Reunion a family affair



May 22, 2014 - 12:00 AM

MORAN — When the 117th annual high school reunion unfolds here Saturday, it may feel more like a family get-together for Nancy Chandler.

Chandler graduated from Moran High in 1955. Within a few years one way or the other, so did her four sisters. Also on the roster of Moran grads are her mother, her daughter and aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.

She has been a fixture at reunions for years, doing secretarial chores for 16 years and now as historian for the reunion.

“I clip death notices and anything else having to do with our graduates,” said Chandler, who then tucks the news clippings neatly away in a scrapbook.

Officially billed as the Moran, Moran Rural and Marmaton Valley High School reunion and banquet, the event often draws 125 or more former students and seldom less than 100. Chandler figures that isn’t bad for a school that was always small.

Her class of 1955 had 27 members. This year’s class numbered 25.

Alums usually wait several years before they attend their school’s reunion, Chandler said.

“I guess they are busy with family and careers, but then after their kids are grown they start coming back,” she said. “Mostly it’s older people, and often we have several from other states, even the East and West Coasts.”

While attrition has cut into the pool of possible attendees, Chandler said about 900 invitations are mailed in March for each year’s Memorial Day weekend reunion.

Preparations for Saturday’s events will begin Friday evening. 

“People will start showing up about 4 o’clock Saturday afternoon, we’ll eat around 6 to 6:30 and then have a short program afterward,” Chandler said, allowing the reunion always “is a good time to catch up on everyone.”

CHANDLER’S daughter, Virginia Spillman, teaches Title I classes in Moran’s elementary school and her two grandchildren attend school in the district.

She recalls American history as a favorite subject when she was in high school, but it was “home ec that I really loved, along with glee club.”

After graduating in 1955, she worked a few years for Houk Insurance in Moran and married Wayne Chandler, a 1953 grad of now defunct LaHarpe High School, on Aug. 25, 1962. Much of their lives together they have lived about four miles northeast of Moran, he farming and she looking after the household. Retirement entered the picture a few years ago.

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