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Pictured Center; Ruby Harmsen, to the far left is Ron Spencer.  Ohters in the photo also have a perfect attendacne record.  They are Jenny Lou Shirley Bougham (Class of 1947) 67 years, Jillyn Cross (Class of 2008) 6 years and Kevin Behrends (Class of 2001) 13 years.


Harmsen attends 75th consecutive Hartsburg Emden Alumni Banquet

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[June 13, 2014] HARTSBURG- For 75 consecutive years, Ruby Harmsen has never missed a Hartsburg Emden Alumni banquet.

What is it about the banquet that brings her back year after year?

Ruby calls the banquet a “social affair” that she has “looked forward to every year” and says it provides a “chance to buy a new dress, get your hair done, and reconnect.”

As for never missing a banquet, she recalls that when her children were young, “we were always able to get a babysitter or if [husband] Orville had to work in the field, he would meet me there. It just worked out.”

The banquets have changed somewhat over the years. For instance, Harmsen stated, “We used to have [ballroom style] dances after the banquet, but they do not have those anymore.” They had dances until the early 90’s, now there is just a short program to honor special attendees.

When asked about some of the biggest differences at the school now compared to when she attended, she replied, “Sports. We [the girls] did not have all the sporting options that the girls do now. They really have a lot to choose from, which is good. We had volleyball.” Technological change is typified by the leap from manual typewriters to computers. Her favorite memories of school include the graduation services and two operettas per year, a sign of a strong flow of talent in the school, for she said students performed two operettas a year.

Graduating 50 years after Harmsen, Ron Spencer has attended all the banquets since his graduation 25 years ago and hopes to still be attending in 50 years. He states “I have always loved attending the banquet. I really have a great love for our school district and enjoy listening to the older anniversary classes’ talk about what it was like to be a student at Hartem 50-60 years ago.”

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He is determined to never miss a banquet saying, “I have instructed my 9-year-old daughter that when I am too old to even realize where I am... It will be her responsibility to wheel me into the banquet.” He also notes, “When it was time to plan our 1999 wedding... I had to make sure my wife (fiancé back then) did not schedule it on the 2nd Saturday in June.”

After several years of banquets at the Knights of Columbus, this year’s Hartsburg Emden Jr. /Sr. High School Alumni Banquet will be held on June 14, 2014 at the Emden Community House.

Out of the class of 30 that Harmsen graduated with in 1939, there are five still living and at least two of those plan to be there for this year’s banquet. History is bound to be made as history is discussed.


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