August 29, 2012 - The late 1950s and early 1960s were a time of unprecedented prosperity and positivity in America, especially in a place called Oxford.
Ronnie (Kintz) Grobbel, a 1962 graduate of Oxford High School and former cheerleader, is inviting all those who graduated when the high school was located on Pontiac St. to a reunion on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Oxford Elementary School (109 Pontiac St.). Photo by C.J. Carnacchio.
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"It was just the best of times," said Ronnie (Kintz) Grobbel, a 1962 graduate of Oxford High School and former cheerleader. "We didn't have the pressures (students) do today. Our parents were working. It was all optimism.
"We grew up with that and consequently, we have so many classmates who have succeeded and done wonderful things in life. We think it's because we grew up with teachers, parents and people around us who said we could do anything we wanted to do if we worked hard enough. That's the philosophy we grew up with."
To celebrate and commemorate this magical era, the Class of 1962 is inviting those who graduated from OHS – back when it was located on Pontiac St. in the village – between 1958 and 1966 to a special gathering from 7-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15.
"Those are the classes that we were in that building with," Grobbel said. "The class sizes were small. We were so close. We kind of intermingled. We all hung out together."
The event is being called the "Pontiac Street High School Alumni Meet, Greet and Remember." It will take place at 109 Pontiac St., which is now Oxford Elementary, a school for grades 3-5. Admission is $5.
Although the event was originally conceived for OHS graduates from 1958-66, Grobbel noted other Pontiac St. high school alumni are welcome to come. "We're not going to exclude anybody," she said.
The event will feature a dance with music provided by DJ Bill Pearson, a 1963 OHS graduate.
"He's the guy who spun the records for us at our dances after the games every Friday night," said Grobbel, who has fond memories of boogying to "Rock Around the Clock," recorded in 1954 by Bill Haley and His Comets. "We had great dances in the cafeteria. It was all open back then and we called it the commons area . . . It just gave us an opportunity to get together frequently as a group. I don't think kids do that anymore. We had a lot of school spirit back then. It was a different era."
Pizza and soft drinks will be provided and a 50/50 drawing will be conducted. Oxford Elementary students will be leading tours of the building to show visitors how much its changed over five decades.
"It's quite different from when we were there," Grobel said.
Grobbel noted how the Class of 1962 was the first group of students to go all the way through the Pontiac St. school, from awkward freshmen to experienced seniors.
"It was brand new. It was built during the spring and summer of 1958," she explained. "We were so excited about going to our new school in the fall. But it wasn't quite ready for us at the start of the school year."
They spent somewhere between three and eight weeks, depending on who you ask, at the old Washington St. school (where Fire Station #1 is now) before they made the big move to Pontiac St.
"We had to carry our books and walk through town – down Mechanic St. and up Park St. – to get to our new school," Grobbel said. "We were just little freshmen."
For the Class of 1962, the Pontiac St. high school reunion will be Day Two of their fun-filled weekend.
On the night before, the class will enjoy its 50th reunion at the Boulder Pointe Banquet Center in Waterstone. Sixty-five of the 82 graduates are planning to attend the reunion.
"We were all born during (World War II) and we had a very, very small class," Grobbel said. "We just remained very close and very active. We've had class reunions every five years and they've been great – well-attended, everybody looks forward to them. Everybody always wants to come to our reunions from other classes."
For more information about the above events, please call Carol Warnke at (248) 628-4071 or Grobbel at (248) 977-3039.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.