Map | Pictures | Postcards | Essays | Facts & Figures | Links | Coast To Coast 1999



Day 34 - 40

Hudson, Kansas High School Reunion - Coast To Coast 1999 by Eric K. Andersen

Every three years on the first Saturday in June, the town of Hudson, Kansas, population less than 100, has a High School Reunion. Surviving members from every class since the first class graduated in 1930 return to the gym to relive the memories that were made in this flour mill town in the middle of the Great Plains. It was Saturday, June 3rd, when I came hungrily into Hudson looking for a place to eat. I had been fighting a strong crosswind from the south all day and was looking forward to a good meal and an equally good nights sleep. Hob and Deb had arrived ahead of me to find that everything except the liquor store and an antique store were closed. This included the grocery store and the only restaurant in town since it was catering the event. Hob and Deb were sitting on a broken down bench when they welcomed me into town as I pedalled wind beaten up the main drag. They filled me in on the situation. They had found the owner of the grocery store and purchased a can of Ravioli that they planned on eating cold along with some fruit. They could get the store reopened for me so that I could get some food too, but I insisted on finding a way to attend the reunion. I had heard so much about the hospitality of the people of Kansas. Not only would there be great food, but it would be an amazing experience.

We stored our bicycles in the concession shack by the High School athletic field where we intended to camp for the night. As we were cleaning up, a trolley came along. It was filled with alumni taking a tour of the town. We waved to them as it passed by as an announcer pointed out the changes in the area and. After changing clothes, we headed back to the town hall where we mingled with the guests enjoying cocktails and beer.

Thanks to John Dorsey for this picture.
Read about John's trip at

The walls were decorated with images from the past including a flip book of all the graduating classes. We chatted with several people including the mayor himself, before we finally got invited to attend the festivities. We walked over to the High School with our new friends and got into the long line that snaked out the door. We paid ten dollars and stuck numbered name tags to our chests. The gym was almost filled to capacity as we took our seats with the class of 1967. They regaled us with stories of pick-up truck accidents, basketball championships, 6 man football games and oil strikes.

After a prayer, the event was called to order. General business was discussed and officers were elected. Then it was time for dinner. Almost 250 alumnus and three bikers enjoyed chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, green beans and of course, pie. During the course of the night, various items were raffled which included several bags of flour from the town’s mill. They were given away to the person lucky enough to have the number on their name tag called. Hob was mistaken more than once for an alumnus he resembled.

Later an auction of old high school memorabilia was held. An original football sweatshirt went for $80. A catcher’s mitt and ball for $50. A basketball uniform for $60. Then the auctioneer held up a pair of large women’s panties. He told the story of how they were found in the glove compartment of the truck of one of the alumnus. The gym filled with laughter when they were quickly sold to that class member for fifty cents. A bidding war broke out when the old bass drum from the band was offered. The drum would be sponsored by the class that gave the highest bid and displayed with their name over the course of the next three years in the town hall. The bidding went back and forth with each group asking amongst themselves how much money they could spare. It finally sold for $150.

Towards the end of the evening, the announcer introduced us to the crowd and we stood and waved. Hob gave brief speech on how "there are no strangers - only friends you haven’t met yet" to a round of applause. When it was over, many people came over to ask about our trip or to tell me about a relative that lived in New Jersey. We were invited to come back again in three years, but no one invited us to stay at their homes . Everybody was headed back to the town hall to dance the night away and the asked us to join them. Even though the sun was just starting to set we declined the offer. A day of bicycling in the strong wind had taken it’s toll and now a fine Kansas meal topped off with hospitality to match had me yearning for the comfort of my sleeping bag. We set up our tents next to the bleachers and slept under a beautiful star filled sky.




Top Day 34 - 40 | Coast To Coast 1999 Map | Pictures | Postcards | Essays | Facts & Figures | Links