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Billy Ray is organizing the Romance School Reunion again this year. It will be held on Saturday, May 26, from 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m., at Romance, and while the event originally was conceived for those who attended the one-room schools at Romance and Grabeel, Billy stresses that everyone is invited.

The reunion is held every other year, and has continued since the first one in 1996. In 2010 more than 150 friends gathered under the big shade trees and spent the day reminiscing, eating, listening to music and having a good old-fashioned time. Billy is expecting an even larger crowd this year.

Billy has worked to compile a list of all the men and women who taught at Romance through the years, and he knows of three former teachers still living: Juanita Gardner Murphy, Alvin Nance and Ralph Walker. Ralph, who lives in Wichita, is hoping to be in attendance this year, and Juanita, who has never missed the reunion, also hopes to come, if she is able. Alvin attended the last reunion and had a wonderful time visiting with former students and friends.

Lunch will be provided, and Billy says to bring your folding chairs, sunscreen and bug spray, as well as musical instruments, memories and memorabilia including pictures and stories, and anything else of interest. Folks from Pennsylvania to California and from Texas to Minnesota have expressed an interest in coming; at the last reunion some folks showed up who hadn’t been to Ozark County in more than sixty years. This year’s reunion promises to be a day of surprises and fun, so mark your calendar now, and don’t miss it!

Ralph and Kay Johnson had as weekend visitors Ralph’s brother, Harley Johnson, and his friend Marie Owens of West Plains.

Shirley and Joe Schaadt’s lovely flower beds have been a traffic-stopper along Highway 5 these last couple of weeks. The amazing array of roses, peonies and other colorful bloomers is a beautiful sight to behold.

Sean and Cleta Sweeney were honored to be present last week when their daughter, Mackenzie, presented her thesis at Idaho State University; Cleta stayed for a longer visit and was there for graduation, as well. Mackenzie’s Master’s work is creating a benchmark for all future nuclear experiments, and she is collaborating for the Department of Energy on this project. Her work is being done at the Idaho National Laboratory, a federal research facility. As she continues her work, Mackenzie has moved into the doctoral phase of her education.

Mackenzie and husband, Davey Gorham, who is a chemical engineer and manages research and development projects for a large company, have settled into their home in Idaho and enjoy the outdoors in their beautiful adopted state. While Cleta was there, she helped the Gorhams plant raspberries, build a cold frame and worked on the fence for their two goats. They also hosted the youth group from the Gorhams’ church, of which Mackenzie and Davey are youth leaders.

The Sweeneys’ younger daughter, Delaney, is in the midst of finals at Drury University this week and is looking forward to a busy summer. She will be managing the Ava pool, as well as interning with the Whetstone Veterinary Clinic and taking one class online.

Nelita Hawkins says she is looking forward to the time when she will meet her newest great-grandson, Lucas Daniel Cowin. Lucas is the miracle-baby son of Nelita’s granddaughter, Tracy, and husband Hervil Cowin who live near Seattle.

If you have a treasured heirloom quilt, please consider sharing it for a new book being created at the Ozark County Historium. We will be photographing quilts on Friday, May 11, between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., or at other prearranged times, if you cannot come that day. Bring along a photograph of the quiltmaker for us to scan (we’ll give you back your original) and we’ll create a page in the book with your quilt’s story.

Also, we’re working on a very interesting exhibit that will begin May 14 about the Civil War in Ozark County. If you have an ancestor who was a veteran of that conflict and have any documents, photos or stories relating to him, we’d like to make copies and display those items. Or if you have any items you’d lend for the display, we’d appreciate that. Even though there was no major battle in our county, the war had a huge impact on its residents. The stories are fascinating, hair-raising, sad and unusual. Please share your information to help make this exhibit a really good one! And remember that you do not have to be a society member to participate; all our projects and events at the Ozark County Historium are open to the public.

Contact me at 265-3372 (or or Susan Ault at 679-4253 (or for information on any Historium projects.

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