Lizette King's backyard filled with familiar faces last week as she hosted a gathering of high school classmates.
The lunch wasn't a back-to-school party. The classmates graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1935.
For more than 40 years they've met monthly, taking turns choosing the restaurant where they'll meet for dinner.
“We go all over the city,” Francis Ringenbach said.
Mrs. King chose to have the August meeting in her backyard, arranging white-clothed tables and vases of flowers, so that the Rev. Martin Donnelly, former president and pastor of Central Catholic, could bless her shrine.
The main business of the day was talking about old times with old friends. The class of 1935 started meeting about 25 years after they graduated.
They used to have about 30 or 35 people each month, said Elizabeth Fackelman, who keeps the records for this group.
But lately they average 15 graduates, and last week they had fewer than 10. About five people had called to say they were sick. Summers are always trickier to schedule anyway, Charles Kehres said.
As they sat in the shade of white canopies, they looked at yearbooks on the table and talked about their aches and pains and missing friends.
Some now live elsewhere, some were too sick to attend, and some are no longer living. Of about 150 people who graduated in 1935, fewer than 50 are left, Mr. Ringenbach said.
“We've lost a lot of our class,” he said.
The classmates are now all in their mid-80s. Some cannot drive, some have difficulty walking or hearing. Mr. Ringenbach uses an oxygen tank.
But they came anyway, and brought spouses and friends. Some graduated from the school in other years, or from other schools.
“A lot of them become adopted through the years,” said the Rev. Gregory Hite, president and pastor of Central Catholic. Mrs. Fackelman graduated in 1940, and meets with that class four times a year. She meets with the class of 1935 because her husband, Ed, graduated then.
After the blessing, the class of 1935 and friends returned to the tables for lunch and dessert, a cake that said “Congratulations C.C.H.S. Class of 1935. Go Irish.”
“We love the spirit of Central. That's what's here today,” Mrs. Fackelman said.
The members of the class of 1935 who regularly attend luncheons include:
w Angela Billamier of Toledo
w Cece Early and her husband, Ray, of Toledo
w Marge Dohms of Curtice, Ohio
w Gene Extejt of Toledo
w Ed Fackelman and his wife, Elizabeth, of Toledo
w Charles (Bud) Kehres and his friend, Dolores Bauberschmidt, of Toledo
w Lizette King of Toledo
w Peg Lenahan of Toledo
w Virigina Maurer of Toledo
w Juanita McDonagh of Toledo, whose husband was in the class
w Anna Morrin of Temperance
w Esther Myers of Sylvania
w Francis Ringenbach and his wife, Angela, of Toledo
w Ursula Turnow of Oregon
w Virginia Werner of Sylvania