Decatur, Illinois

Decatur, Illinois
Curve-In, Fairview Avenue

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Grad Gray Zone

One of the problems in tracking down all the Class of 1965 graduates from MacArthur High School has been trying to exactly figure out who was in the class and who was not. In general, everyone who went to school at some time during the four years leading up to the 1965 graduation "feel" like they were members of our class. Or we recall them as members.

Determining a final tally of graduates sometimes creates confusion in the count, in and off itself. I'll write about that some other time. But, for now, I want to focus on what seems like the Mac '65 graduate "gray zone." And all kidding aside, I'm not talking about the color of our hair these days.

No, the people that occupy this gray zone are the individuals who seem to be remembered, but sometimes who are not easily documented, nowadays.

For example, Tim Henebry (Mac '65) pointed out to me the situation of Philip Yocum. I've added his name to the "Who Has Died?" posting, because he seems to have been part of our class. Or was he?

Phil Yocum, though technically not Mac '65, was in the Class of 1965 for three years before he traveled to Germany for high school, apparently as a senior, as an American Friends Service Committee exchange student. Why is he not in the graduate rolls for 1965? Did he stay longer in Germany? His "disappearance" from the MacArthur records for 1965 is a temporary mystery.

What seems to have happened was probably what Phil told his friends like Tim before Phil left for Germany. This was that American AFS students (at least in the Decatur School District) could not count their time abroad for school credit toward graduation.

Today, according to Judy Sumner, who is collecting information on Class of 1966 members, says Phil had to put in an "extra" year at Mac, upon his return, and was a MacArthur 1966 graduate. He is listed as a 1966 graduate.

Yocum died in 2002. Part of the obituary that Tim passed along to me and the complete one that Judy shared too, from the Bloomington Pantagraph, reads, in part: "Philip Scott Yocum, 55, of Decatur, formerly of Normal, died at 2:14 p.m. Thursday (Sept. 12, 2002) at BroMenn Regional Medical Center, Normal."

There are other "in-between" situations, too.

Another "gray zone" example is Danny Bouchez (pictured), who died in Vietnam.

Judy Sumner (Mac '66) informed me that although many of us think of Danny as a member of the Class of 1965, he failed to complete all the requirements to graduate in 1965. He actually was a member of the graduating class of 1966. Nevertheless, I have him noted, with respect, in the obits for the Mac '65, because so many of us remember him as part of "us." He was often that guy in class that made us all laugh, and he is not someone you forgot, if you knew Danny.

Speaking of which, Gary Blackburn, myself, and a few other people remember that two of our classmates died in Vietnam, soon after graduation. Several of us have been trying to discover who the other classmate ~ besides Danny ~ was. We are coming up empty. Was Danny Bouchez the only Vietnam loss?

If you know, or have re-located one of the missing (click for the list), please make safe contact here.

Thank you.

1 comment:

Sandy Porter said...

There is a "virtual wall" for those who died in Vietnam. I got it in an email and it was really neat. I don't have the link but maybe you can google it. I did send it to Millie/Keith and the others on the committee (I think). Danny was the only person listed from Decatur who would have been in our class. Mike Kelley was in the class of 1964.