Time to reunite with Rattlers

By Lynn Moncus

When The Rattler arrives each year, many of us just take the rest of the day off to read it and to look at the many pictures from last year’s Rattler Reunion.
From the attractive cover, featuring the Quarles’ murals, to the back cover with a snow-whitened mountain, we savor all 56 pages and are apt to start over in the event we might have missed something. The committee composed of Marian Farmer Knapp, Norma Jean Redhage Crellin and Nancy Ward Napier try to outdo themselves each year and are most successful in their efforts.
We can but wonder how many such high school reunion newspapers are published each year. We know for sure that ours is at the top of the list. We doubt that other high school reunion groups send out almost 4,000 copies each year and spend much of their time between reunions working on those papers.
We also doubt that many such papers have outstanding pictures of the alumni, such as those produced by James Crocker. Only an experienced photographer and alumnus could capture the groupings in such a warm fashion.
Reading the articles by Dave Stratton, Class of 1945, gave us an opportunity to relive our school days as well as to look even farther back in time to learn more about Lover’s Peak and its role in geological studies of our area. Those of us in “the over-the-hill gang” savored every word of his writings about his school days because we knew most of the people about whom he wrote and recalled our own memories of those friends. I should imagine “the hill climbers” enjoyed those words also because they could substitute the names of their friends and teachers along the way and see themselves seated in their classrooms, attending athletic events, getting into mischief, and just growing up in Tucumcari.
He captured the essence of school life as it once was and very warmly recalled his youth.
Carl K. Darnell summed up the attitude of many returning Rattlers in his article, “It’s Always Nice to Come Home.” No matter how many years people have been away from our area, they still think of it as home and return whenever possible to renew acquaintances and recall their lives here. Even those who have been away for 50 years talk about being at home for a few days.
Obviously, this is one enchanted place in this Land of Enchantment!
The article about Leslie and Marilyn Groat Valouche of the Class of 1952 was almost poignant as it told of their having won a wedding contest sponsored by KTNM and 25 Tucumcari merchants in June 1952. According to Marilyn, they won wedding pictures, a chapel wedding and reception at the Community House, $1,000 in gifts, and a week’s honeymoon in Denver. They are now retired and spend much time traveling. They return for Rattler Reunion every year and are proud to have been married for 53 years thus far.
By browsing through the many pictures, we can recall many of our conversations form last year and sometimes stop for a moment to wish we had been able to see all the friends who attended. Somehow, we usually manage to miss a few of those friends, no matter how many hours we spend at the Convention Center.
We are now ready to see those friends and even more when we gather again in August!