The Cedars Golf Club
August 27, 1999
This reunion activity generated a ton of fun for participants—so much so that the committee has decided not to wait another five years to get together for a round of golf with friends. In fact, there are plans to make this an annual event for '74 grads. Even novices can get through the course with a little bit of help from their partners in a game of scramble, so don't let inexperience keep you from playing next year. Reunion Committee Chair Randy Stuart is on tap again for the 2000 Golf and Grad Night event. Look out new millennium, here we come!
Night of the Tigers — Grad Night
Grad night has got to be the most fun of all. Watching kids (okay, so they're old kids) walk through the door that a person hasn't seen in 5 years or maybe 25 years is incredible. Sometimes it's easy to put the name with the face, and sometimes—well, let's just say it's good we all wear name tags. Some were mistaken for other grads, and some were mistaken for T.V. personalities. While Randy Stuart and Dean Patterson were trying to figure who just walked through the front doors during their shift at the reception counter, Gary Winters piped up with "Hey Dwight (Finch), you look just like the Skipper on Gilligan's Island!" (Being the good-natured fellow he is, the smile never left Dwight's face, as you can see by the grad night photos.) But no matter who it was behind the mystery face, friendships were renewed and the night was full of good stories and laughter.
Post reunion fun includes a hunting trip adventure when Randy Stuart and Dean Patterson visited Dwight Finch at his home in Naselle, Washington. Both Randy and Dean reported having a great time continuing their reunion conversations with Dwight. Watch your backyards, though. It appears these three will go to great lengths to nab anything with antlers.
Are wedding bells ringing in your family? One fun little tidbit involves the daughter of Ken Ritter and Peggy (Eccleston) Ritter (Amy) who was married this last year to Judy (Morris) Williams and hubby Dennis' son Shawn. And it doesn't end there . . . Seems that Ken and Peggy's son Nick has been dating Jeff Weber's daugther Jaime for the past three years. The parents, including Jeff's wife Sandy (Moody) Weber, Class of '75, are patiently (NOT) waiting for them to make a lifelong commitment. Someone jokingly questioned these marriages of children from the Class of '74—"Gee, could you consider that inbreeding?"
Some conversations on grad night led to grandma and grandpa stories. Yes, some of us are there already. For example, Kay Penn (Danna [Nelson] Freeman comments, "Isn't it hard to believe Kay as a grandma! My grandmas never looked like that!!"), who seems to be enjoying grandparenting, takes her little granddaughter one night most weekends. Danna added, "Wouldn't I love that kind of help!!" Danna's boys are just now three and six years old. Other doting grandparents, some who didn't make the reunion festivities but shared info for the memory pages, are Bev Becker, Mary (Huffstutler) Cogdill (who brought her grandson Aidan to the picnic on Sunday) and David Woodard.
Danna reminisced with Steve Syverson about one of those classmates that we've lost over the years: Steve Irwin. It's nice to share fond memories of friends we knew so well. On a lighter note, Danna had a conversation, as well, with Jeff Ellertson. It seems that Spin the Bottle was on their list of fun things to do when they were younger. There were reports that Bob Layko may have passed out more business cards to the women than the men on Friday night. Are we surprised? Post reunion stories include what has been referred to as "Layko sightings" as grads have spotted Bob at a variety of activities throughout Clark County. Bob was one of those who proved not to be shy during the grad night festivities. And who could possibly forget Mike Gammelgard's custom photo on his name tag? It was a graduation picture like you've never seen before!
Put Tom Johansen, Ken Ritter and Jeff Ellertson together and the hot-car stories could go on all night. I hope Ken and Peggy's kids don't learn about the lime green "'Cuda" escapade anytime soon. A hundred and what, Ken? How we survived those years is anyone's wonder.
Most of our children have grown and many are out on their own already. Rhonda (Franklin) Taylor's oldest son is doing mission work at the Independence Missouri Mission. Her next oldest will follow his brother's lead with mission work of his own this fall. Debbie (Camp) Fisher's daughter is serving in the Army in Germany. She and husband Larry (Class of '73) are planning a trip there next year. Many grads whose kids are in college are probably feeling the effects of tuition being sucked from their wallets. Now that's an empty feeling in more ways than one! First the kids—then the cash. You can ask Randy McNeal or Dean Patterson what that feels like.
We learned that grads who have moved into town from the country, like Lorraine (Pierce/Faley) Garibbo and Audrey (Baker) Courser, are not about to move back. Although we didn't see Danita (Stephens) Waldal until Saturday night, we learned that if you want a great cup of java and a good short conversation, you can drop by her Pump House Espresso on 78th and St. Johns in Vancouver. She's always serving with a smile.
We were saddened to hear that Paula (Bohannon) Wolfenbarger has discovered recently that she is suffering the effects of MS. Paula joined us at both the grad night and the dinner event on Saturday. She looks great and was doing remarkably well. She acknowledges that she has her good days and her bad days. Remember her in your prayers.
The kids from Amboy had a good turnout. They gathered for a group photo before the evening was over. Of course, we all gathered for the class photo. Thanks to Randy Stuart, we were able to pull that one off again. It's always a nice remembrance of a truly enjoyable evening. The only sad thing is that more of our grads weren't in it.
It seems the Washington State Gambling Commission is investigating the reunion raffle, which was conducted during grad night. The prize was an overnight stay at the Embassy Suites, the location for Night of the Tigers II. It appears that one ticket too many was given to Melodie (Spiva) Jones when she purchased her lot. Being the honest soul that she is, Melodie acknowledged the error and handed back the last ticket she received only to have it passed on to Carl Savage. You can imagine their surprise when that very ticket was drawn. There was some discussion (or "threats" might be a better word) about sharing the room for the night. Melodie was still giving Carl a hard time at dinner on Saturday night, but the smile on her face confirmed what was just good-natured ribbing.
When the reunion get-together started winding down at The Cedars (they're used to closing things up there just after dusk), the grads continued the party at the Prairie Bar & Grill (formerly the Prairie Tavern). They probably remembered us from the last reunion. Surprisingly enough, they didn't lock the doors before we got there. Thanks to Dawn Julian-Boyd (and a very generous hubby), members of the Reunion Committee enjoyed a leisurely ride to the hot spot in a sleek, black limo. Reports are that it took the group so long to figure out how to change the CD that they had to take the long route to the Bar & Grill (and, yes, these are educated people!).
The live music lured people to the dance floor.
Grads who hung around until the party was over had the incredible good
fortune to hear Mike Gammelgard
and Gary Winters perform on stage. Mike sang a blues number
while Gary accompanied him on the bass guitar. They were great!
We've got enough talent in our class to put together a band for the 30-year
reunion. Others? Dennis Fleming,
Terry Hill, Toby Tobias, Lucky Turpeinen and Robyn
(Wyche) Ortega are just a few that come to mind. What do you
think, guys? A reunion band would be a real treat for us all.
Night of the Tigers II — Dinner
Life of the Party
The Embassy Suites turned out to be an ideal place for the dinner event and overnight stay. Many arrived early on Saturday. Some out-of-towners even checked in the day before. A number of grads (at least 12 or 13) ended up taking advantage of the group rate the hotel provided, so we had a mini-reunion of sorts during the 5-7 p.m. complimentary happy hour prior to the actual event. Danna (Nelson) Freeman noted that Carl Savage, even after all these years, could spot a grad entering the lobby from 40 yards away. Danna also shared that Loren joined their table and kept them laughing for an hour: "He gets my vote for 'life of the party' too. My gosh, that guy is funny! If I'd known how amusing he was, I just might have tried taking more classes related to calculus, debate, etc., etc., in high school (yeah, right . . .)."
Thanks to the decorative touch provided by Debbie (Camp) Fisher, the room had a special elegance that provided an ideal atmosphere for long conversations with old friends (no particular emphasis on the word "old"). The hotel staff provided us with a delicious array of culinary delights before grads hit the dance floor for the night. Country and slow dance tunes were the most popular—that is, until the line dancing began. Nothing gets the gals on their feet like the Macarena. Carl Savage and Dean Patterson stepped up to the mic as our emcees for the evening, and we were honored to have retired Principal Bill Wiggins as our guest. He was talked into sharing the tale of how he, a Battle Ground grad himself, began his 30-year career at BGHS. Seems he interviewed for a near-vacant position at the suggestion of the exiting faculty member, and three weeks later he was called with the news that the job was his. All he had to do was "come in and fill out the paperwork." Guess they knew quality when it looked them in the eye! As expressed by one grad, "He sure has a memory for names, faces and events! It was a pleasure having him there."
Retiring to our rooms in the hotel was a luxury which worked out especially nice for those coming in from out of town. Several of us met up for breakfast in the morning after waking to a blustery, gray day. Which brings us to the picnic . . .
Tiger Play — Picnic
First Annual Bee Bash
And speaking of savage . . . Post-reunion news revealed that Carl Savage was the target of fellow-bee anger as the little buzzers saw their kin folk dropping like flies—heaven forbid! Sorry you had to take the brunt of the daredevil antics, Carl. Hope you had that bee-sting kit in your car, Steve.
Other picnic-goers Fred and Wade Boyd, Dawn (Julian) Boyd's husband and son, played a more traditional game of catch while Dawn was doing a little catching up of her own with high school friends. As always, the playground equipment and trips to the river were popular activities for the younger set that arrived with both Amy (Siemer) Steinbock and Mary (Hufstutler) Cogdill.
When looking through the '74 yearbook, Dave Evans commented on his Bee Gees style haircut and, with a laugh, noted that it still looks the same. Mark Marler and family also arrived to take part in the activities. Roberta (Strong) Rasmussen, Connie (Siemssen) Huse, Sharon McRae and Gary Smith spent the afternoon, as well, chatting with old friends. Although the weather was cool, the conversations warmed us all—inside and out.
The majority of us seem to have passed the picnic years some time ago. As our kids have all grown, an interest in the swings and slides has diminished. It appears this may have been the last of the picnics for awhile. But then again, there are always grandchildren!
The Reunion Committee extends a special thank you to each and every grad who participated in the weekend activities, especially those who traveled a great distant to join us. While our numbers were down from previous years, the amount of fun we have at these get-togethers always exceeds our expectations. For those of you who couldn't make it this year—WE MISSED YOU! It's nice to know that the Class of '74 enjoys everyone's company. Even the staff at The Cedars noticed that when they commented on what a friendly group we had: "Everyone was talking to everyone. We don't generally see that at most of these events."
So, let's keep in touch.
As more of our classmates come online, let them know that the BGHS Class
of '74 site is still out there. Tell them to send in their e-mail
addresses so we can keep track of them over the years. We hope you'll
take a moment tell us your personal stories about the reunion weekend
with old friends. Let's get those memories on paper and online before
we're too old to remember them.
E-mail your stories or comments about the reunion weekend to Candi (Noorlun) Ehrich and remember to complete the evaluation form to give us your input about the next reunion get-together. Reserve for Class of '74 reunions.