Web site details Ames reunion effort

By: Tim Engstrom, Staff Writer, March 12, 2001

If you're going to www.amesreunion.com, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

"Welcome to amesreunion.com," the site greets onlookers, "a digital home for you counterculture types who wandered through Ames, Iowa/ISU during the sixties and seventies. Reconnect and reminisce with those good friends and wacky people you used to hang out with!!"

And these hippies - er, um, baby boomers - are planning to return to town for a big reunion in August or September 2002.

"I think the city will enjoy hosting it," said the reunion's coordinator, Bob Berry of Golden, Colo. "If we get a few hundred people back, Ames might even make some money on the deal."

Berry said the site has been up for about eight weeks, and so far about 50 people have responded via e-mail. The responses not only are from across the United States, but he said he has heard from former Ames residents in Africa, Alaska, Germany and Malaysia.

"We've discovered these people are all over the world," he said.

A similar reunion was held in Ames in 1977. Berry, a truck expediter for the U.S. Postal Service, said the idea came while talking to another former Ames resident, lawyer Jim Pearson, after the Denver Broncos football team won the Super Bowl in January 1999. Pearson mentioned he had missed the 1977 reunion because his house had caught on fire and said he wished another reunion would be held. So they decided to do it themselves. The first step, they decided, was to start a Web site. Another ex-Ames person living in Colorado, Ed Underwood, knew how to run a Web site and created www.amesreunion.com.

Berry said the reunion seeks people who shared a common thread of being in Ames during the 1960s and 1970s, but didn't necessarily attend Iowa State University. "I'd say less than half of them graduated," he said. "That makes them tough to find because they are not in the alumni records."

He estimated the reunion could attract about 300 to 400 people and likely would be held at Brookside Park, with perhaps some evening activities at the ISU Memorial Union. The Web site solicits proposals for setting a reunion date and is seeking host families in Ames for aiding in accommodations. "Anyone living in Ames who identifies with that time period, we would be interested in talking to them," Berry said.

The Web site, which states it is "best viewed through rose-colored bifocals," also provides tidbits from yesteryear. Remember Dugan's Deli, ISU Renovated Jug Band, Bluff Creek Theatrical (sic) Farm, Rippey's Orchard?

The site has photos, too. There's the College Pipe Shop. There's the Oct. 9, 1968, Ames Daily Tribune coverage of a draft protest. There's pictures of people in the scene.

And finally, the site has an e-mail exchange list.

Former state legislator Ralph Rosenberg, who moved to Ames in 1974, is on the list. "There's a good chance I had more hair on my head back then," he said. He said he is looking forward to the reunion because many have left Ames to make their mark on society.

"Living in Ames helped shaped their philosophy and lifestyle and issues," Rosenberg said.

copyright/Ames Tribune 2001

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