Norwalk all-school reunion

Cary Ashby • Aug 20, 2014 at 10:58 PM

Marcella (Charville) Heyl met her future husband when he was hitchhiking.

"My nickname is Skip and we went by Skip and Chip. We had those nicknames long before we started dating," she said.

Less than a week after the hitchhiking incident, the couple had their first date at the drive-in.

"You don't go to the drive-in to watch the movie," said Heyl with a hearty laugh when asked if she remembered the movie.

The two dated exclusively for two years at Norwalk High School and got married in 1959, the year Chip graduated from NHS. The Heyls, who live in Virginia, will celebrate their 55th anniversary Friday.

Chip was hitchhiking on Woodlawn Avenue on his way to the old Norwalk Elks Country Club.

"Before I got my license, I used to hitchhike every day," he said. "I thought she was really cute, but I didn't know her. She was in the class ahead of me."

Marcella said she picked up Chip only because she recognized him from school. Otherwise, she said she didn't normally pick up hitchhikers.

The couple said they didn't talk much during their initial ride. Chip, one of two sophomores who played football team, went to Marcella's house to ask her out.

"He was cool for a football player," Marcella said about her husband, who was a right guard on the offensive line and nose guard on the defensive line.

That was one of many stories that alumni of Norwalk public schools shared with the Reflector during the eighth annual all-classes reunion Sunday.

The NHS marching band played four songs. The band played the fight song as the crowd clapped in time and members of the 1974 championship football team paraded through the gymnasium. Coach Bob Hart, some of the players and cheerleaders smiled as they held up framed clippings of their triumphant 11-1 season, trophy and a Truckers helmet as they made their way through the large crowd.

Florida resident Janet (Jennings) Marschall was at NHS to celebrate the 50th reunion of the class of 1964.

"It's been awesome," she said about seeing her classmates.

"We had a get-together (Saturday) night. It was a lot of fun," Marschall added.

Her childhood best friend, Norwalk resident Margaret Krapp, chimed in and said it was fun guessing who people were without looking at their senior photos.

"Some of them we didn't know," said Krapp, who recognized many of her classmates. "We all had a wonderful time."

Friends since the first grade, Krapp and Marschall traded pen tops in the fourth grade.

"She kept hers. I don't know where mine is," Marschall said.

Sitting at the same table as Marschall and Krapp was another member of the class of 1964, Jennifer (Ross) Rinehart. She was good friends with Marschall during their NHS days.

"I was the principal's daughter. I was always miserable. I had to escape to have a good time," said Rinehart, which prompted some laughter and denials.

Rinehart and her classmates had kind words for her father, the late James Ross.

"He died in 1982. He was much beloved. He was a very good person. He was very fair," Rinehart said.

While at NHS, she was in many instrumental groups, including the marching band.

"I liked that. I had a lot of good friends there," Rinehart said.

A pianist, Rinehart turned her musical talent into a career. In 2008, she retired from the Oberlin Conservatory, where she accompanied vocalists and instrumentalists and taught music theory.

Rinehart, of Oberlin, was attending her first Norwalk reunion. She said she it felt symbolic being there since she somewhat embodies the memory of her father.

"I feel particularly good because Dad was a good principal. He really loved his students," she said.

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