Thomas Dale High School Reunion: Classes of 1953-57

A lot of changes have taken place in Chester over the last 60 years, but friendships and memories never grew old for the classmates of Thomas Dale High School classes of 1953 through 1957. Over 125 members of the five classes made the trek out to the countryside home of Carolyn Bush (Class of 1955) on Beach Road, many from their homes in Chester and surrounding area and several from out of state, for their class reunion last weekend. Some they see almost every day and some they hadn’t seen in years; and it was lots of hugs, smiles and catching up on family and friends.

Sitting on the lawn in front of the barn and over-sized tent raised for the gathering, two shiny two-tone Fords from the ‘50s brought back memories as the cheerleaders from several of the classes leaned up against one for a group photo. One of them remarking, “If these cars could talk,” said Patsi Peterson (Class of 1956.)

Norma Jean Corbin (Class of 1953) proudly  held the trophy her squad won in 1951 during the Second Annual Thalhimer Cheer Rally Competition.  “Nobody could believe that a team from Chester won,” she said.

On the table that held the trophy along with yearbooks and photo albums, sat a trophy for the football team who were State Champions in 1954.

Coach Jack Westfall was in attendance.  He coached football for 27 years at Thomas Dale. Eleven of those years he was assistant coach.

Jean Loving Root (Class of 1956), who owned and ran The Farm House Restaurant for many years with her husband Wayne Root (Class of 1953 and not able to attend) said, “Chester sure has changed.”

What hadn’t changed were the friendships and their stories.

Joan Allen (Class of 1954) had to give Bill Goodwyn (Class of 1954) a big hug. Looking at his wife, Barbara, he said, “She’s my cousin.” Allen and Goodwyn were King and Queen of their class. The story is, when he and his wife were dating in college, he at Hampden-Sydney and she at Longwood, every time Goodwyn saw one of his classmates at Longwood he would give them a big hug and tell his sweetheart, “She’s my cousin.”  Before he brought her home to meet his parents, he told her he lived in a cabin.  Not believing him, she was surprised when she saw he “really did live in a cabin.”

“Remember when” conversations between the classmates went on throughout the afternoon, as well as looking at old photos  mounted on poster board and memorabilia of days gone-by.


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