Mary Tice, Virginia Strayer and Mary Powell sit at the Paris Soda Shop during the 80th reunion of the Niles High School Class of 1934. (Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT)
Mary Tice, Virginia Strayer and Mary Powell sit at the Paris Soda Shop during the 80th reunion of the Niles High School Class of 1934. (Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT)

Archived Story

Niles Class of 1934 meets for 80th reunion

Published 8:28am Monday, June 9, 2014

Three members of the Niles High School Class of 1934 gathered at the Paris Soda Shop Friday afternoon for their 80th reunion.

Mary (Ball) Powell, Virginia (Eaglesfield) Strayer and Mary (Hradal) Tice were together in the same room for the first time since the class’ 75th reunion, which was attended by seven people.

It did not take long for the reminiscing to begin.

The three laughed as Strayer recalled driving around town in her red Plymouth Roadster convertible back in the 1930s.

“Everyone loved that car,” said Strayer before describing how she and her friends would cruise the streets without their seatbelts on. “The police left us alone.”

All three said they knew each other well, but Strayer and Powell were best friends since meeting at Ferry Street School in the third grade.

“It was an instant friendship,” Powell said. “We shared a lot of the same interests and played in sports together.”

“She (Powell) was real tall and I was short so she jumped center,” Strayer said.

The two even worked together later in life at the First National Bank, which Powell said used to be at 210 E. Main.

They recalled hanging out at the Paris Soda Shop when they were in high school, drinking chocolate Coca Cola and dancing to music played from a jute box resembling a violin.

“(The owner) said we could come here as long as we behaved ourselves,” Strayer said.

The trio argued about whom was the oldest with Strayer winning out at 98. Powell determined she was the second oldest at 97 — just a few months older than Tice, who is also 97.

Powell and Strayer both live in Niles, while Tice resides in Goshen.

All three love playing bridge. Powell and Strayer play at the same bridge club once a week, while Tice plays elsewhere.

“I cancelled a game to come here,” Tice said.

They all hope to be back for an 85th reunion.

“It’s a good chance to get to chat with old classmates because most moved away,” Powell said.

They aren’t certain how many members of the Class of 1934 are still alive. Powell said they were the only ones that responded to the invitation.

 

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