The following remarks were delivered by Dwight Miller after dinner at Whitney's Wild Oak Ranch:
Welcome. This has been a labor of love by the committee who’ve been on this since 2019 when we thought it was only two years in the future. To a person, the folks on that committee did not want me to make a big deal about their efforts. It would be easy for me to go overboard. But I speak for all of us, it has been a real joy and this journey has added value to our lives. I’d love to share the stories I”ve heard. Heartfelt and joyful. We’ve all come away from this with a great appreciation for our classmates.
One of the things I’d like to point out- while it is a big deal for everyone here to have carved out time in their life for this weekend’s events, it’s a much bigger commitment for people to make this trip from far away: the time, travel, lodging, all takes more effort than folks like me who only came from Fresno or closer. I’d like to recognize those who have:
Chela- Rome, Rome, Italy via Ecuador,
Pedro Avitua, Minot ND,
Robin Baxley Zook, Reading PA,
Richard Boles, Highfil AR,
Glenda Carter Estes, Ozark MO
Bob Dingler, Bulverde TX
Jim Freeburn, Fort Laramie Wy- had to turn around in Barstow due to illness- wishes
Joy Godfrey Armstrong, Richmond, TX
Pat Hunter Cullum, Reno, NV
Alan Kirk, Upstate, NY
Jo Phillips England, Vancouver, WA
Gerald Polmateer, Rathdrum ID,
Les Reese, Yuma, AZ
Judy Schmidt Landers, Box Elder, SD
Phyllis Radford McGlen, Helena MT
Gary Shrum, Gray TN
Lora Siler Rhinehart, Rogers AR
Janice Strable Cline,, Smyrna TN
Brad Wirht, Austin TX
And those from out of the area in Calif:
John Barlow, Sacramento
Carol Barnett Lantay, Elk Grove
Leigh Bentley, Magalia
David Bryan, Bakersfield
Janet Mangini, SF
Stuart Mangini, Walnut Creek
Frank Ortiz, Bakersfield
Ed Parraz, Modesto
Kathie Perry, Woodland
Dennis Pettyjohn, Lincoln
Stella Prudhomme, Redding
12. Sherry Robinson Turner, Angels Camp 13. Susan Sherer Rath, Brentwood
14. Pam Stanley, Atascadero
15. Mike Wood, Torrence
The DJ is Raul Avila from Hanford. He’s been responsible for all the background music so far and has done some work to prep for this group of old people who grew up during the golden age of music.
I used to think the time of my grandparents’ life was pretty amazing- I still do actually. All four were born in the 1890s. As children the first airplanes got off the ground. As elderly, they watched the moon landing. They were young enough to serve in WW1. Too old for WW2. Lived thru the roaring 20s and the depression of the ‘30s. The cold war with nuclear holocaust always a possibility. And more. A pretty wild lifetime when looked at from a macro view.
But consider for a moment what’s happened since the early ‘50s when all of us began life: civil rights conflicts, Korean war, all the race riots of the 60s, the assainations of the Kennedy’s, Malcolm X, Medger Evers, MLK, vietnam protests, Manson murders, Watergate, the ‘80s, ‘90s, 9/11, Iraq/Afghanstan, cultural/moral revolutions, The summer of 1967, the year my class entered high school, there were violent race riots in over 100 American cities. Vietnam was tearing the country apart.
14 US Presidents from Truman to Biden. 11 Governors from Earl Warren to Gavin Newsom.
I mentioned that the theme of this weekend is “stories.” We all have them and they’re all worth sharing. The stories I’ve heard are what have made this reunion journey so memorable for me. Allow me to share some of those thoughts:
From Diana Pierce’s, (EUHS ‘72), website, still living in Minneapolis, MN:
Stories define us. When we want someone to know us, and in turn, to know someone else, we share our stories. Given enough time in sharing, we might discover similar themes that connect us. We each want to have understanding and exchange of what is deeply true for us.
It’s my hope that when you see people sharing their story on “What’s Next? with Diana Pierce,” that you will reflect upon what's true for you and that it could possibly result in a changed life, big or small, in your story of What’s Next.
From Pam Stanley (EUHS ‘71):
“You know, I think so many of us were wonderful people back then, but there were so many new events going on, life lessons to learn and we didn't even know who we were... this is truly a wonderful time of life and the type of event we want our reunion to be is almost like a celebration of all of us and how we have been doing our best to make a life worth living. What a celebration to be part of!”
From Paula Brown Rindall, (EUHS ‘71) 2019:
Age gives us permission to speak freely and listen intently in ways that we couldn’t do in our youth. We are fermented with experiences and stories that we need to share with each other.”
I found some quotes online that seemed especially appropriate to share from Layne Longfellow at another fifty year high school reunion a few years ago:
You feel younger than everyone else feels
50 years from now this room will be filled with old people with tattoos
What were we doing before we all took a break for 50 years to have lives?
We were the Monarchs, going to classes at EUHS from math, English to PE and Science..
We were in high school from ‘66 to ‘72
Life a series of ups and downs
After 50 you get the face you deserve
After 60 you get the life you deserve - the one you chose
Life is a series of choices
If you’re really lucky or really good, you look back and you’d make the same ones.
If not so lucky you wish life was on a video recorder so you'd be able to hit the pause
button and rewind. But these decisions are after the ones you learn from the most.
Think back about that first huge decision you made good, bad for better or worse, that
shaped your life. That led you thru life, that made you who you are.
That brings you back to here- to us. We are the only people (outside of your family) that
knew you before you were a father, mother, when you didn’t have a profession or a
career- we were young vibrant and healthy
We knew each other before we were whatever it was we tried to become.
Thanks to all who made time to be here this weekend!