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Alumnus sees hometown as homogenized

By Staff | Jun 6, 2018

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary Seated are class representatives at the May 28 Hughesville High School Alumni Banquet include: Myron Smith-1943, Emmeline Styer-1948, Mary Temple Gray-1953, James Dewire -1958, Carol Deppen Wingfield-1963, John Montgomery and Thomas Secules-1968, Jeff Sheets-1978, Amy Shaner Rogers and Krista Paternostro-Bower-1988. Back row are the class of 2018 officers: Kendra Smith, Rachel Thomas, Trey Pachucki, and Samuel Benamati. ?

HUGHESVILLE – Dual representatives of the 50-year class were part the program of the 82nd annual Hughesville High School alumni banquet held at the fire hall on May 26, 2018.

John Montgomery and Thomas Secules from the class of 1968, shared their perspectives about their hometown from two points of view; one who moved away and the other who remained.

John Montgomery left the area about 1976 and currently resides in Virginia. “When I left, the library was still in the cafeteria, we had the second ever foreign exchange student and our graduation speaker was Franklin D. Coslett from a Wilkes-Barre television station,” he said.

Noted among national events at the time were the assassination of Robert Kennedy, the presidency of Richard Nixon, the launching of Apollo 8 and Shirley Chiasm became the first black member of Congress.

For three years, John Montgomery taught high school in Lewisburg before venturing off to Washington D. C. working with the Central Intelligence Agency. “After 9-11 occurred, I was assigned to the National Terror Center. I’m now a consultant instructing new members at the agency. “You could say I’m still teaching and correcting papers,” Montgomery said.

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary Ruth Montgomery represented the class of 1942, the earliest present, who came in support of son John Montgomery of the 50-year class of 1968.

Tom Secules said he didn’t start out to stay local, but after three and a half years with Bethlehem Steel, his division closed. He then worked for Wire Rope in Williamsport. “We moved back to Hughesville which has the lowest taxes in the county. My wife was a teacher with the district and our family and church are here. I joined the Jaycees, served on borough council, and was a charter member of the Hughesville-Wolf Sewer Authority,” he said.

Exceptions Secules gave as travels from the area were trips to southern Germany researching family roots. “The area looks similar, perhaps the reason my ancestors were inclined to settle here,” he said.

During his absence, Montgomery believes the area became homogenized as confirmed by the duo’s trip down memory lane. It included the Anton Waldman industry, four gas stations with repair shops, silk mills, two pharmacies, two butchers, three car dealerships, a bakery, a chain grocery, a flour and lumber mill, five bars with an equal number of churches. Favorite hangouts for youth were the Tastee Freeze and Boyer’s Restaurant and ice cream parlor. A sad note was the loss of classmate Vernon Green during the Vietnam War.

The 197 banquet attendees were reminded of events during 1968 when entertainment included such favorites as ‘The Lucy Show, also ‘Hair,” the Broadway show, while rock and roll changed to hard rock.

New shows that year included ‘Laugh In’ and ‘Sixty Minutes.’ It was the beginning of the Special Olympics and Hot Wheel miniature toys were all the rage.

A canvassing of class members revealed eight had become teachers, and from the group 31 children and 32 grandchildren had graduated HHS.

A reminder from the alumni committee is annually, graduates of all years are welcome with special recognition going to classes in five year increments.