August 17-19th – Medford, Oregon
This is a bit of self-indulgence on my part, as text and the pictures in this post will be of strangers to you unless you were in my high school class in Medford Oregon.
It is quite hard for me to belief that 50 years has passed since I, along with over 600 other students, graduated from high school together.
When growing up here in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Medford was a relatively small town. The Rogue River Valley was known for our pear crops (Harry and David) and lumber industry. We also had a pretty darn good football team – GO BLACK TORNADOS!!
As the population grew, it became clear that we needed a second high school in town. Not wanting to split up our winning athletic teams to make our boys compete against each other, those in power decided to reconfigure our schools so that we had 1-6 in several grade schools, 7-8 grade in our two junior highs, 9-10th in what was our “old” high school and 11-12th grade was at the “new” high school.
The class of 1968 was the first graduating class from the “new” high school, now known as North Medford. We have a bit of pride in being the “first”, and have bounded together to provide scholarships each year to graduating students who are following in our footsteps.
The reunion committee really outdid themselves in creating a memorable weekend for all of us who were fortunate enough to attend. My hat goes off to them for the HUGE amount of time, work, love and effort that they put into planning everything. I will not list all of them by name, except that I do want to give a special shout out to Becky Adams (Becca Webber) who somehow managed to corral everyone and pulled this all off like a pro.
Well done and thank you to ALL of the committee members!
Our events started on Friday evening with an informal get-together at the high school cafeteria. Badges were provided at check-in that included our high school picture. Thank goodness for the name badges! I don’t know about anyone else, but I was nervous as to how many of my high school friends I would recognize.
Thankfully, other than a few awkward moments where I drew a blank, the many years since we had seen each other drifted away. Many, many warm hugs and wonderful happy memories were shared.
A buffet style light dinner was served, followed by a tour of the school.
Pictures from Friday night:
Saturday morning golf had been arranged at a local course. Tim had not held a golf club in somewhere in the neighborhood of 32 years. Thankfully Cheryl and Karen have very understanding spouses with a good sense of humor. They welcomed Tim into their group and tales were shared afterwards amidst much laughter.
While the guys were on the golf course, we girls ran some errands and then joined some of our classmates at Abbey’s Pizza which had been a popular hang out when we were kids.
The big shindig was that evening where we congregated at the Rogue Valley Country Club. Cocktail hour, silent auction and of course much more visiting and reminiscing followed before our dinner.
Pictures from Saturday Evening:
The evening was topped off with a live auction where all funds went toward the scholarship fund. We had some very talented artists in our class and paintings by both Kay Breeden Driver and Cheryl Erickson Scott were donated for the auction as well as a work from Paris, a fabulous framed photograph and another painting that was done by (I think) a classmates father.
Tim and I were hopeful that we would be able to outbid others and walk away with one of Cheryl’s paintings and YIPPEE we were indeed able to do just that.
This beautiful painting of the Rogue River will have a prominent place in our cabin and will bring back such wonderful memories each time we look at it.
One of our classmates (Greg Middlekauff) very generously offered to match all donations!
Sunday morning was our last get-together with a brunch served at the hotel where many of the out-of-town guests stayed. Originally we were scheduled to gather on the patio, but due to poor air quality from the smoke of nearby fires we were moved inside.
Pictures from Sunday Brunch:
A couple special moments that stood out for me was seeing Terry Scroggin who reminded me of the three legged race we were in together in 10th grade. One of our classmates made a collage and there happened to be a picture of that event, so we with much joy and laughter tried to recreate the moment:
And when Jon Hudson came up to me and let me know that he had prayed for me “every single day” since learning I had a brain tumor almost eight years ago. I was left speechless and grateful beyond measure…
We celebrated Creigh House with a group kazoo sing-a-long rendition of Happy Birthday. About half way through the song, Leslie Manion was kind enough to help me out by gently turning my kazoo around. I had the wrong end in my mouth, LOL.
To all of our classmates who joined us, I am so happy that we had a chance to say hello, sometimes share a memory or two, or a hug, or a laugh. I’m so sorry that I did not get photos of many of you. Somehow the time slipped away, and I missed capturing you.
To our classmates who were not able to be there, whether restricted due to health, distance, finances or other commitments, please know that you are not forgotten and many, many times I heard people say “Is ___ coming, or does anyone know where ____ lives now, or has anyone heard from or seen ______.”
You were missed!
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for the many classmates who made the journey to Medford for our 50th class reunion. You are a part of my history as I am a part of yours. I have no idea what the future holds for any of us, but I am forever thankful that I was able to share a few moments with each of you.
COMING NEXT: We are in the RV and plan on continuing up north into Idaho and parts of Montana. Would love to have you tag along…
Although I definitely didn’t graduate from high school in Medford, Oregon, this IS my 55th year of graduating from high school on the other coast, Walt Whitman HS in South Huntington, NY. And my brother graduated the same year you did. So, in fact, since the memories and time of life are very similar, I really enjoyed this vicarious trip down memory lane! Thank you!! 🙂
Jane, you have a five year head start on me, but I’m guessing that there would be many similarities. Did you attend your most recent reunion? I know at one point I was a little on the fence about attending, but so glad I did.
Yes, I think there are many similarities, for sure, Joanne. I haven’t gone to mine, but the hard-working organizing committee for our 50th put together a book of short summaries of everyone’s life since 1963, and that was amazing to experience in its own right. Those are formative times in our lives!
What a fantastic idea doing a book. We have a website for everyone in our class to update their info but many have never participated.
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What fun! I went to my 40 h.s. reunion some years ago and it was so much fun. My husband went along to the 45 and it was even better. 🙂
Janet, I agree that it was much more fun having my husband with me. Tim was SUCH a great sport and often the photographer allowing me to be in some of the pictures with my friends from long ago. It would not have been near as enjoyable without him to share it with.
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Nothing wrong with a moment of self-indulgence now and then. Looks like great fun.
Thank you for understanding and YES, it turned out to be great fun.
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Great account of the reunion Joanne. I’ve been to every one but this one. At least I was there at this one via live streaming. Great photos too. Have fun on your trip to Idaho and Montana.
Thanks Mike! I was delighted that you could join in online to see at least part of the festivities.
Yes, it was pretty special.
So much fun!! Glad you had a good time. I had mine a few years ago as well. Some people looked awesome, like yourself and others you could tell had not lived well. Was yours a big class?
We had over 600 in our class, which seems huge compared to the 32 people Tim had in his class.
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I agree. I had a large class as well.
My fiftieth reunion is occurring at the end of this month for Council Idaho! However since the mill shut down and logging is at a minimum, we are holding the reuinion in McCall as the hotel and motel are no more in Council. Still a nice place as it has several large ranches to support it, but the heyday is gone that was the reality when I was in school! I really enjoyed your pics and story, as it reminded me of so many things. We also had an undefeated football team. We played Oregon and Northern Idaho for what was called the Mythical Eight Man Championship and won, so pretty memorable senior year as I was one of the captains. Yes, I said eight-man, small school. I am glad you had such a good time! I have always been a fan of your blogs as I have mentioned before!
John, I love the “Mythical Eight Man Championship”! I think our school outnumbered yours a bit 😁 Are you planning on attending? I was hesitant at first regarding attending mine, but knew I would have regrets if I did not go. I’m so glad I did.
Looks like ya’ll were having a great time. My 50th will be in 5 more years.
You youngster you 😁 Where will your reunion be?
I was thinking crazy thoughts that, amazingly, there would be none of your scenery pictures at a school reunion “What?!” … then the picture of the Rogue River painting appeared.
Ahhh normalcy has returned and everything is right in the world.
HaHa Peter, so glad we did not disappoint you and not have at least SOMETHING nature related 😁
Wow. That’s amazing! Congratulations.
This afternoon I was having some trouble logging into the website for the Class of 68. I searched for the class of 1968 online and I was surprised your blog came up on top.
Your description of the reunion was spot on. I think everyone had a good time and it was decidedly low key–probably because everyone was in their sixties.
I very much enjoyed seeing you there and meeting Tim.
We are heading to our winter home in Sedona, AZ next week. We will be staying with Jon Hudson in Bozeman as we migrate south. I will mention your blog to him.
All the best and safe travels,
John, how nice to hear from you! I’m glad that you stumbled upon my blog, even if not intentionally. Hard to believe another year has come and gone already. I’m sure you are looking forward to wintering in Sedona. That is such an amazing, beautiful and special place. Please give my best regards to Jon. His comments to me at the reunion regarding praying for my health have stayed with me and moved me deeply. Our travels have been curtailed for the rest of this year as Tim keeps himself busy helping our son grow his business. But come late January, we will be off on another adventure. Hugs and best wishes, JJ
I enjoyed reading your blog! Disappointed I wasn’t able to make it to the reunion. Admittedly I’ve lost touch with most people from Medford despite continuing connections through my architecture career with my firm having designed the new South Medford High and a large addition to the Rogue Valley Medical Center. I’m now retired and I’ve just moved back to Oregon (Bend) and look forward to reconnecting with you and some of our other classmates. Thanks again for your wonderful post on the reunion. I hope to you hear from you soon!
Mike, what a wonderful surprise. How nice to hear from you! The reunion was memorable and of course a landmark one. It sounds like you have had a successful career. Retirement is great though isn’t it?