With the beginning of the New Year, colorful brochures announcing the SJCAA 116th Annual Reunion began to appear in mailboxes. The milestone classes—1963, 1968 and 1973—were contacting classmates and exerting extra energy in tracking down long-lost friends from their days in the Valley. As winter continued, our Reunion Chair, Leslie Henze Blackstock ’70, and her Co-chair, Maryann Lesso ’70, were finalizing a myriad of reunion details with the Wyndham staff and planning special touches to the Golden Class’s hospitality area.
Between planning for meals, room set-ups, and transportation of Reunion supplies from storage to the hotel, the reunion chairs also ensured that we had enough Board volunteers to staff the registration desk, Allegra’s Alley and the basket raffle. Obviously, a tremendous amount of time, energy and care goes into planning and holding our annual Alumnae Reunion. Each year, we seem to improve upon what we did the year before, and 2013 was no exception. Thank you, Leslie and Maryann! You worked hard and added many new and personal touches to the Wyndham setting.
Winter was supposed to be over by late March. Spring was beginning and a green tinge was obvious in the hills and fields of Pennsylvania and Maryland as alums began arriving in Gettysburg. Somehow, the weather gods hadn’t received the word in time to end a steady, cold wind that sent temperatures into the teens one morning. Regardless of a cold and blustery start, Reunion 2013 warmed everyone’s hearts. It was just so good to be “All Together” again!
More than 140 alumnae pre-registered for Reunion events. The Saturday banquet was sold out with 180 attending! If you were one of the attendees, your smiles and appreciative comments made all the work on the part of so many SJC women very worthwhile.
Two members of the Class of 1963 shared these comments:
“I wonder if you know how much this reunion meant to me. It was like coming home after a long absence. As I looked around the room that last evening your little faces were the same as they were at St. Joe’s … the expressions, the laughs and the gestures. I thank each and every one of you for this cherished memory and will meet you again at the 55th. A special Hoorah to all those selfless ladies who put their time toward our celebration. You must know it was a spectacular success.”
“In 1963, we were close to some of our classmates. Now we are close and engaged in the lives of all our classmates. We missed those who were not there and hope to see you again and share our stories. I loved every minute of reunion.”
From Reunion Chair, Leslie Henze Blackstock ’70 and Reunion Co-chair, Maryann Lesso ‘70:
“To all who came to Reunion 2013, please accept our heartfelt ‘thank you’ for taking your time and energies to join with classmates and friends for four terrific and memorable days in April. You told us that it was great to see old friends, forge new relationships, and share warm memories at the fabulous Gettysburg Wyndham.”
Here are some additional comments received from reunion attendees:
"Thanks so much for all you did to make sure that Reunion for the two '53ers was so special! We had such a great time and all of your thoughtfulness and solicitude and kindness made it a perfect day! We can't forget how you anticipated everything we might need to know and explained everything ahead. You did such a fantastic job - you're the best!!" Joan Billerbeck '53
"We had a wonderful reunion and appreciate all that you did to make everything so perfect. The Wyndham salons were just lovely... other events, the campus lunch, and tour, the tea at Dr. Powell's home, the Mass at the Basilica with our classmates participating, the Sunday brunch--so much effort for such perfect results. We may be separated by the years, but certainly joined in our shared past, our happy days at St. Joseph College." Ellen Krieger Smelas,Reunion Chair/Class of '63
"Many thanks to Co-chair Maryann Lesso for finding that cache of the ‘Three Nuns’ with the Alma Mater in calligraphy. Our classmates ('63) loved them!!!”
And from Maryann's big sister Carol Kakalec Kohn '68: "You created a WONDERFUL weekend for us. It couldn't have been a better reunion!"
Sharing the Memories
Leslie and Maryann add: “The program on Saturday evening brought us all back to the events our Golden class witnessed and were a part of in the early sixties - some memories were sad, some comical, others nostalgic. We hope that many alumnae were able to walk away with a deeper appreciation for the era that belongs to the class of 1963.”
Reminisce with the Class of ’63: Read the remarks delivered by Tobie Gibbons ’63 >>
Read the Class of ’63 Memory Box >>
Both reunion chairs agree: “It was equally enjoyable to experience the spirit of friendship, charity, and courtesy afforded to all throughout the entire weekend. We laughed and laughed! It was wonderful to spend time with other SJCiennes from other classes. How alike we all are. The Reunion chairs feel honored to be part of such a special group - we thank God for you all.”
The Class of 1963 won the Hassell Vase, the Sr. Mary Ellen Kelley Award, and the Class of 1952 Award — A perfect Triple Crown! The Class of 1952 Award was traditionally known as the Husband’s Cup; it is now awarded to the class with the highest number of husbands and registered guests in attendance.
Remember, our Reunions are not only for the milestone classes but for every one of us! Our campus life included an easy mix of women in all classes. We all remember our Big and Little Sisters, our “orientation” and campus leaders, and our “proctors,” as well as our roommates and best friends! Come back to the Valley and celebrate being “All Together” again.
Join Us Next Time
Mark your calendars now for March 27–30, 2014 at the Wyndham Gettysburg. Experience and add to the “spirit of friendship”! We are counting on seeing you in 2014!
Enjoy a slide show of Reunion 2013!
Click any thumbnail image to open a slideshow window and view the photos full-size. In the slideshow window, click the round arrow button to start the slideshow.