On June 25, 105 former Fairview School students and guests enjoyed their 25th reunion at the Gunnison River Pleasure Park.
The school was located in the Orchard City area on Fairview Road between Austin and Cory. The first class met in 1904 and the school was closed in 1966 due to consolidation. The last graduating class was 50 years ago.
In addition to breakfast provided by the Gunnison River Pleasure Park, at the generosity of Ray Drysdale, guests enjoyed a program. A group of former students came together for the expressed purpose of leading the attendees in song at this yearly function. The group is known as the Dixon Brothers and sometimes the Dixonettes, although they are not all men, nor all Dixons. They sang familiar songs such as "She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain," "Billy Boy" and "God Bless America."
George "Mickey" Wheeler gave "A Walk Down Memory Lane," sharing his memories and wonderful old stories of living and working in Austin.
Another highlight of the program was a mock radio show on station FSML (Fairview School Memory Lane) moderated by committee member Marilyn Boyd. Interviews of former students representing the decades between 1904 and 1966 provided memories of personal Fairview experiences as well as events occurring locally and on the world scene. One such event was the introduction of cones to serve ice cream, first used in 1904. The committee later topped off the program with cones of vanilla ice cream for the attendees. The personal memories and reported events were interspersed with actual recordings of decade-appropriate commercials, collected and coordinated by Jimmie Boyd, for such products as Alka-Seltzer, Mr. Clean and Lucky Strike, as well as the music which was also introduced during that time period. Many listeners could be seen responding with toe tapping, head nodding and lip syncing to entertainers such as Irving Kaufman, Bob Hope and Elvis Presley.
Following the mock radio show, the committee acknowledged the passing of former students by distributing carnations to anyone who represented the deceased families. A plaque of appreciation was also presented to the Gunnison River Pleasure Park staff for providing a delicious breakfast and meeting place for the last 25 years.
In appreciation of the generosity of Ray Drysdale, the committee, on behalf of all the attending alumni, presented a memory album filled with photographs dating as far back as 1921 in addition to newspaper clippings of previous reunions and other memorabilia.
This gathering is unique in that there are not many four-room country schools that provided education for grades one through eight, which hold reunions -- let alone for 25 years in a row and 50 years after the school closed. Anyone interested in seeing what Fairview School looked like is welcome to visit the beautiful marble bench situated near the entrance to the Orchard City Town Park. A replica of Fairview has been etched into the back of the bench, which was provided by donations from former students and friends.
Those who worked on the 2016 reunion included Jim and Nome Boyd, Marilyn (Williams) Boyd, Pat (Grant) Percival, Marsha (Lanning) Thomas, George "Mickey" Wheeler (adopted alumnus) and Merredith (Helmick) Von Burg.