YANKTON, S.D. (AP) - Nathan Steinbach and his Yankton High School classmates couldn’t study World War II in history class.
The war hadn’t started yet.
The Yankton High School Class of 1939 was surviving the Depression, and World War II loomed on the horizon to change their lives forever.
Five members recently attended their 75th class reunion at Walnut Village. The classmates included Steinbach, Cliff “Shorty” Hicks, Marian (Thompson) Koletzsky and Inez (Larson) Harris of Yankton, and Bill Cutts of Mankato, Minnesota.
The five attending the reunion could name others who were alive but unable to attend.
“We had a reunion for our 60th anniversary, and we said, if we can do 60, let’s do 75,” Steinbach said jokingly. “We didn’t know if any of us would be here for our 75th.”
The class contained 129 graduates, and there’s no way of fully knowing how many are still alive, Steinbach said.
“We have just the maiden names of the girls,” he said. “Those who got married (and changed their last names), we don’t really have a way of finding them.”
The classmates showed amusement looking around Walnut Village, which served as Yankton High School when they attended school. They sat with memorabilia and a special 75th reunion cake on one side of the giant greeting room, while the library filled the other side of the room.
“This used to be the study hall, and over there was the stage,” Hicks said, pointing to different areas of the spacious room.
The Yankton High School building was constructed extremely strong, Steinbach said.
“All the walls were concrete,” he said, noting the labs were converted into the current apartments.
While the current Walnut Village once contained grades 9-12, the Central School for grades 5-8 was located at the current Yankton Community Library and the lower grades were housed at the Garfield building.
Those in attendance at the reunion recalled a number of pleasant - and not so pleasant - memories.
Cutts lived in Mission Hill at the time but came to Yankton for high school. He made his athletic mark at the school, particularly in football.