Jamestown High School Class Of 1943 To Hold 75th Class Reunion
Class reunions are usually a mixed bag for former high school peers. Some are ecstatic to see old friends again whereas others would rather leave the past behind them. Whichever way one leans, most usually let the reunion scene fade before or after the 50th reunion.
For the Jamestown High School class of 1943, that is far from the case.
Co-chaired by Audrey Anderson Johnson and Aurora Grassi Bondi, the JHS class of 1943 is preparing to host its 75th class reunion. It will be the last formal gathering of friends and the ninth time Johnson and Bondi have organized a reunion.
These two women, who have remained especially close since high school, live at Hultquist Place and have been planning this final reunion for a while. Both in their early 90s, they want to join up with the still living members of their high school class one last time.
“This’ll be the last one,” Johnson said.
Johnson and Bondi took over as chairwomen after the 30th class reunion and have been organizing meet-ups since. They reunite at least annually with those who live in the local area, but every five years, they host a reunion that brings together alumni spread across the country.
Class members are set to come from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina and Indiana.
“We’ve been calling them personally,” Johnson said.
In the past, reunions have featured a variety of activities including watching horse races and visiting Canada, but at the ages of 90-plus years old, class members will be having lunch next door to Hultquist Place at Warner Place.
“I know they’ll be pleased with the Warner Place,” Johnson said.
Bondi has kept 75 addresses in her records, so she can contact as many of her former peers as possible. Approximately 32 people will be attending the reunion so far, including twenty former classmates. Other attendees include alumni’s drivers.
“At least they come,” Johnson said.
The reunion itself will be hosted Saturday, June 23, at noon, which is the same date as their graduation in 1943, which happened on a Wednesday.
Despite career trajectories taking them in different directions, Johnson and Bondi have remained close. They lived together at the Hugo A. Lindgren Apartments before moving to Hultquist Place in Jamestown. Johnson was a nurse and attended Millard Fillmore School of Nursing. She had five children. Bondi was a bookkeeper and had learned all she needed to know from JHS’s business courses.
Members of this high school class have lived long lives, and many of them have since passed away.
“We always have a moment of silence,” said Johnson, who notes that they keep track of who passed away at each reunion. “We honor and remember them.”
If living members of the class cannot come, they sometimes write in reflection letters to keep others updated with their lives.
“A lot of classes unfortunately stopped doing reunions at their 50th,” Bondi said.
“We like each other so much we wanted to meet more often,” Johnson said.
The last lunch local class members sat down to was in August.
“I think we probably reminisce more than anything,” Bondi said.
Catching up is the core of these reunions. They only have one rule: no talking politics.
“We have enjoyed keeping the class together,” Johnson said. “This is our big hoorah!”