TYLER - While the city of Tyler looked back on 125 years of history this past weekend, plenty of former Tyler community members were looking back on their own relationship with the community.
And one of the hot spots for reminiscences on Saturday was the basement of a local house.
"This is the real Tyler museum," said Don and Val Koster, as they joined the people mingling at the Oscar Hansen home Saturday afternoon.
Photo by Deb Gau
Darcy Reber checks out the Tyler school memorabilia on display during an open house at the Oscar Hansen home in Tyler on Saturday. For more photos, go to cu.marshallindependent.com
Hansen, a Tyler native, has collected a museum's worth of Tyler memorabilia in his basement. As part of the community's 125th anniversary celebrations and Aebleskiver Days, Hansen held an open house for former Tyler High School athletes and coaches. For some of the guests, he said, it would be their first visit back to Tyler in decades.
"This is the first opportunity I had to come back," said Les Newell.
The 1964 Tyler graduate went into military service after finishing school, and now lives in Washington, D.C. After spending some time in town, he said, "It's changed a lot, but it's still Tyler."
The basement was getting crowded on Saturday afternoon, as visitors looked at the photographs, trophies and vintage Tyler Danes jerseys displayed along the walls.
Others paged through books of newspaper clippings set out on Hansen's pool table. While her husband Darrell Christensen talked with old schoolmates, Bonnie Christensen looked through yearbooks from his time in high school.
"I never saw any of these pictures, so it's fun to look," she said. The Christensens traveled from Oregon to attend the all-school reunion on Friday.
Newell joked that he had tried to study faces from his own class photos before coming back to Tyler, "But I almost didn't recognize anybody. We've aged."
It was hard not to re-live memories as visitors met and looked through the displays. Daryle Petersen found copies of newspapers from 1979, his senior year in high school, and showed them to his children Lucas and Andrea.
"He's basically showing us his legacy," said Lucas Petersen. The Petersens were attending a family reunion in addition to the other celebrations going on.
Daryle Petersen said until he found the newspapers, he didn't remember the exact score of the defeat that ended the Danes' football season in 1979. However, he did remember playing in the cold and snowy conditions of that game.
"I played, so I was fine. But the guys that didn't get in had frozen feet," he said.
Several Tyler and Russell-Tyler-Ruthton high school classes were having their reunions this weekend. However, events like the open house were a fun way to bring more friends together, the Kosters said.
"It's nice to see the older and younger generations together," Val Koster said.
Tyler graduate Jim Nielsen said he was especially happy to get to see Tyler students who were older than him.
"I said they were all my heroes," Nielsen said. "When I was a little kid, I'd look up to them."