If anyone embraced their high school years it was Shelly Durand (Class of 1972) and Duff Hay (Class of 1971) — and they have been embracing each other for the past 50 years.
“My husband, Duff Hay and I were high school sweethearts, meeting in the summer of 1969,” Shelly said. “We went together all through high school and married Aug. 1, 1975, We celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary on Aug. 1. We have been together 50 years. So hard to believe. We have three married children and seven grandchildren.
“I was a Fenton high cheerleader and the 1972 Homecoming Queen, and he was captain of the football team,” she said. “We have a lot of wonderful Fenton High School memories.”
“In those days, you didn’t have texting, so we would exchange actual love notes in between classes,” Shelly said.
Duff and Shelly were very active during their Fenton High School years, participating in Student Council, baseball, softball, cheerleading, wrestling, plays and more.
“One of my fondest memories of my high school years was being voted Homecoming Queen,” Shelly said. “That was such a surprise and such a joy. I loved all my many friendships that were made and still are kept up today. People say to enjoy your high school years because they just fly by. That is so true. I can’t believe our new high school is going to be 50 years old.”
The couple moved to Illinois after Duff graduated from MSU because there were no jobs available at the time in the Fenton area, Shelly said.
“The auto industry was way down and he found a job working as a mechanical engineer at Amoco Research Center in Naperville, Illinois,” Shelly said. “So we loaded up and moved out of state, knowing no one. We missed
the lake growing up in Fenton, so we ended up moving to Lake Holiday in Sandwich, Illinois.
“We always meant to move back to Michigan, but once our children got in school, formed friendships, sports, etc., we found ourselves in Sandwich now for 40 years,” she said. “I was a stay-at-home mom, but I also worked from home for many years with our home business. Duff invented the ‘stowaway hold away.’ It is a mooring device that holds your boat away from the dock. We built them in our garage a family business. It kept us busy.”
Three generations of FHS sweethearts
Duff and Shelly are, in fact, third generation of Fenton High School sweethearts. Shelly’s dad, Jerry (Meatball) Durand graduated in 1942. Her mother, Joyce (Sewell) Durand graduated in 1943.
Duff’s father, Sydney C. Hay, Jr. graduated in 1942, and his mother, Mary (Mitchell) Hay also graduated in 1942.
Duff’s grandfather, Sidney C. Hay, Sr., graduated with the FHS Class of 1911. His grandmother, Josephine (Fuller) Hay graduated in 1912.