Reunion prompts memories of county’s past

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2007

Click here to enlarge this photo
Staff Photos by Heather Dykstra
Hilda Farrell of Waldorf and her daughter Joyce Mothershead of Owings look at pictures of Farrell’s graduating class of 1944. Members of Calvert High School’s classes of 1940 to 1945 attended a reunion in Prince Frederick on Saturday, Oct. 20.

Click here to enlarge this photo
Gloria Gibson, left, elected treasurer for the Calvert High School reunion of classes 1940 to 1945, gives Billy Harrison, class of 1944, of Owings a program while Jack Moore and his wife Jean Moore of Baltimore talk to Margaret Bowen Young, right. Jean Moore graduated with the class of 1945. Bowen was in the class of 1944.

Members of Calvert High School’s classes of 1940 to 1945 reminisced at a class reunion last weekend about a time when traffic in Calvert was light and children could walk to school.

Harry Kirby, a 1940 graduate, and his wife Jean traveled from Ocala, Fla., to attend the event. Margaret Prouty, who helped set up the reunion, said that she thinks the Kirbys traveled the longest distance to attend the reunion.

The reunion of the five graduating classes was held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Prince Frederick Saturday afternoon, Oct. 20. Prouty said that the committee decided to hold the reunion with all five classes to make the event more fun.

‘‘I think in my husband’s class there were six graduates who attended,” Prouty said. ‘‘I think in my class there were eight or nine.”

‘‘It seems to me that it would be more fun if we had several classes that went to school together,” Prouty said. She said 88 people attended the reunion, including spouses and other guests of graduates. She said she did not know the exact number of graduates in attendance at the event.

Members of the five graduating classes said that they have seen many changes since the days when they were going to school in Calvert.

‘‘Everything has changed,” Laura Marchand of Huntingtown said. ‘‘I grew up on a farm and had to walk for miles to school.”

Marchand said Calvert has seen progress, including the hospital and improvements to the schools, but ‘‘I miss the olden days.”

‘‘When I first started school we didn’t even have electricity,” she said.

Tommy Williams of Prince Frederick said the county was very different when he was in school with the class of 1941.

‘‘The increase of the population and just the nature of the county ... It’s very difficult to handle that,” Williams said. ‘‘I realize I’m being selfish but I don’t think [Calvert] has changed for the better.”

‘‘There was so little traffic that we could walk home from school,” Margaret Prouty said.

Marchand and Hilda Farrell also said that traffic was an unpleasant change in the county.

‘‘[There] wasn’t that many people by any means,” Farrell said. ‘‘Really wasn’t any traffic at all.”

Doris Woodburn Johnson of Solomons agreed with Williams that there are many more people now than when she was graduating with the class of 1942.

‘‘Everywhere you turn there are people,” Johnson said.

She said the population growth has been the biggest change in the county and she also does not like all the construction.

‘‘They’re cutting down all the trees and building big houses and that’s bad,” Dorothy Ordwein said. Ordwein taught two of the graduating classes at the reunion.

Prouty said class sizes were a lot smaller when she was young despite Calvert High School being one of two high schools in the county.

‘‘There were 37 people in my graduating class,” Prouty said. ‘‘The whole high school was probably less than 200 students.”

Prouty said that her class’s graduation ceremony was held in the old fair building at the old fairgrounds in Prince Frederick. Prouty remembered that at the time of her graduation in 1943, the U.S. had already started fighting in World War II. Many of the men in the early 1940s graduating classes remembered leaving their families to fight in the war.

‘‘All the boys in our class were in World War II,” said Huntingtown resident John Prouty, who graduated with the class of 1940. ‘‘We only lost one [classmate].”

‘‘I might be the only native Calvert County resident who fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam,” Vernon Garner said. Garner, of Solomons, also graduated in the class of 1940 with John Prouty.

Despite the changes in traffic and the people in Calvert, most of the 1940s graduates that still live in the county said they are happy to continue to call Calvert their home.

‘‘I still like Calvert County,” Marchand said. ‘‘[But] you miss all the things [from the past].”

‘‘Everybody’s in a hurry nowadays,” Marchand said. ‘‘It’s hard to stop and smell the roses.”

E-mail Heather Dykstra at