion

July 22, 23 & 24, 2005

Recap | Toasts | Notices


The next little twist involved our very own Preacher John Sweisthal from Ft. Lauderdale. He travels the country with his Good News Ministry - - matter-of-fact, a handful of 65ers attended his series when he was the guest speaker at St. Patricks in Chesterton last year. Well, at our age (ahem) guess there's a FIRST TIME for everything - - John had dutifully and enthusiastically booked his air flight, room and rental car...for NEXT week! Upon realizing that he would not be, as Peter, Paul & Mary sang, "Leaving on a Jet Plane," our pilot/traffic flight planner classmates - John Gerbas and Ron Saczawa, tried their expertise to "make it happen," but, John S. made the decision that maybe it was in The Plan that he join us only in spirit. Having intercepted that phone call, Ted Zagar took over toastmaster/chaplain duties with a dedication worth repeating here in its full content as Ted had envisioned it. We raised our glasses:

1st toast
To our departed classmates who number 27 and who cannot be with us but in spirit. Some passed on while quite young, like David Polich, who never left his teens as he fell during the Vietnam War. Others left more recently, like Pauline Bradtke, who passed just this last Christmas. Pauline enjoyed our reunion two years ago, and her departure before this reunion underscores an important reason why old friends get together: we do so because we CAN do so. Life has given us yet another opportunity to share our past times together, as we make new memories this weekend to enjoy tomorrow and the tomorrows beyond that.

2nd toast
Raise your glasses to OURSELVES! We are survivors. We are HERE tonight! Each life has twists and turns, hills and valleys, but no matter what life has brought to you these past 40 years, you got through it all and you are here tonight, a fellow survivor!

3rd toast
When we walked off of that graduation stage four decades ago, we each had a unique set of goals and dreams. We were idealistic youths, and some of our dreams have been realized, while others have been exchanged for something more attainable. But no matter how well we have done, as it says in the good book, "All fall short in the eyes of the Lord." Each of us can be a better person than we were 40 years ago, or even yesterday. This final toast is to our 2nd "graduation," our 40th reunion. We walk away from tonight not filled with the idealisim of youth, but with the determination of a senior generation thankful for the days and years that we have been given, and even more thankful for the days and years that lie ahead. No one knows how many grains of sand remain in the hourglass handed to each of us at birth. But regardless of how much more joy life affords us, this final toast is to a better future for us all, for we can all inch closer to the throne of God, day by day. May the next time we meet find us all better people than we were 40 years ago, and better than we come here this wonderful evening! A toast, TO US!

With that, a WONDERFUL evening of dinner, dancing and reminiscing began! It was with a twinge of sadness that Tina Bialek was not able to be with us after she had worked so paintakingly on the classy Reunion Booklet that was handed out to all attendees. Seems somehow Tina managed to break a bone in her leg w/o quite realizing it until the doctor insisted on casting it, turning Tina's Dynasty reservation into one at Community Hospital. Luckily, she and her team were ahead of the game and the Booklets were printed and delivered in time for our Big Gig. If anyone forgot to take theirs or if any of you that were not able to be with us would like a Booklet, please e-mail us with your mailing address and we will get one to you. Our "Get Well Wishes" also go out to Bob Kukula Kingsley and Mary Ann Spisak Graham who had planned to be with us, but had unexpected health issues. And, we were so happy to see Marv Gonsiorowski, complete with a NEW knee, and looking like he was ready to start dancing again soon; in fact, we think he did sneak out on that dance floor!

The majority of attendees were from our Indiana-Illinois area and we are grateful that we can enjoy more frequent gatherings, but, all in all, this year the electricity came from our California Jivers! Yes, though many other states sent one or two, and even four from Ohio, the Golden State delivered in a big way - - six classmates made the long trip back home to The Region and we were so energized by that! The warm WELCOME also included our Colorado friends, plus Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin - - all out-of-towners - - and not-to-mention our biggest Jiver of all - - Ron Saczawa, who, again, came in all the way from Germany! We don't dare start mentioning all the attendee names, yet we should, as EVERY ONE is SPECIAL!

Friday and Saturday evenings sailed on by, floating on a sea of music from the 60s. Yes, it was our "time set apart," free from jobs and cares and hustle and bustle - - and we all felt just like The Vogues "Five O'Clock World," singing, "But it's a five o'clock world when the whistle blows, no one owns a piece of my time." The weekend was OUR TIME! We'd be hard pressed to say which evening was the most enchanting. With all the happy smiles, all we can say is "58 looks GREAT!"

Did we wonder who requested "Aquarius" by The Fifth Dimension, "When the moon is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars." It didn"t matter! We thrilled to The Beatles all over again - - "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "Picture yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies." The Beatles further assured us this could be possible, "With a Little Help from My Friends!" Was there any doubt that the tunes of the 60's were going to make their mark! "Matty told Hatty about a thing she saw. Had two big horns. And a wooly jaw, Wooly Bully. Wooly Bully, Wooly Bully, Wooly Bully, Watch it now, Watch it." It was our senior class picnic all over again, with Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs! Many enjoyed reliving their H.S. days through the many memorabilia items on display that classmates somehow located in the dusty trunks of their basements or attics. Buttons, pins, pictures, letters, sweaters, Play programs, a Code of Conduct - - lots of sentiment was being stirred. Some classmates were even exchanging videotapes and movie camera reels with their old buddies from our Noll days!

We topped off the evening with a panoramic picture to capture the 2005 evening. If anyone would still like to order that photo, please let us know, or, you may contact Wahlberg Panoramic Photography of Cedar Lake, IN, direct at 1-219-374-5454 or 1-800-642-4686. The cost is $25. A successful raffle, with winning names being called by Ron Saczawa, sewed up our reunion expenses perfectly and provided some great donated prizes besides! Thanks to all who made it such an overwhelming success.

Did the Sunday weather forecasts nearing 100 degrees keep us from being the COOL JIVERS that we are? Heavens no! Armed with enough food to feed an army, enough ice to simmer the heat, and cool drinks all around, the old trees at Wicker Park kept the warm breezes coming all day and a handful of pedestal fans did the trick in the pavilion. The HOT HOT HOT summer day turned into a very enjoyable day indeed, complete with Ron Saczawa conducting the afternoon games - - there's nothing like a tossed water balloon to cool off a body a few temperatures! About 50 people joined in the sunshine from noon to 6PM, including Mrs. Dorothy LaMere (remember those Latin classes) and husband Al LaMere.


Ohhhhh Man, Ohhhh Man - - Was that a PARTY or what!?! Did we even think we could top the adventure of 2003!?! With about 85 Class of 65 buddies and a couple dozen more spouses/guests, did we think it could be anything other! Though we regret not seeing some of the faces from 2003, we had many NEW FACES and personalities to enjoy. In addition, for all the planning that was made during the past year, the entire planning process turned upside down by Reunion Weekend and we all just "hung on" for the ride of our lives! It's no wonder we ALL came off our celebration A LITTLE HOARSE (have you ever talked and laughed and smiled so many hours "all in a row"), A LITTLE HIGH (realizing what an amazingly great and diverse class we are), and A LITTLE LOW (that it all had to end with the setting sun on a HOT HOT HOT Sunday evening in the park). Where can we even begin...

The Reunion Train arrived right on time for a glorious reunion weekend, yet, who could have guessed that high winds would "derail" that air flight out of Montana, leaving the hopes of Jim Wieser arriving on time to be with us as Master of Ceremonies on Saturday night fading like the western sunset. A disappointed Jiver, Jim phoned from the airport to inform us that due to weather conditions, it was getting next to impossible for him to make the 7-1/2 hour flight home in time for the festivities. "The Letter" by The Box Tops, you know, "Give me a ticket for an airplane, ain't got time to take the fast train," was not going to work for Jim that day. By then, even The Monkees' "Last Train to Clarksville" wouldn't have gotten him to Hammond on time! Enter Plan B. Did we have any fear that putting a micro"phone" in a woman's hands would be anything but a positive energized encounter! Elaine Engle Bielefeld stepped up to WELCOME our friendly crowd and show that she could "MASTER the ceremony" very finely! There was never any doubt.


NOTICE #1: Please, please, please send any photos and/or CDs that you may have taken of the weekends festivities to Elaine Engle Bielefeld, P. O. Box 351, Lowell, IN 46356, phone 219.696.1805, or by e-mail at That way, we can post the photos for everyone to enjoy on our class website at

NOTICE #2: Just a reminder that all classmate e-addresses are posted in our CLASSMATES section. Please continue to inform us if your e-address should change. Feel free to check out e-addresses of classmate friends and keep in touch!

NOTICE #3: Our classmate Patricia Niksich Robinson ( has informed us that the Hammond Public Library, 354 State St. and Sibley, downtown Hammond, was given a donated copy of our recent 2005 BNI Alumni Directory, valued at $100. As a reference book, it is not permitted out of the library, so, bring a pencil and paper or use the nearby copy machine if you want to make copies. The 2005 BNI Alumni Directory is located in the Suzanne G. Long Local History Room, 2nd Fl., to the right of the elevator.

That about wraps it up for now... Thanks again to all classmates - - we value your friendship, whether you were able to attend the 40th Reunion or not! Hope you enjoyed the recap and may we see you in the future. Should we close the 2005 Reunion with Mary Hopkins "Those Were the Days," "Those were the days my friend, We thought theyd never end, We'd sing and dance forever and a day." And, finally, Tommy James & the Shondells "Crystal Blue Persuasion," "There'll be peace and good, brotherhood, crystal blue persuasion, yeah."