Towson High School's Class of 1953 held its 60th reunion Sept. 27 and 28 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Hunt Valley. We asked some members of the class to recount life in Towson in the 1950s, their favorite memories, and where life took them after graduation.

Barbara Anderson Orbock, 78, now lives just a block away from Towson High School, but she lived in Wiltondale when she was a freshman in 1949 when the school opened.

"I remember our principal, Horace Wheeler — we used to call him 'Pinkie' because he had such a red face — lived right next to the school," she said, "and nobody got away with anything.

"He called an assembly early on, and he was livid. He came on stage dragging two trash bags and made it clear it was our responsibility to keep the school grounds clean, and if we didn't, maybe he would send us up to Carver because they knew how to keep their school clean."

Carver School, the Towson high school for black students, had also opened that year.

Orbock was in the college prep course, but she played sports — field hockey, basketball and softball —so she mixed easily with the 312 or so kids that were there to get general, commercial, secretarial and vocational diplomas.

"No diploma was better than another, just different," she said.

There were only eight high schools in the county then. She remembers playing softball in a cow pasture in Sparks.

Towson drew students from the city line to Sparks, west to Milford Mill and Franklin and east to Kenwood. There were no school buses or MTA. Practices had to be over by 5 p.m. so kids could catch the same buses that adults took.

The kids that had to take a bus home were disadvantaged when it came to after-school activities. They couldn't belong to a sorority, like she did, or a fraternity. Those groups met at somebody's house after school, she said.

"We might have collected for needy children once in a while, but at the meetings we usually planned parties and discussed who we wanted to have in the sorority and who we didn't."

One of her favorite memories was the talent show, in which the sorority decided to perform the Can Can.

"We won and we got lots of applause," she said.

In the yearbook, Barbara Anderson wanted to become a gym teacher. But after graduating from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, she went into teaching.

"It has been very rewarding," she said. "I learned a lot more from those kids than they ever learned from me."

She has been married to Dave Orbock for 55 years and they have three children.

Cashmere was 'to be treasured'

Ruth Stinefelt Hale, 77, lives in Riderwood Hills now, but she lived in Cockeysville on a farm when she was a student at Towson High.

She was part of the artistic crowd. They decorated bulletin boards and did the back drops for school plays and the decorations for the dances.

"The best time were the formal dances when we decorated with 20 miles of crepe paper and got the chance to wear high heels and nylons and those big fluffy dresses," she said.