Aug. 19, 2005
Friends forever rings true for 1953 Denfeld
By Anna Kurth
The drive of Mary Larson’s Hutchinson Road
home is filled with cars, and the sound of talk and laughter floats
from the backyard over the front lawn.
The doorbell rings unnoticed as all attention
is focused on the group of friends sitting in a circle talking in
the shade of a backyard tree.
The house is not the scene of a teenage hangout,
but what results when a group of teenage girls stay in touch for
more than 50 years and get together to celebrate their 70th birthdays.
Twelve 1953 Denfeld High School graduates came
together on Aug. 5 to reminisce and update each other on their lives.
The 12 women are from a group of 16 girls who
became friends throughout preschool, junior high and finally high
school, said Claudia (Christianson) Nimrichter, one of the group
who now lives in Florida.
“We were all together in high school,”
Nimrichter said. “We were nice girls. We all kept in touch
all this time.”
The memories come flooding back each time they
all get together.
On Saturday afternoons when the women were in
junior high they’d all go to the movies in the afternoon at
either the Doric or West Theater, which are both closed now, said
Karen (Johnson) Somrock of Duluth, another member of the group.
At that time, each girl would bring a quarter
and spend 12 cents on a movie ticket and 12 cents on a hot fudge
Sunday afterward, and each would have a penny left over, Nimrichter
“We’d call each other ... so we’d
all get on the same bus,” she said, adding that they usually
ended up angering the bus driver with all their chatter.
The chatter didn’t stop on the buses either.
The group also got together for pajama parties, she said.
And the chatter is still going strong today.
When they get together these days, the women talk
and show pictures, and after a lifetime of friendship they have
gobs of pictures to share, Somrock said.
The group’s Aug. 5 get together began with
chatting and pictures and continued with a catered dinner from Exchange
Deli Bakery Catering, complete with birthday cake, Pat (Munger)
Lehr said. On Aug. 6, the women had breakfast together and had an
afternoon barbecue with their spouses invited, Nimrichter said.
The women had many different interests in high
school, some were in band, some were in a capella choir. Shirley
(Smith) Kilgore was the school organist, Darlene (Nelson) Hove was
the queen of the graduating class and Dianne “Boots”
(Cloutier) Anderson was head majorette.
“I twirled at our 50th anniversary,”
After graduation some of the girls got married
and some went away to college, Somrock said.
Five of the women worked together for U.S. Steel,
Their secret for staying friends so long has been
keeping in touch, they said. High school reunions, Christmas cards,
phone calls and now e-mail have kept them close all these years.
After one of the class reunions they decided to
celebrate turning 60 together, and on Aug. 5 it was time to celebrate
70, Somrock said.
The group won’t be waiting 10 years for
its next birthday celebration, Nimrichter said. “I had the
time of my life,” she said. “It was a wonderful time
and now we’re talking about doing it for our 75th.”