A Birthday Party Becomes a Reunion

It all started with organizer Marilyn Hoag Puccinelli, who thought it would be fun to celebrate several of her classmates' 70th birthdays this year. It turned into a Vincent Hill School reunion.

VHS, located in Mussourie, India, hosted a variety of students through the years, including American missionary children. Several of those former students now live in the Northwest. Nearly 30 people who attended VHS from 1948–1961 joined together for an Indian potluck at Sunnyside Church in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 28. Seven were also able to share in the 70th-birthday bash as well.

Bob Manley and Ted Mackett, Sunnyside Church members, made a special presentation at Sunnyside Church on Aug. 28, during the Mission Moments part of the Sabbath service. They included slides of VHS and the surrounding areas, which were taken by Manley's father, Myrl Manley, primarily in the 1950s. Manley's and Mackett's fathers were both principals at VHS. As it became increasingly difficult for American missionaries to enter India, the expense of maintaining VHS became impossible. It was sold in 1969 and is now operated by the Sikhs.

During the potluck, David Reynolds, another Sunnyside Church member with a long legacy in India, passed a roving mike around the group to make introductions. This allowed for all to hear the names of people they may not have seen for 40–50 years. Along with this, came the opportunity to share stories and memories of VHS. Roscoe Lowry, veteran missionary and president of the Southern Asia Division for many years, shared an experience of a nearly disastrous climb into a tree after his pet monkey. He recovered, and despite his later years of leadership, has the infamous record of being expelled from VHS on two separate occasions.

Several tables were set up with Indian memorabilia. There were books on display as well, which brought back memories such as the VHS annual, student catalog, recruitment materials and reading-course books like Up from the Go-Downs. Manley brought several paintings done by Mr. Keelan, a beloved teacher at VHS from years past, and gave the option for alumni present to purchase them. The $500 received from this effort is being sent to Mrs. Keelan to provide resources for her to buy medicines for the Pahari people at Mussourie.

Featured in: November 2010