About this time, twenty years ago, students of the Class of 1994 were entering their senior year at Homestead High School.
On Saturday, August 2, 2014 these same classmates gathered to share memories of years gone by. Twenty years of memories. Teachers...the good, the bad and the ugly; students...the cute, the athletic and the nerds; and of course the shenanigans...
Members of the student government were at the Class Reunion: Aaron Leinker, Seth Barr, James Stanford, Matt Viars and Matt Musgrave.
All, also, coordinators of a hostage.
"Originally," said Aaron Leinker, "it was a hair-brained scheme."
Musgrave added, "We wondered...is it doable?"
"Could we lift it!? Is it movable?"
This group of young bucks said they talked for at least two weeks, about their hair-brained scheme of kidnapping Azar's Big Boy statue, which stands over 8-foot tall, and is very robust.
Then someone offered up a pickup truck.
"Ok, let's do it!" the high-spirited classmates said on August 24, 1993.
2am came around, then 3am. It was time to make the move.
Big Boy was going for a ride!
They loaded him into the pickup truck and took off. Afraid of getting caught, these 5 genius members of the student government threw a blanket over him and headed for a cornfield. There they hid the BIG boy!
Back then, News Sentinel writer Carol Tannehill described it best, "Azar's Restaurant cherubic mascot, Big Boy, was abducted from his concrete perch at 1010 Coliseum Blvd., North sometime before day break...Azar's employees called Fort Wayne police shortly after they noticed Big Boy was missing.
The victim is a pudgy plastic male about 40 years old, but he looks much younger. He is wearing-as always-a pair of red-white checked overalls, a white "Big Boy" t-shirt with blue trim, and clunky black shoes. He has dark hair, combed into a curl at the forehead."
The entire city of Fort Wayne waited...and waited, for clues or the return of the missing Big Boy.
At 7:30am one fall Monday morning, five days after his hostage incident, Big Boy reappeared on the 15-foot roof of Homestead High School wearing a sign that read, "Hello, I'm your new principal."
No one knew who took the 8-foot plus hamburger toting Big Boy.
Remembering the good times, Aaron Leinker said with a twinkle in his eye, " I wonder if Big Boy wants to come to our class reunion!"
He caught up with John Ferris from Azar's in Waynedale and, sure enough, Big Boy was on his way to his 20th year Class Reunion.
Homestead's High School Class of 1994 was greeted by Big Boy as they entered Parkview Field's reception hall.
Big Boy held a sign that read, "Welcome Class of 1994!"
Talking about the twenty years gone by, one of the classmates said, "Only difference I see are the highlites in Big Boy's hair. Just like us!"