The Senior Class Trip of 1948

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The photo now shows the effect of time and wear

FEATURE ARTICLE from THE PRESS, 2-21-01, By Mike Ferrari

``Hidden treasure with links to city history remains unclaimed

AVON -- The 1948 Avon High School graduating class had their photo taken by an unknown photographer. All of the names of the people who are seen in the photo are written neatly on the reverse side of the photo.

Hidden treasure is usually considered something precious that cannot be found. When it is discovered, the value of the fortune usually refers to something that has sentimental value or immeasurable wealth.

For several years, a hidden picture of Avon High School s graduating class of 1948, taken while they were on a trip to Washington D.C. remained undiscovered. In 1980, the picture was found under the seat of an old fire tanker in Elyria ...

The Elyria Fire Department was purchasing a new tanker and was cleaning the old vehicle to increase the trade in value when a fireman looked under the seat and discovered the photo in a large envelope.

That same year a small article was written about the newly found picture, but no one stepped forward to claim the photograph. As if the photo remains destined to be noticed, it again turned up recently in the Elyria Fire Station.

This time the old high school photo was found during a routine cleaning, laden with dust on top of a shelf. The picture was then placed in the hands of Avon Fire Chief Frank Root, who notified the media.

The Elyria Fire Chief at the time, George Bracik, was quoted as saying the old tanker where the picture was found, was purchased by the department in 1962 from the Sohio Gas Company.

However, there are no links as to who could have placed the photo under the seat of the old tanker, or what was their intention in placing the picture there.

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The photo now shows the effect of time and wear, as it is creased and extremely fragile due the lack of a frame and being neglected.

For enlarged views, click on links below.

On the reverse side of the photo, all of the names are neatly written on the back ... Several prominent and long-time community names can be found ..."

Members from different families in the area might be able to find relatives in the photo. Some of the people that were photographed on the tour include family names such as Wearsch, Urig, Schwartz, Forthofer, DeChant and Riegelsberger.

We really don t know where it came from, Chief Root said. "I just thought that someone would be interested in the photo." ... ''

Left half of picture --- Right half of picture

FEATURE ARTICLE from THE PRESS, 3-21-01, By Mike Ferrari

``Forgotten picture reunites long-time classmates and neighbors

AVON -- The coincidences revolving around the lost picture are staggering.

Several weeks ago, an article appeared in The PRESS about a lost picture of a 1948 Avon group of high school students on a trip to Washington D.C. The picture was found at the Elyria Township Fire Department but no one knew who could claim ownership to it.

Since that time, the picture was given to Avon Fire Chief Frank Root where he turned it over to The PRESS in hopes that another article would help in finding the owner of the photograph.

The first article about the lost photograph appeared in 1980 in the Chronicle. After a second article appeared in The PRESS newspaper, the phone lines lit up with interested people from the class of 1948.

Avon resident and 1948 class member, Ed Sample immediately sprung into action and contacted his friends, and notified The PRESS that a small local reunion was going to be held to find the owner of the picture.

"What intrigued me most was the 1980 article in the Chronicle," Sample said. "I wanted to find out whose picture it was. I know some people in the area and I thought that getting together was the best way to do it."

Following a meeting of classmates that were surprised to see themselves in the newspaper, the owner of the picture was found.

Phyllis Trimmel, who now lives in Lorain, received a call and a friend told her about her photograph being in the paper. When she learned about the picture first being found under the seat of a fire tanker in Elyria Township, she knew it had to have belonged to her.

"I just had a feeling that it was my picture when I first learned about it," Trimmel said.

A total of 11 former classmates that still live in the area met at Avon Village School where they graduated to talk about the picture, article, trip to Washington and most importantly, old times and memories.

"It is most unusual that this whole thing happened this way, 1948 class member," Dorris Hallenburg said. "It is kind of odd that it (picture) lay there and was forgotten all these years."

As all of the classmates sat together and talked about past football seasons and whether anyone knew the whereabouts of other classmates, the group laughed and seemed happy to be reunited with one another.

Eleven former classmates reunited at Avon Village School
(BACK ROW left to right) --- Elwyn Urig, Louis Butti, Ed Bommer and Robert Kempf.
(MIDDLE ROW) --- Doris [Kiskamp] Hallenburg, Phyllis [Klein] Trimmel, Betty [Kempf] Moran and Pat [Blake] Furnas.
(FRONT ROW) --- Ed Sample, Roman Wearsch, Richard Wearsch.

"I had a good time the other day," 1948 class member Roman Wearsch said about the small reunion at Avon Village. "Other than that I don't have much to say because I was always the quiet one in school back then, like I am now."

Betty Moran, who was best friends with Trimmel said she didn't think much about the first article that appeared in the Chronicle in 1980 but was happy the old picture brought friends together again.

"It was really nice to see these people again," Moran said. "All we did was jabber about old times but it was nice and I enjoyed myself. I had the older article but didn't think about at all. But the second time, somebody told me that my name was in the paper, and I couldn't figure out why, but we solved the old mystery. I'm glad we found whose picture it was."

In 1970, the Elyria Township Fire Department was sent to burn down Trimmel's home because I-90 was going to run through her property. A year earlier Trimmel moved out of her house and in her haste to get into another home, left the picture tucked away somewhere.

Before the fire department burnt the house down, they conducted a routine search to ensure safety, finding the class trip picture. An unknown fireman realized the sentimental value of the old photo and placed it under the seat.

The fireman must have forgotten that he left the picture under the seat and prior to selling the tanker in 1980 for a new model, the picture was discovered. Since that time the photograph was handed over to another newspaper and an article was done about the mystery of the picture.

In 1980, a Chronicle reporter wrote about the photo that was found underneath a seat of a soon-to-be sold fire tanker at the Elyria Township Fire Department. At that time, an owner still was not known.

"I never saw the first article," Trimmel said. "Many of us don't remember much about the trip but it was nice to see some people that I haven't seen since our 40th reunion."

The picture changed hands over a dozen times until arriving back with its rightful owner in Trimmel.

"I see about three of them quite often but the others I don t see very often," classmate Richard Wearsch said. "Now I'd like to have a picture for myself."

Though most of them did not talk about the details of the trip, they all talked about the changes in Avon and how things were different when they graduated from school.

Some of the people that were in the picture have not been identified, and some that were in the class have passed away. As the small group smiled and teased each other about embarrassing situations that happened during school, the group showed their small town bond by passing the afternoon away touring their old school and reminiscing.

"Attending a school for 12 years and then revisiting it after 53 years was very nostalgic for me," Sample said. "Touring the building and talking with everyone really made it a great day."

Trimmel summed up the day simply by saying she was extremely excited to be a part of the event and that she was happy to see all of her old friends after all the years.

"It felt like we were back in 1948," Trimmel said about the small reunion at Avon Village earlier last week. "It was like we were all reliving our school days again. We laughed more in those few minutes that we were together, than we probably had in years." ''

C 2001 by THE PRESS

158 Lear Road, P.O. Box 300 Avon Lake, Ohio 44012 USA


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