Glee Club, Basketball Team, and 4 Grandchildren?

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They had to wait 40 years, but the members of the Clay County (W.Va.) High School class of 1943 finally got their yearbooks this summer.

The 74 graduates of the class were forced to forgo 'their annuals when they graduated because World War II had created a paper shortage. But, as a result of some enterprising, if belated, investigative work on the part of a few class members, those school days in the small, rural town of 450 northwest of Charleston have been recreated.

But the editors put the 40-year interlude to good use. As they assembled the book, they included information from the present as well as that from the past. Thus, next to each "senior's" photograph is a brief note bringing classmates up to date on jobs, children, and grandchildren.

The yearbook is dedicated to the one member of the class who was killed in World War II.

"I just can't explain how you feel when you see your picture of 40 years ago," said Leon J. Downey, who now works for the West Virginia Department of Education.

"You just have to accept the fact that it's 40 years later and you are bald, slightly pudgy, and older," he added.

Between 40 and 50 members of the class received their "new-old" yearbooks in person this summer, when they gathered at the school for their first-ever class reunion. Fittingly, each member wore a name tag with a photograph taken in 1943 attached to it.

"It was wonderful to see old friends again," said Mr. Downey."I hadn't seem most of them in 40 years. What a shock! Forty years is a long time. I don't know why we waited so long."

Vol. 02, Issue 40

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