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September 18, 1998

There must be a record number of Perry high school class reunions going on here this weekend because of the Cherokee Strip celebration. Congratulations to the class of 1938 for their 60-year get-together, also to all the other old (and some not so old) grads who are returning for this eventful weekend. So many classes wanted to have their reunion during the celebration that we just about ran out of places to have them. The old Elite Hotel building on the north side of the square was a lifesaver for one group that almost gave up on locating an assembly hall. Some creative alumni had the good sense to think of the old Elite for their reunion, and it saved the day for them. That should be a great place for a class party.

Missing from the celebration and reunion scene this year will be Bill Jensen. He has made his home in California for quite some time but for the past few years he has been a faithful attendee at our annual Cherokee Strip commemorative weekends. He would have been here today but a malignant tumor was discovered in his brain only a short time ago and, sadly, Bill died this week. Bill and Robert (Hook) Edwards of Houston were classmates here and usually came back together to see old friends as well as their hometown each September. They were a pair of outstanding Maroon football players back in the heyday of Coach Hump Daniels. We'll miss our annual visit with Bill Jensen. He was one of the last surviving members of the C.D. Jensen family, prominent folks in the early development of Perry. Jandryd Lawson is Bill's niece. Her mother was Dorthea (Dickie) Jensen Casey.

It's always good to see again so many familiar faces of those boys and girls who used to roam the halls of Dear Old Perry High. Some of them don't seem to change much from year to year. Welcome to all of you and to all of our visitors this weekend. Keep us on your list for next year! Perry has never failed to have a Cherokee Strip celebration since the first year after the 1893 land run that settled this great area, so you can be sure we'll be ready to entertain you again in 1999.

PHS graduates and all others here for the celebration should by all means go by the new home of the Perry High School Alumni Association on the south side of the square. Although a lot of work remains to be done there, you can see the fine facility we'll have very soon when everything is in place. It's the old Gem Cafe building with the front end completely restored to its original early-1900s splendor. The interior features a pressed metal ceiling and ceiling fans, with a soft restful color decorating the wall. One area of exposed stonework has been left in place to show the original construction. The building will be centrally heated and cooled and it will provide a space for the Alumni office and displays of PHS memorabilia. A lot of the work has been donated by some old grads and the building itself is being provided by Leroy Rolling, a Perry alum and faithful supporter of the association. This is going to be a popular place in the future. Go take a look at it if you haven't already done so. Thanks to Leroy and the Alumni Association for their dedication in seeing this project through to completion.