Smiles and reminiscing were common themes on June 9, 10 and 11, as over 140 guests attended Yucaipa High School’s class of 1967 reunion at the Fascination Ranch in Calimesa. Classmates from as far away as Pennsylvania, Alabama, Utah and Washington, in addition to local residents, attended.
The committee organized seven major reunions and 19 mini-reunions over the years.
“We were referred to as the party group,” laughed reunion committee member Larry Turner, who hosted the committee meetings. “We’ve had a wonderful time just being together and it’s been a blessing to be part of it.”
The reunion committee of about a dozen graduates from 1967 gathered at Turner’s Carpets on a monthly basis for over a year to organize the reunion.
“We have had so much fun getting together and doing this,” said Turner.
The class of ’67 has 227 members; 38 are deceased and 30 have not been found.
Committee member Jo Ellen Sutt thanked Bill and Jackie Davis for hosting the event.
“They welcomed the group to camp out for three days, gave us a fine meal for the main event and seem to genuinely enjoy joining the party themselves,” Sutt said.
Tom Billman missed the yearbook signing in 1967, so he brought his pristine, unsigned 1967 high school yearbook (also known as an annual) to the 50th year reunion to have his classmates autograph it.
Mary Jane Mann was nine months pregnant on graduation day. She did not walk, but was there and received her diploma. Just two days after graduation, her son Aaron was born. Fast-forward 50 years later - Mary Jane and Aaron attended the 50th high school reunion at Fascination Ranch together. Mary Jane happily reported her son went on to graduate California State University Fullerton and became an Emmy-award winner.
Marion Arnett was a school board trustee who gave out diplomas at the 1967 graduation. And at the young age of 94, he attended the reunion.
Other fun events at the reunion included the 50/50 raffle of a 1967 bottle of Canadian Club whiskey, donated by Turner. Coincidentally, Mann won the prize and then gifted it to the bar for everyone to enjoy.
Classmates had some stories to tell and retell.
Senior Ditch day was held at Corona Del Mar and the memories are vivid, 50 years later.
Committee member Allen O’Neil said he defied the rules on senior ditch day, which required all students to ride the bus to the beach. He showed up in his own car and flaunted it to the faculty.
He was suspended but allowed to join his class for graduation.
Others remembered graduation ceremonies being held at the Redlands Bowl.
Favorite teacher lists went on for days. However, some that really stood out to committee members included Howard Newmann (who attended the reunion), Ed Sotello, Coach Kent Hayden, Mitzi Blick-Merrill, Gwen Marino and Vince Magana.
O’Neil said school and graduation was much different back then. “The night we graduated, we turned in our caps and gowns and then loaded the bus for Disneyland,” he said. It was great.”
High school sweethearts Charles and Cheryl Wolfe also attended the reunion.
When Charlie first saw Cheryl in their sophomore year of high school, he thought, “That’s the girl I’m going to marry.” And he did, one year after graduation.
Word on the street is that the committee is already planning the next big reunion.