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Wagner High Online Alumni

Fort Walton Beach '99 Mini
27 February 1999 - Page 8

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Photo #43

Saturday night at the Manila Bay Restaurant.

Ken '71 and Susan '73 sing a duet.


The Fort Walton Beach Reunion
Ken, Donna, Gaye...and all you FWB people...thanks for another fun time..really enjoyed seeing all my old buddies (Roni, Shirley, Donna, Gaye, John, Susan) and meetings all you new friends who I hope to meet again....Ken, you sing pretty darn good, I was impressed!  HA... Always hate to go back to reality when I leave these get togethers....but I"m alway's ready for another one...THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK......KEN, ENJOYED MEETING YOU AND THANKS FOR THE COMMENTS IN YOUR PREVIOUS EMAIL......AND BTW....VJ

The following photos contributed by Donna Smith '61
 Photo #44

Saturday night at the Manila Bay Restaurant.

Signing the t-shirt.

Roni Ramsey Chunn '79 and Ken Morgan '71.

 FWB Mini(?)

Hey there folks,

I guess it's my turn to talk about the Fort Walton Beach reunion.  Like Donna, I think we can't get by with calling this one a mini.  It was entirely too big for that title!!! 

I'm not sure just HOW many people we actually had in attendance, but 60+ is a safe estimate.  It was so incredible to be with all these former class mates, new friends, new time with not so new friends and great people by the droves!   We made it into FWB at about 2:15 on Satruday afternoon.  I parked in front of the Ramada Inn and left my sweet wife in the car as I went in to get registered.  As I walked in the door, I heard a squeal and a yell and looked to see Gaye, Donna, Linda, John, Susan and maybe someone else, can't remember for sure after such a fast an furious week end, all grinning from ear to ear and hopping up to
move my way!  Wow! What a fantastic greeting.  You would have thought that they hadn't seen me in years, actually for Donna and Gaye it had only been since last Dec., but this is the kind of Falcons we have in the NW Fl area.  We have only been together one other time and it was
exactly like getting back with FAMILY!!!   Of Course, I had never personally met John and Susan or Linda and Leroy. That didn't matter.....we just KNEW each other before we ever got together for the fisrt time.  They are such wonderful people.....the kind you wish could be in you real family and not just school family. 

Anyway,  After hugs  and quick hellos, I went straight back to the car and had Dorothy come in and she entered to the same level of excited greetings as I.  I think she may have been taken back a little by it all, but she couldn't help but fall right in with the group.  You don't
have any choice when THESE Falcons get together.  :-)

Time was spend in the hotel lobby, visiting, laughing, sharing memories.....actually it was close to two hours!!!!   Found out that VJ had been by, but was on his way to Mobile to pick up his date for the evening.  Dorothy and I must have passed him in route as he headed west
and we were going east.  Tell you one thing VJ has the touch, Grace seemed like a sweet gal and Wow! could she sing, as we were to find out later on.

Finally, it came time to head out for the Manila Bay Cafe and Karaoke.  Donna, Gaye, Dorothy and I when early to set things up, Gaye and Donna really did all the work here,  they had everything soooo well planned, it didn't leave much for me.   Gotta tell ya, though,  The Manila Bay is a SMALL place! but almost like going back to the PI.  Even had a clientele of filipinos that came in later in the evening.  Seemed almost surreal hearing the familiar accents in those customers.  There was one who got up and sang that sang with the tagalog accent.......talk about bringing back memories!!!!

The biggest surprise came for us when, out of the blue, the restaurant started getting phone calls from people who had attended Wagner/Wurtsmith but had just found out about our gathering by a news paper article.  Best I can recall, there were atleast 7 calls that came
in in about 1/2 and hour.  Then to our amazment, someone just dropped by not knowing anything about us and lo and behold, there was a bunch of folks having a reunion from his school in the very place he had simply stopped in to have a drink.  That was jsut he beginning of the excitment.

As fellow falcon after fellow falcon arrived, you could hear excited and enthusiastic greetings as old friends  were reunited, many for the first time since the PI.  The fantastic class of 71 was well represented, with yours truly, Mr and Mrs. Mike Tatum, Mr. and Mrs Tom
Denman (this Mrs. is the former Kelly Wright 72), Conrad and Cherie Rhoades.  Now that there has been some discussion on the whoa site about one Conrad Rhoades and his, as was suggested, "beer belly", I have to say that of all the Falcons I personally knew, he had to be the LEAST changed.  I saw him coming across the front of the restaurant and instantly recognized him!!!!!!!  He is the same nice guy I remembered, too.

Since I was recruited to act as MC for the evening, I didn't get much time to sit with my fellow class mates as I wish, but thankfully, Conrad and Mike both live in the panhandle, so hopfully, we can spend some time as a micro reunion in the not too distant future.

Gaye had thoughfully located and purchased a whole basketful (literally) of Phillipine related gifts to be given away through out the evening and that seemed to go over really well.  As a finale, we had a t-shirt airbrushed with a falcon head and the slogan of "I Survived the Fort Walton Beach Mini Reunion"  Each Falcon who attended personally signed it and we gave that away near the end of the evening.  It was disappointing to hear Tom Denman share that he has been suffering from cancer and had only a short time back gone through his second bone marrow transplant.  His touching comments concerning how memories become very important in times like he and Kelly are experiencing, I think made the reunion more special than it was to many of us.  I can't express how pleased I was to find out that HE had been drawn as the recipient of the shirt.  It was SO appropriate!  Sure wish him the best in this struggle.  Those of you who have a strong faith might want to whisper, no!, loudly offer a prayer for he and Kelly.

Now on to happier things.  Food was S-L-O-W (note the emphasis) in coming, but it gave us more time to visit.  It turned out that they only had ONE cook and he was doing his best to keep up with what was obviously a crowd size that he was not used to dealing with.  Most of
us took it in stride as just one of the hazards of bining in a small, intimate, facility. Compliments HAVE to be given to Paul, the restaurant manager.  He really went overboard trying to make us feel welcomed.

THEN......THEN......came time for karaoke.  This was a new one for me and I am sure for other falcons as well.  I would have NEVER thought we would have had SO many talented people in such a relatively small gathering.  Let me tell you we are one bunch of TALENTED folks!!!!!!!!
I won't attempt to name names, but we have some real singers in our midst.

Time came that we reluctantly called an end to the festivities and we parted :-(  A few of us met back up at the Ramada and spentmore time in the lobby reminicing and enjoying one another's company.  By then, tomorrow had arrived and we separated to attempt to get some shut eye.  Betcha most of us were so excited that there wasn't much sleep, even being as tired as we were. 

The next morning, we managed to be blessed with getting togther with, Linda and Leroy, John and Susan, Donna and Roger, Drew Whitely and Chris along with Dorothy and myself.  Breakfast was a shear joy.  I think it may have taken us 2 hours or more to eat.  It's hard to eat much when you still have too much to talk about.  Then those dreaded, final good byes (for this time) and it was all over.

You would have had to been there to fully appreciate how "falcontastic"  it was to be together for such a short and intense time.  Can't wait for the next one and am working hard to convince the wife that San Antonio is the PERFECT place for a vacation this summer. 

Hope that one day I can see all of you at one of the incredible reunions in the future.

Ken Morgan (one tired and happy Falcon) WHS71

 Photo #45

Saturday night at the Manila Bay Restaurant.

Left, Chris Whitely, Drew Whitely '65, and Linda Bonner Meahl '68.

 Photo #46

Saturday night at the Manila Bay Restaurant.

At the registration counter.

Left, Marilyn Burton Turbish '80, Rey Bailey '75 and wife Medy, and Susan DiBartolo Prunier '73.

 Photo #47

Saturday night at the Manila Bay Restaurant.

Gaye '74, Rey '75, and wife Medy.


Photo #48 

At the Manila Bay Restaurant on Saturday night.

Gary and Kathi Murphy Heapy '83.


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