Saturday, May 21, 2005

And now presenting, The Class of 1966

Grad picture
Originally uploaded by Brite Lights photos.
JAMESTOWN, N.Y. - Bob Swanson sent along this photo Saturday, part of a proposed cover for any program that might be produced for the reunion.

I faintly remember the photo being taken. And were our robes red?

Good God but that was a long time ago.

I do remember walking across a stage and some business about the tassel having to be shifted, even for a high school graduation. I still have that tassel, along with the ribbons I won in a handful of track meets. The tassel and the ribbons are all pretty tired-looking.

Since then, two college degrees later and 23 years of teaching at a university, I've seen graduations so many times it's all a blur.

One year I had to attend seven graduations in two days and speak at all seven as chair of the faculty at my university. I didn't go for the next seven years, figuring I had banked some time.

I ducked graduation today, even though it was only a mile from my back door. It was 90-plus degrees outside and with an outdoor graduation, the most interesting thing that was likely to happen was heatstroke.

In the last 24 hours or so, I added Randy Carlson, Jim Lindell and Allen Winger to the email list. Thanks to everyone who is keeping the email pipeline flowing.

And can anyone tell me how many people graduated in the Class of '66? I thought it was 180, but I count 169 faces in the yearbook.

All quite young faces, at least the ones where people didn't scribble right over their likenesses.

Reunion photo from the 20th Class of '66 soiree

The photo with this brief blog comes from Shirley Adams who is busy scanning and digitizing to some of her photos for the site.

Shirley, Thanks!

This morning I also received emails from Allan Winger (who I added to the email list) and Cathy Prince, who was Czarina Extraordinaire for the reunions we have had in the past.

She said that Randy Carlson and Jim Lindell are working on this one, too, and might have found a spot at least for a dinner.

More on that as developments, well, develop.

And in the meantime, doesn't have email addresses for Randy and Jim?

Friday, May 20, 2005

The story of Tom Priester, by Tom Priester

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. - I remember Tom Priester pretty well from high school, the T-shirts and the perpetual grin on his face. He did, after all, teach women's P.E. and had a lot to smile about. When I saw the film, Evolution, with David Duchovny and Orlando Jones, there is a coach character in that movie that might remind you of Tom. And even if not, it's a funny film.

But Tom's name popped up - and his email address is on our Class of '66 list - because somehow he found me and we've had a little email dialog. It turns out Tom was right here in Sacramento a year ago, at some hotshot track and field trials at my university, only a mile from my condo on the American River!

I should have recognized the tone of his whistle when I rode by the trials on my bicycle last June.

What follows is a brief email from Tom, updating what's he's been up to. And count on seeing him at our reunion next year. Sorry I don't have a recent photo of him, but more photos will be forthcoming pretty soon.


Sue Turner Priester (my wife) and I have lived on Orchard Rd. by WJTN (between Baker and Hunt) for 33 years and I've been retired for 7 years next month after 36 years teaching.

I'm still coaching (44 years in the fall) cross country. Have 2 children (grown up) and 6 grandchildren; 3 local and 3 in Greensboro, NC.

I help with the grand kids, and am on the Exec. Bd. of Joint Neighborhood Project, a non- profit help agency connected to our church on East 2nd St. in J'town, and this new SW Education Foundation. That is taking a lot of my time.

I'm in charge of contacting alumni. I have about 46 years of class reunion lists. Loving life. Still officiating track for high schools and USA like the trials.

God has blessed me with a lot friends and GREAT FORMER STUDENTS! Hope we can meet again.


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Three Class of '66 amigas & a roomie

NEW SMYNRA BEACH - The Class of '66 occasionally has it mini-reunions, like this one from February with Sue Guertin Chandler, Shirley Adams and Sharon Johnson Bondiello.

Shirley's college roommate, Joyce, is tucked in the photo, second from the left, in case you are actually counting and note that there are four folks in the photo.

From the right, Sue Guertin Chandler, Shirley Adams, Shirley's roommate from college (Joyce) and Sharon Johnson Bondiello. Shirley sent this photo yesterday and it worked very slick to put it up on the site.

Soooooooo..... Anyone else brave enough to put up current photo of themselves? If you are, send it along.

In the meantime, I'll try to find a really flattering - I mean a gritty, realistic, up-to-date - shot of me to post.

Great ideas while running in the rain

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - This morning as I ended my ordeal of running, 'Be True to Your School,' was ringing in my ears on my IPod, reminding me of zooming around Chautauqua Lake (Can you believe I can still spell it?) in my ski boat, a radio on the dashboard.

And then I thought: Karaoke! (Did I spell that right?)

My singing abilities are right there with Rod Stewart - when he has severe laryngitis - but I remember a lot of our classmates singing in the choir, and in the early years, Dalton Berringer accompanying on the piano.

One evening I went to downtown Jamestown wandering into the Jamestown Hotel and there was Mr. B. himself, at the piano, doing a little lounge act. That same year, he pulled me over on the lake - he was a Sheriff's Deputy during the summer to make some extra cash. Other teachers painted houses (Harry Robie for one.). We can all ask Tom Priester what other teachers did to make ends meet.

But a karaoke machine! And, maybe we can find Dana Bolles to put together a band again, like the one that he played in at Moon Brook Country Club (was that the prom or graduation?).

Think about and practice your scales.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Class of '66, out in the field for a photo

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. 1986 - The 20th reunion was notable for several things, not the least of which was the flood that almost wiped out the place where we were swilling drinks that first night.

Sue Guertin-Chandler and her husband Bill helped me get my rental car to dry ground as it almost floated away. Quite a night. Even Bob Fulcher made that party. And hell, we were all about 38 and not even 40 for chrissakes.

The next night's party - where the photo with this blog was taken - was a riot, too, though because I had been reading too much Norman Mailer, well, I believed that alcohol was the best spark for creative juices. It was a spark that night all right, but the spark started a fire in my brain that resulted in an epic headache the next morning.

I've since gotten over the Mailer thing. I'm moving into a Hunter S. Thompson phase.

(Just a joke! Just a joke!)

This photo comes courtesy of Lee Anderson, though I do have a copy of this shot sitting on the bulletin board right in front of me. But because my camera won't talk to this new computer, I'm kind of stalled the tracks for photos. But thanks to Lee, here it is.

I think we should start making lists of things we want for the 40th reunion: what music, what food, what national celebrity to do a stand-up comic routine the first night. (I want Jon Stewart or Donald Rumsfeld, they're both funny in their own way...)

And our theme song for the 40th reunion of the Southwestern Central High School Class of '66?

What else? 'Be True to Your School,' by the Beach Boys:

"When some loud braggart tries to put you down
and says his school his great,
I tell him right away
'Now what's the matter buddy
ain't you heard of my school,'s number one in the state'...

...So be true to your school...
Rah, rah sis boom-bah..."

Sunday, May 15, 2005

The 10th reunion - we were sooooo young!

JAMESTOWN, NEW YORK, 1976 - The reunion party in 1976 seemed like it was a long time from the day that we walked across the stage.

I missed it anyway, though I was in town. I didn't know about it! Merde!

Ten years out of high school seemed like an eternity, but looking at the photo with today's blog (provided by Lee Anderson), the faces don't look that much different from the yearbook.

Some of the guys are definitely sporting a lot more hair than at graduation (and beards, lots of beards) but we were young and the thought that we might ever be going to a, gasp, 40th high school reunion impossible.

Just before I sat down to write this, I had an newspaper buddy show up, a guy I worked with in Petaluma in the mid-1970s at the Petaluma Argus-Courier, a daily there that has since faded down to weekly and barely surviving. Our kids were about the same age and we both had a fondness for cheap red wine, the movie Casablanca, a young (and completely unavailable) female secretary at the local university - and writing stories that uncovered wrongdoing, especially on the part of sleaze-bag politicians. (Remember those guys Nixon and Agnew?)

The photo we took today of the two of us gives me glimpse of what the group shot will look like at our 40th high school reunion.

Mature is the description I prefer to put on the caption. My 7-year-old granddaughter says I'll never be mature but is kind enough not to add any of her own adjectives for what her granddad looks like with another almost-white-haired guy in the picture.

Mature, indeed. Mature.

She's right about one thing, I probably never will grow up anyway.