They couldn’t wait to reach the day they would graduate and leave behind the lifestyle they had known for at least 12 years but now, 70 years later, they couldn’t wait to return.

They are the remaining graduates of Wellston’s class of 1939, and they joined with fellow alumni from more recent years in a reunion celebration May 9.


They couldn’t wait to reach the day they would graduate and leave behind the lifestyle they had known for at least 12 years but now, 70 years later, they couldn’t wait to return.
They are the remaining graduates of Wellston’s class of 1939, and they joined with fellow alumni from more recent years in a reunion celebration May 9.
“We’re a close-knit class about keeping up with each other,” said Delbert Goggin, 88, one of eight living graduates of the 1939 Wellston class.
“They have the reunions every year, but the 1939 class goes every five years, if able.”
Goggin has since moved to Richardson, Texas, near Dallas, but remembers his roots clearly and often, he said.
“We put together a little news list and we send it to each other and after one reads it, they send it to the next,” Goggin said.
Wellston graduated 30 seniors in 1939 and, of the eight graduates who remain, five were able to join with former classmates during this year’s reunion.
The reunion weekend includes a big celebration in the small town, complete with a two-block parade and two fun, yet competitive sporting events between alumni and the current graduating class each year, Goggin said.
The sporting events consist of a basketball game and a baseball game that are more about making connections and celebrating commonalities than competing, Goggin said.
Another highlight of the celebration this year occurred the day prior to the reunion when four of the five returning alumni met with their former fourth grade teacher, Faye (Jones) Crum, who will turn 106 in August, in Seminole.
“It had been 15 to 20 years ago that I saw her last before this,” Goggin said. “Sometime in the ‘50s, she’d come back to the reunions, and she always looked so young. I remember that one of the classmates thought she was a student.”
Crum’s daughter, Janet Seay, also a retired schoolteacher, said her mother was very excited by the visit.
“She really enjoyed it,” Seay said. “It was a great experience to watch and to see these people interact.
 “She’d gone to the reunions before, when she could still drive herself — she drove until she was 98 years old, but the students hadn’t come by to see her like this.”
Goggin said he and his classmates have never forgotten the life lessons that Crum taught each of them.
“She was an excellent teacher,” Goggin said.
“She taught us good values and she always put an emphasis on penmanship and spelling. She was very strict, very professional and she didn’t play favorites; she was very fair and loving.”
Goggin said he and the others wondered if Crum would recognize them after nearly 80 years had passed since they sat in her class.
He said once one of his classmates began to recite a poem about “20 little froggies” and Crum filled in where the former student left off, he had his answer.
Goggin added that current students and graduates should “try to get the one who is the most outstanding in the class and make a plan to send a newsletter out to classmates regularly.”
“Keep planning and get back with friends,” Goggin said. “Life is just too short not to.”
Crum was inducted as an original pioneer in the first families of the twin territories, sponsored by the Oklahoma Genealogical Society in 2000.
She taught fourth grade at Wellston for several years and moved to Seminole after marrying Maurice H. Crum in 1934.
After her daughter was born, Crum refrained from teaching again until Seay reached the second grade.
According to her daughter, Crum always treasured the students she taught and did her best to instill positive values in each of them.
Goggin said that commitment was evident and that she did indeed accomplish those goals.
Crum retired from teaching in 1969 but continues to freely offer advice to students when provided the opportunity.
“Always do the right thing,” Crum said. “It may not be the easiest thing.”
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Johnna Ray may be reached at 214-3934.