Over several years, I have shared stories and information about my very active high school graduation class. The Southport High School Class of 1960 loves to get together and enjoy remembering wonderful events and sharing new adventures.
One of our groups enjoys a lunch every month. A different classmate is in charge of each month and we generally visit a different restaurant each month. Our December lunch was held at Red Lobster on Thompson Road.
After we were seated, we began visiting and getting caught up. Our waiter introduced himself and started taking drink orders. When he arrived at my seat and I had ordered my iced tea, he looked at me and asked if my name was Fred. I nodded and then he asked my last name.
I was then asked if I wrote a column in The Southsider Voice. Over the years of writing this column, I have occasionally been recognized. This time was considerably different. He started telling me about articles and stories that he really enjoyed. It didn’t take long for me to understand that he probably knew quite a bit about me. He also spoke of Stuart and Simon, our therapy dogs that I have talked about on occasion.
My classmates that were sitting close to me were also very surprised and interested as our waiter remembered some of my articles. One of us asked his name. He replied that his name is Erich Hibner.
Several of us were very familiar with the Hibner name. We remembered Marty Hibner from Southport. She was a few years behind us. We tossed out her name to Erich and he replied that she was his aunt.
Her father owned a drive-thru retail dairy located on US 31 just north of Hanna Avenue. My good friend Mickey Johnson worked there and that was where I had first met Marty. Several years later, she married Louie Dampier and they were together for several years.
As I was sitting there listening to all of this, it occurred to me that the Hibner family, the Dampier family and my family were all involved in the milk business. There was the Hibner drive-thru dairy. Louis’ brother, Bill had a couple of retail home delivery milk routes and my father had a country pick-up milk route. He would drive to the farms and pick-up 10-gallon milk cans and deliver them to a dairy for processing.
We asked Erich to please tell Marty that we all said, “Hello” when he spoke with her again. He provided us with great service during our lunch and the General Manager, John DeRoss even stopped by and visited with us a couple of times.
I have stayed in contact with Louie Dampier over the years. He was inducted into The Perry Township/Southport Historical Society Basketball Hall of fame a few years ago. It was great to see him and visit a bit.
While we were talking with Erich about my articles, he explained that he also had a connection with Kelly Sawyers. She, as you all probably know is the publisher of this dandy weekly newspaper. I believe Erich told us that he attended school with Kelly’s brother, Sean Collins, Southport class of 1986.
Near the end of our lunch, some of the Red Lobster staff showed up at our table and showed us several gift baskets that they were selling. Our gang recognized a great deal and several were purchased. I went back a couple of days later and purchased one for Lyn.
Shonk is a 1960 graduate of Southport High School, a ’63 grad of Indiana Central College (now the University of Indianapolis) and a retired bus driver from Beech Grove Schools. He can be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.