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Mae Isaacson (seated) hosted a 70-year reunion Friday for her classmates from New York Mills High School, including (left to right) Lorraine Anderson, Russ Jacobson and Marcy Hendrickx. The event was held at Winchester on Washington in Detroit Lakes. Photo by - Vicki Gerdes

New York Mills High School Class of 1942 holds reunion in Detroit Lakes

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New York Mills High School Class of 1942 holds reunion in Detroit Lakes
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

When the Class of 1942 graduated from New York Mills High School, there was a slight discrepancy between the sexes.

"There were 39 in our graduating class -- including 30 girls, and 9 boys," said Mae Isaacson, who now lives in Detroit Lakes' Winchester on Washington senior housing complex.


But at that time, she explained, the U.S. had just joined in the fighting of World War II in earnest, and many of her male classmates had already enlisted in the service by the time graduation came around.

Of those who had not yet enlisted, "most went into the service after graduation," she added.

Others had eschewed graduation in favor of joining their fathers in the family farming operation, she added.

On Friday afternoon, Isaacson hosted a 70-year class reunion gathering at Winchester that was attended by four of her classmates, as well as spouses and assorted family members.

Unfortunately, two others who had planned to attend passed away after sending in their RSVP, she said, "and two are not well enough to come."

Of the original 39 graduates, only about a dozen have survived to the present day, and "eight of those still living are out of state," Isaacson added.

"It's a long way to come from Seattle, or California, especially when you don't have family still living here."

"We did have a pretty good turnout for our last one," said Lorraine Anderson, who now lives in Cokato (though she was staying at Pequot Lakes for the summer).

"We have reunions every five years," added Russ Jacobson, who still lives in New York Mills. "I think I've only missed one in 70 years."

Also making the trip from her home in St. Cloud was Marcy Hendrickx, who stayed with her daughter in Nevis for the weekend.

Though they all grew up in New York Mills, they have only held a couple of their reunions in their hometown, Anderson said.

"The last one was at the Perham golf course," she said.

The differences between Friday's reunion and the first one they held were many, Anderson added, but the biggest one was that the first reunion lasted all night long, and this one would end pretty early.

"For our first reunion, we saw the sunrise -- for this one, we'll see the sunset," she joked.

Isaacson, who played hostess for Friday's reunion, has lived in Detroit Lakes for a little over 10 years now. She and her husband Roy were classmates, though not high school sweethearts.

"We didn't go out together or get married until after he got out of the service," she explained.

They moved to Detroit Lakes from their home in New York Mills because "my husband was on dialysis and couldn't take the trips from New York Mills (to Detroit Lakes) three times a week," Isaacson said.

Though her husband is no longer living, Mae has made a comfortable home for herself at Winchester, where she gets frequent visits from her son Keith (oldest daughter Janis passed away 19 years ago, she added sadly).

"He's coming here tonight (Friday) for dinner with his wife," she added.

Besides a special dinner, Friday's festivities mainly consisted of visiting with old friends, some of whom hadn't seen each other face-to-face since the last reunion.

"Our class has kept in touch pretty well," Isaacson said, despite the geographic distance that now separates many of them.

"We have some in Seattle, Oregon, California, Michigan, Atlanta, South Carolina... we've spread out quite a bit," she added.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 15 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as obituaries. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454