At the Museum
The museum will be open, during the summer months, Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. By prior appointment only, at other times.
By Cheryl Herron ’79
Saturday, July 21, was my weekend to volunteer at the museum. From previous experience, I felt we would be lucky to get two visitors, but on that day we were ecstatic to get four. Our first visitors were Tim Chastain ’81 and his beautiful wife Lora, a NWC graduate. As Gerald Reeves ’79 and I greeted them with smiles, handshakes, and hugs, I anticipated the look on their faces when they saw our beautiful museum and the history it holds. Gerald grabbed yearbooks and the files from the cabinet for our Comet and his wife to begin their journey down memory lane. Tim became so excited he didn’t take time to sit down to look at the yearbook. When asked, “Would you like a seat?” he replied, “I’m fine. I am excited about seeing the yearbooks.” As time went on he and Lora began to debate whether “Old” Classen or Northwest Classen was the better school. The discussion was really entertaining; we eventually discovered that only one of the two have a museum. Tim ran across a picture of Mr. Gary Spellman (biology teacher) in the yearbook, which reminded him how one year he helped Mr. Sperling with some fundraisers for the class of ’79 and later on Mr. Sperling awarded him a brand new watch. He continued on how happy and proud that made him feel as a teen, while Gerald and I said, “That is so ironic because that was our class you were helping!” We enjoyed them so much we sure did hate for them to go. Not 5 minutes later, Harry Brantley ’69, who came all the way from Yoder, CO, and his little sister Kathy ’72, from Wellston, came through the door. Gerald and I greeted them, and again we were eager to see the expressions on their faces as they explored old yearbooks. Gerald once again got the files for their classes, and they took seats to begin their journeys down memory lane. As Kathy went through the archive folder, I heard her gasp. She had a big beautiful smile and surprised look on her face. Her eyes teared up as she told us how she created the Class Prophecy paper for her class, and how surprised she was to find it in the file.
As time grew closer to closing, Kathy and I made a trip down the hall to the ladies room. When we came out, I asked if she wanted to see the famous staircase. She gave me a look of confusion and asked, “What staircase?” I walked to the middle of the hall as she followed, and when she looked and saw the stairs she covered her face and begin to cry. She said to me, “You must think I’m silly for crying over some stairs.” I just smiled with tears in my eyes and replied, “No, I don’t. I understand.” By the time we returned to the museum, Gerald had already begun preparing to lock up. We walked Harry and Kathy to the door, and were saying our goodbyes when Harry extended his hand to Gerald and said, “Thank You. I don’t want to leave.” As he shook Gerald’s hand, Harry hugged him and wiped the tears from his eyes.
Saturday, July 28, was a good day for Team IV at the museum. A few visitors from the Class of 1973 showed up, and purchased everything! I had a ball with them. Thank you, guys, for putting up with me.
There were more visitors, but they didn’t sign the guest book. For those who didn’t know, Eddie Jones ’80 had a major surgery and surprised us all by coming, along with his big sister Teresa Jones Black ’79. John Long and twins Debi Dummeyer-Sheline and Dori Dummeyer Riel, all of ’73, came to see us again. I haven’t been this moved since Janis Thompson Johnson ’51 and her husband Graham came to the museum. I’m not the only person who finds joy in the place. Our museum is more than just two dusty old rooms filled with trophies and other memorabilia. This space houses priceless creativity made by some of the most talented in the state of Oklahoma. These two rooms are filled with memories of good times, and bad for some, but the most treasured thing of all is that it has granted us new friendships that will last for the rest of our lives. To those who came up with the idea, and those that have given generously of their time and funds to support the effort, “Thank You” for reminding us to remember. Now that school is back in session, the Museum is open only by appointment, until next summer. However, you can easily arrange for a visit by contacting any of the association officers. Their phone numbers are always listed on the inside back cover of eachissue of the NCL.