Memories flood back for H-F Class of 1973 alumni

Class of 1973 alumni admire a wall of fame featuring the H-F graduates who have gone on to make their mark in broadcasting.
(Marilyn Thomas photos/H-F Chronicle)

Fun times and rekindled friendships were the order of the day when members of the Homewood-Flossmoor High School Class of 1973 gathered for their 50th class reunion. 

Yes, they remember the 1973 hit songs “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” by Tony Orlando & Dawn and “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers. Date night in 1973 could have been going to see the movie “Serpico” with Al Pacino, or Barbra Streisand in “The Way We Were.”

But the important things they recalled at the celebration Sept. 29 and 30, that included a dinner for 130 guests at Idlewild Country Club, were how nearly 4,000 students crammed into the South Building; favorite teachers, including band director Robert Hindsley; the choir trip to Europe; and a winning football season.

Jane Singer of Davenport, Iowa, a retired social worker, said her two favorite things about H-F were band and French class although “the details have left.” Wendy Swanson of Western Springs, a retired teacher, remembers “a lot of band time.” She played clarinet for four years. Connie Breach of Springfield, a retired registered dietitian, remembers the band practices on the football field with the grass wet from morning dew. Band director Hindsley would have students leave an extra pair of shoes in school.

For Bob Bryan, who drove up from Houston, his honors history and economics classes were favorites. “They helped prepared me” for work in the business world managing a warehouse. He’s a rural parish pastor now.

Julie Goldberg Rubin of Denver said, “I remember Jane Gard, the French teacher. I was in the French Club, and I spoke French well enough from Flossmoor Junior High and H-F and college (at the University of Illinois)” that it got her a job. She worked as an occupational therapist for eight years and was recruited after earning an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago, and “I moved to France and lived there for 12 years” working in risk management consulting and then selling occupational and physical therapy equipment. Her clients were throughout Europe and the Middle East. 

Rubin remembers being part of “the nerdy crowd (at H-F) but we had fun, we didn’t feel out of it. I was hoping to see some of the really cool kids to see if they’re still cool, or maybe I’m cool now?” she said with a laugh.  Cool kids like Carol Dolan who was the homecoming queen, Diane Ittersagen the prom queen, and Larry Schultz and Bill Verre who won the Cal Mall Award who were answers to questions on an H-F 1973 trivia list. 

Mark Kreger of Hinsdale, a retired lawyer, remembers his dad, Donald Kreger, presenting him his diploma at commencement. Donald Kreger served on the District 233 board from 1972 to 1993, and Mark remembers he was very involved with building renovations, including construction of the natatorium. 

For Mark, a favorite H-F memory was starring as Willy Lohman in the production of “Death of a Salesman.” Kreger said, “I wasn’t with the drama group, but they cast me and it was the best experience I’d ever had. It was so wonderful. I’m looking forward to going into the auditorium and see where I did my work back then.”

Kreger got his wish when he and other Class of 1973 members were given a tour of H-F by current students Ariel Miller and Tessa O’Keefe with Alumni Director Victoria Koblick. It just so happened that students were rehearsing for a children’s play production when Kreger walked into the Mall Auditorium.

The Fine Arts wing confused these alumni. They saw the familiar lockers, but the spaces they remembered have been converted to new uses and the black box theater and new practice spaces for band, orchestra and choir have been added. They remembered the radio studio for WHFH, but the Viking Broadcasting wing was new to them.

Shelly Marks of Homewood remembers today’s Viking Room as the senior cafeteria. The North Building opened in 1971 to freshmen giving upper classmen some breathing room in the hallways of the South Building.

Mark Mullen of Geneva remembers going for Aurelio’s pizza. Walking the hallways, Mullen passed a space that looked familiar. At one time, it had a building with an inflatable roof that was used as a second gym — until the roof collapsed after a major snowstorm. He also remembered the walkout their freshman year to protest the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

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