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Elkhart High School’s Class of 1941 reunites

Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 5:42 PM EDT
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ELKHART, Ind. (WNDU) - High school class reunions are typically held in five-year increments.

That’s about the only thing that was typical about a class reunion that took place in Elkhart on Wednesday.

The 1941 Elkhart High School yearbook described head cheerleader Paul Thomas as the personification of pep.

It was true then, and it’s true now.

With megaphone in hand, Paul presided over an 80-year class reunion attended by himself and four surviving classmates.

“We went through rationing, tire rationing, sugar rationing, or meat rationing, and yet we survived it.” Thomas explained. “We’re all 98 years old and we survived it.”

In their high school days, Bing Crosby was crooning, gas was about 12-cents a gallon, and $850 would buy you a new car.

“Did a lot of walking. We didn’t have cars, most of us.” recalled classmate Jane Growcock. “And we walked to school and home and all that.”

They walked together through the great depression and World War II, forming strong, long-lasting bonds along the way.

“I got married right out of, after I got out of high school. I started a family, and I was busy all those years too,” said Growcock, who met her husband in English class.

Knowing how fleeting time can be, plans call for another reunion in 2026. “When people say you’re 80, 90, 98 years young, they’re nuts, you’re 98 years old,” Thomas said.

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