|Magazine of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls
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Along the South Fork
The Gang’s All Here
They came riding back into town last October—Phil, Gary, Ray, Jim and the two Johns. They called themselves the May Hall Gang. And they were looking for a showdown. They found one.
Homecoming 2006, with the theme “Showdown at the RF Corral,” drew hundreds of alumni back to campus and saw increased student participation at its rip-roarin’ concerts, contests and events. Throngs lined the downtown Main Street for the return of the Homecoming Parade. Shrine units, marching bands and more than a dozen student-sponsored floats put on a great show. And a come-from-behind victory by the Falcon football squad warmed the spirits of diehard fans on a chilly fall Saturday.
It was the kind of Homecoming “the gang” remembered from their days on campus in the 1960s.
The gang on the steps of May Hall, Homecoming 2006. Top row, l. to r.: Jim Anderseon, Ray Meglic, and John Salek. Bottom row l to r.; Phill Follen, John Hartsough and Gary Evans.
John Hartsough, ’69, has been rounding up his pack of college pals for decades now, encouraging them to reunite on campus each Homecoming and renew friendships, reminisce about the good old days, and share a few laughs about hijinks that landed them in trouble way back when. They return with wives, several of them UWRF alumni as well. Sometimes they’re a large group; sometimes the gathering is small. But the affection—the bond—they feel for each other seems to deepen with each passing year.
It all began in the fall of 1963, when as freshmen they moved into brand new May Hall, a dormitory for men. Some lived there no more than a semester. Most moved off campus after that first year. Some interrupted their studies with tours of duty in Vietnam. Others transferred to pursue professional studies at larger schools.
Still in the short time they spent together, they accumulated vivid memories of intramural athletic prowess, frenzied snake dances through the streets of downtown River Falls, and “a-ha” moments of discovery in favorite classes.
Fast-forward 40 years and today’s reunions of the May Hall Gang have developed a pattern all their own. The group gathers Saturday morning at Emma’s on Main Street, which opens early especially for them. Then it’s on to the South Fork for breakfast. After that the gang splits up, some attending the football game while others, less interested in sports, find different amusements. They meet up again in late afternoon at Bud’s Lanes before heading off to the Shady Grove for dinner—now a supper club, but back in the 1960s a favorite hangout for UWRF students between River Falls and Ellsworth.
Invariably, during the meal, someone will raise a glass in toast to each other, to long friendships, and to the school that brought them together.
Call a classmate today and start creating your own Homecoming memories. The date for Homecoming 2007 is Oct. 13. Judging from last fall’s success, the Main Street parade will be a “can’t miss.” From there you'll want to head over to the new University Center for an all-campus barbecue. The football game, a variety of special reunions, and the Athletic Hall of Fame induction banquet round out Saturday’s activities. But you’ll want to stick around for Sunday’s traditional Homecoming Concert presented by the music department. Watch for more details in the Fall issue of Falcon Features.
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