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Old Schoolmates reunite from near and far

Posted: Wednesday, Aug 7th, 2013

Florence (Ether) Evenson Land took the prize as the oldest schoolmate. Land, escorted by her son Berton, graduated from Cottage Grove High School in 1930. and she turned 101 last April.

When you have over 300 high school students who all graduated at least 50 years ago gather in one place, there are quite a few stories to be told.

Such was the case Saturday night at the annual Old Schoolmates Reunion (begun in 1935) held at the CGHS cafeteria.

This year graduating class pictures, which went back as far as 1926, were put on display in the lobby area outside the cafeteria.

No one was present that graduated in the “Roaring 20s,” but Florence (Esther) Evenson Land, who turned 101 on April 8 of this year, came very close. She is a 1930 CGHS graduate.

“I was very thrilled at age 13 to be finally be in high school,” Land remembered.

On how she broke the century age-barrier she said, “I don’t know, it just happened. I had wonderful children and wonderful parents. I’ve been very happy.”

Land was born in Ashland and moved to Cottage Grove when she was eight. She still lives in Cottage Grove and amazingly “pretty much takes care of herself,” according to her son, Berton Land.

The emcee for Saturday’s reunion was Charles Moss of the class of 1953.

Moss moved to Cottage Grove from New York City at age 14.

“My dad got mad at what was going on in New York and my uncle had a chicken farm going on out here, so my dad came out here and went in business with my uncle as a chicken farmer. From a mechanic in New York to a chicken farmer in Cottage Grove…quite a culture shock.”

Charles had never been to a public school. He had been to military and parochial schools and definitely liked the change.

“It was freedom,” said Moss. “I walked up and down the halls and nobody bothered me…and there were girls.”

One girl sparked Moss’ interest so much he connected with her again in 2001.

After he graduated from CGHS he returned to New York City. He came back to Cottage Grove on his birthday, Sept. 11, on that fateful day in 2001.

“I came back to see a young lady (Norma Schmitt) that I went to school with. We’ve been dating for 12 years. At our age, we move slow,” Moss quipped.

The schoolmate who made the longest trek to the reunion was Denton Weaver of the class of 1958.

Weaver left the United States in 1966 for Australia, met his wife Diane there, and has lived in Melbourne ever since. After 47 years there he also sported an authentic Aussie accent.

For the complete article see the 08-07-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 08-07-2013 paper.

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