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ST. MARYS — A group St. Marys lovers gathered at a shelter house on Grand Lake St. Marys Saturday afternoon to meet and mingle about the history of the town they all had lived in at one point.
Two months ago, Gary Gibson created the Facebook group “If you grew up in St. Marys, you remember…”. The group was created after a discussion between Gibson and fellow member Kim Wiehe-Kaylor.
“We had a conversation about how St. Marys used to be uptown,” Gibson said, noting that the conversation sparked the idea to create a Facebook group.
Wiehe-Kaylor noted that Gibson had been exposed to a similar group on Facebook.
“When he and I were discussing, he was familiar with another group like this,” she said.
Gibson said the group provides a platform for people to discuss St. Marys and their memories of the town.
“It’s just a group that people get online and post things about St. Marys,” he said.
“A lot of people post pictures and some post questions. It’s about old memories.”
The group grew quickly.
“The next morning I woke up and it had 200 members,” Gibson said. “Now we have a little over 1,500.”
The members, Gibson noted, do not all currently reside in St. Marys.
“We’ve got members from all over the country and even a soldier in Afghanistan,” he said. “People that don’t live here anymore but grew up here have been able to connect and talk about old times.”
Gibson said he has learned a lot from discussions with members of the group.
“There’s a lot of stuff that’s been posted that I didn’t know about,” Gibson said. “Like uptown there used to be two theaters and a bowling alley.”
After some time discussing through Facebook, Gibson thought getting together and meeting everyone in person would be fun. He organized a meeting at the shelter house for all who could attend. Members brought food and games and prepared for an afternoon of reminiscing.
“A lot of us really didn’t know each other, but through talking back and forth through Facebook, we feel like we do,” Gibson said. “That was one of the reasons we had this.”
Wiehe-Kaylor noted that she enjoyed getting to meet people in person.
“It’s nice to put names with faces,” she said.
The group also had T-shirts made.
“They have a picture of the old high school on the front and a picture of St. Marys in the 50s on the back,” Gibson said, noting that both pictures were posted on the Facebook page.
Gibson said he hopes the group can meet again in the future and noted that they have talked about setting up a booth at SummerFest. He said he has enjoyed how people have gotten involved in the group.
“The best part has been getting to know all the people that have joined it and how it’s taken off,” he said.