When classmates Leonard Osland and Don Mosher got together
recently, they realized they are about the only ones left from
a class of 156 students who graduated from DeKalb Township High
School in 1935. But they said there is at least one other classmate
alive, Verina (Lockenour) Anderson, and she lives at Pine Acres
The occasion was the 99th birthday for Leonard. Comparing
yearbooks they enjoyed reminiscing about their school days from
their Sophomore though Senior years. Leonard had transferred
from Waterman up to DeKalb in the 10th grade and Don offered
to show him around. That began a friendship that has lasted a
lifetime, even though they didn't see much of each other during
the intervening 80 years until recently.
In Don's yearbook, Leonard wrote in part: "I hope
you have fun with your runt pigs and scrub calves at the fair.
I'll see you when your (sic) picking corn and swetting (sic).
Autographing the yearbook for Leonard, Don also poked fun: Here's
to the half-cracked miler and hurdler
The best thing about
graduation is being able to get away from guys like you."
Don admits that Leonard was much more athletic and successful
in sports, while Leonard says Don was very studious and made
all A's. He added, "Don was able to study during noon hour
with kids making noise all around him."
All that studying paid off for Don as he received three
4-H scholarships and went on to the University of Illinois, earning
a degree in Agriculture, then on another scholarship to Harvard
where he got a Master's in business. But he had to join the ROTC
at Harvard and subsequently spent four years on active duty in
the US Army during World War II.
He was sent to England, then Luxembourg, Belgium, France
and Germany. After that he was put on a troop ship and sent to
the Pacific Theatre. First they landed in the Philippines, then
went to Japan shortly after that country surrendered. Don said
their ship was the first to land and occupy bases in Japan. He
has many stories to tell about his experience there including
a visit to Hiroshima where he saw the devastation caused by the
dropping of an atomic bomb.
Two remaining classmates from 80 years ago at DeKalb
High, Don Mosher, at left, and Leonard Osland, got together recently
to share stories of a lifetime.(Provided photos)Leonard Osland in 1935Don Mosher in 1935