Longtime friends get together in Blackfoot
BLACKFOOT — Seventy years ago, a group of students began kindergarten at Groveland Elementary School.
On Friday five of those people — three from Idaho, one from Utah and another from Lithuania — got together to enjoy one another's company once again.
"We have known one another for a long time," said Darla Solinsky of Groveland. "We have a lot in common."
"This is more fun that a class reunion because we all came out of the same area," said Joyce Bateman Adams of Orem, Utah. "Groveland was a wonderful place to grow up. We're just drawn to each other. We love each other."
The participants in the reunion started first grade in 1941. Some of them had known one another a couple of years earlier when they were in the same LDS Church Primary class.
"This is just to renew friendships and reminisce," said Janice Johnson Hansen of Idaho Falls.
"We love to catch up with what the others are doing," said Dee Chapman, who now lives in the McDonaldville area of Blackfoot.
"I'm so thrilled these people were considerate enough to get together so many live people as they could," said Boyd Hale, who lives in the small European nation of Lithuania.
"I came back because Darla became an e-mail buddy and had this crazy idea of a kindergarten reunion," Hale said. "It has been special that Darla cared enough to bring us together."
Members of the group and some spouses gathered at the Homestead Restaurant to share a meal and enjoy their friendships.
Solinsky spent 22 years traveling with her Army husband. After he retired, they moved back to Idaho. He then taught in the Blackfoot School District for 12 years while she worked in the district offices for 12. They raised four children including Danny Siler, a grandson who now regularly checks up on her.
Hansen and her husband Glen lived in Blackfoot for 30 years before moving to the Ammon area. He worked as a sheet metal worker and she worked as an LPN. They raised four daughters.
Adams married her husband, Lon, in 1953 and moved with him to Utah. He worked as an electronics repairman at BYU and she worked for Metropolitan Life as a secretary. They raised four children.
Chapman farmed and had a variety of jobs. He worked at the Kraft cheese plant for 27 years. He and his wife of 57 years, Roxie, have seven children.
After graduating from Blackfoot High School, Hale served an LDS Church mission and graduated from BYU. He then earned a medical degree from a college in the Philippines.
He practiced as a family doctor in Preston for 25 years and for another 10 years in Provo.
"My inspiration was Dean Packer here in Blackfoot," he recalled.
He and his Lithuanian wife met on the Internet and have been married seven years.
He has two daughters who are dentists, one who is an attorney and a son who is working toward becoming an attorney.
Solinsky noted that two other members of the group, Mortier Barrus and Louise Wixom Roskelley, who live in Utah and Montana, were unable to attend this year's reunion. She said the group has been able to get together two or three times in the past few years.