By Ellen (Rose) Lukkasson

Photo from the 1969 yearbook. Many of the kids shown here graduated from Andes in 1981 or 82. How many do you recognize?

Over the years the class of ’81, like other classes I am sure, has had sporadic reunions. We’ve gathered up bits of the class from here and there and had an event of some sort. We have a scrapbook of snippets of time where we’ve been able to reacquaint ourselves with the lives of those who grew with us, more like family than mere classmates. There aren’t many places left where you can graduate with most of the same faces you started with thirteen years prior, where you know all the siblings, parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles, too. Okay, maybe I exaggerate a little, but it sure felt like that when we were trying to get away with something! See them all day everyday and they are more like brothers, sisters and cousins. Some you like more, some you like less, like any typical family. Here’s the problem with the “Class” reunion. Many of the people who played a large role in our school years weren’t actually in our class. At the last Class of ’81 reunion in 2008 we tried to address this by inviting some other alumni but it wasn’t enough, not nearly enough.

The Andes Alumni Association also tries to meet this need at their annual dinner on Memorial Day Weekend. Sadly though, for some of us who live out of state it is not the optimal time to pack up families and make the trip back, so we miss out on that option.

So back to the last reunion, there we were reminiscing with our friends and thinking of those not present and others we would like to see and the idea came that maybe for our 30 year reunion in 2011 we should try to involve more alumni. This reunion was a weekend thing. We all spent Friday evening and most of Saturday together. Some even threw in a little of Sunday. It was wonderful to really get a chance to visit and reconnect. We thought, “Well, why not try that again on a slightly larger scale?”

Things have come together into what will hopefully be a weekend to remember for ALL alumni and even those that aren’t alumni but have Andes in their bloodstream anyway. (Little secret for you –the writer of this article did NOT graduate from Andes but left in her senior year.)

There will be a full schedule out in next month’s Gazette but here are the facts.

The event is three days long, from July 29th – July 31st.

Friday night, as people trickle into town, we will have a very informal gathering at the Andes Hotel. Sally has Cans and Clams and music by Lawrence Cooley in the Summershack and Karaoke later. Make sure you see Ellen to get the events flyer and your name in the give-away drawings for Sunday.

On Saturday, sign in with Ellen at the Hotel at 3:00 to gather for the Memory Walk through town, which includes a tour of the school by Janice Stevens and group pictures. Get your name in the drawings for Sunday again. Then Mickey Weaver’s cooking up some Barbeque for us in the Hotel’s Summershack while Just Throw Money plays us some tunes.

Sunday is a picnic and softball at the school at noon. The PTSA is putting on a fantastic Picnic Buffet for us of burgers/dogs/salads/desserts/and drinks. $10 for adults and $5 for kids under 10. They will also have Mountaineers Memorabilia for sale. Come renew your favorite rivalries and laugh with the old folks trying to play. We hope to have a couple of games. one for the more refined generation to which I now belong and one for the youngsters who can still actually run. Bring your glove if you have one. If there is rain we will move this day to the Andes Fire Hall. Be on hand for the drawings. We are giving away some fun stuff. Must be present to win.

For more information, check out the Andes Central School Alumni page on Facebook and go to the event listed as ACS reunion, or make sure you get the Gazette next month. Families and spouses are welcome and encouraged to join in the fun. All weekend we will be passing the can for the Andes Central Scholarship fund so save your change and bring a little extra if you have it. ~

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