STEUBENVILLE - In a season that sprouts the return of family and neighborhood reunions in abundance, a new one is hoped to take root if a native of Steubenville's South End has her way.
Lynn Bell Haines is organizing the first South End reunion - an event geared to individuals who were born and raised in the city's South End between the years of 1935 and 1975 with their families invited as well.
And it's a reunion she wants to blossom into an annual gathering of renewing friendships and sharing memories.
FEELING NOSTALGIC — Lynn Bell Haines stands in front of what used to be Lincoln Elementary School in Steubenville, which now houses Nelson’s Fine Art and Gifts. The school holds special memories for the Steubenville native who grew up in the South End and is spearheading the organization of a first-time reunion for people who were born and raised in that area of town between the years of 1935 and 1975 with their families invited to attend, too. It will be held on Aug. 24 at Beatty Park in Steubenville, beginning at 1 p.m.
Janice R. Kiaski
FEELING?NOSTALGIC — Lynn Bell Haines stands in front of what used to be Lincoln Elementary School in Steubenville, which now houses Nelson’s Fine Art and Gifts. The school holds special memories for the Steubenville native who grew up in the South End and is spearheading the organization of a first-time reunion for people who were born and raised in that area of town between the years of 1935 and 1975 with their families invited to attend, too. It will be held on Aug. 24 at Beatty Park in Steubenville, beginning at 1 p.m.
-- Janice R. Kiaski
The reunion will be held on Aug. 24 at Beatty Park, beginning at 1 p.m. It will be located in the first shelterhouse on the left, rain or shine.
There will be a $3 cover charge to attend to help cover some of the reunion expenses, and RSVPs are needed by the first week of August by calling Haines at (740) 266-6131 or (740) 391-3199.
"We are purchasing the meat for this reunion and are asking that everyone bring a side dish," Haines said.
As a reunion fundraiser, T-shirts bearing the message "South End 2013 Reunion" and "It's a South End thing - you wouldn't understand" are being sold and can be purchased at the Target Shop on Sunset Boulevard or by calling (740) 266-6440.
"I am really hoping that everyone who comes to the reunion will order their shirt for only $12 and wear it at the reunion," Haines said.
The T-shirts are purple with white lettering in honor of what were the school colors at Lincoln Elementary School, which has since closed and is now home to Nelson Fine Art and Gifts.
The picnic tables will have purple and white table coverings as well.
Growing older and feeling nostalgic motivated Haines to get the reunion ball rolling.
"I grew up in the South End of Steubenville and loved it," said Haines, 56, a 1975 graduate of Steubenville High School who lived on Capital Avenue.
"Everyone knew each other, and we all looked out for one another. Many of us moved away, others stayed there and some moved to surrounding areas such as myself," said the now resident of Wintersville who resides there with her husband, Bill, and is the mother of two grown sons.
"We are doing this reunion around the people who were born and raised in the South End of Steubenville between the years of 1935 and 1975 - and their families - and who went to Lincoln School," she said.
Haines has a Facebook page called Southenders that she started once the reunion idea took hold, and it has generated a lot of interest.
Haines said she checks the site daily to see who's coming to the reunion and what the comments are.
"We talk about things we did growing up there, so many things I had forgotten about," she said.
"We are now close to 200 members from the South End," she said. "I am hoping for a large turnout for our reunion."
The park is a fitting place for the event, since it fosters many happy memories, she said.
"Beatty Park is where we all went swimming, and most of us learned to swim there," she said. "We still remember the lifeguard who taught a lot of us to swim. Her name is Terri Smogonovich, and she is on our South End site and will be at the reunion," she said.
The reunion also will be a time to remember those who have passed away.
"We have lost a lot of our friends from the South End, and we will not forget about them. They will be acknowledged at our reunion," Haines said.
"We don't want people to forget how the South End was at one time," she said, recalling hangouts as the Dairy Barn and Ravasio's grocery store at the corner of Tweed and Lincoln. "Everybody would sit outside on the steps there," she said.
"We all had a blast growing up there. We played dodge ball, truth or dare, hide and go seek, games that children nowadays don't seem to play any more," she said.
"The one big rule was once the street lights were on, you had better get your behind home. And if you were not home for a meal, well then you just didn't eat until the next meal," Haines said. "We didn't need to be given a lot of rules because we knew right from wrong, and we also knew if we did something we shouldn't, we eventually had to go home and face our parents," she added.
The reunion centers around Lincoln School, too, the source of many happy memories, according to Haines, who said there was a large bell outside the school at one time that has since been moved. Now, however, it will be moved to the park's entrance.
"That's a piece of history for all of us who went to that school," she said.
Haines said she thinks she was a product of the school's first-ever or second kindergarten class.
Another good Lincoln School memory is the late Jabba Young, who operated what she remembered to be the recreation center in the downstairs of the school. During evenings, it was a place for children to play in the gymnasium.
"He did that to keep kids off the street," Haines said. "We called it the recreation center."
Haines is looking forward to Aug. 24.
"This is going to be a great reunion seeing people we have not seen in years, and seeing friends who were our best friends growing up and some of those friends' parents also will be at our reunion," she said.
"I urge anyone who grew up at this end of town between 1935 and 1975 to give me a call and come join in this celebration of our wonderful youth at Lincoln Elementary School and the South End of Steubenville," Haines said.
(Kiaski can be contacted at email@example.com.)