By Dale Larabee | SDUN Columnist
I may be a cynic, but the best high school reunions I attended are the ones where I didn’t show. I graduated more than 50 years ago; I have missed a few gatherings.
Three energetic, enthusiastic women are leading the 50th reunion of Hoover High School, class of 1963. Chair Gayle Shepley, recruiter Margo Kasch and Davene “I do what no one else wants to do” Gibson have a ball just talking about the event, to be held Oct. 4 and 5.
They must have loved high school. Imagine the trouble they got into during study hall.
I thumbed through their class yearbook and saw only a smattering of color – 835 mostly white kids made up the class of ‘63 – so much so that it looked like my own Ohio high.
The three ladies have contacted over 500 grads: 250 said yes and anted up the $96.63 deposit requested. Gibson said each 63 cents collected goes directly to Hoover.
“We collected $63 for years, but prices keep going up,” Shepley said.
Only 125 classmates have died and another 200 can’t be found, so the ladies and their committee have done quite well. Kasch said the graduates who moved away are sometimes more interested in attending than the locals.
“Classmates.com and Facebook helped us find some missing people, but really I found most by phone calls,” she said. “My husband says I can spend 30 minutes talking to a complete stranger.”
The reunion will be held at the Lafayette Hotel on El Cajon Boulevard. It’s is a pretty classy place at 65 years old, and features the famous Weissmuller Pool named after Olympian and actor Johnny Weissmuller, our first “Tarzan the Ape Man.”
English Channel swimmer Florence Chadwick trained in the pool, informing the owners it was an inch short. It was. A few of the 1963 boys took swimming lessons in the pool and sneaked off for “peep shows” they bragged, whatever those were.
Some facts I learned from the charming reunion planners: many of their classmates served but none died in Vietnam. Thirty-two couples soon married after graduation, and eight are still hitched.
While many graduates had accomplished careers in everything from poetry to science; no one “famous” graduated in 1963 except Lyman Spurlock, later linked to California’s Church of Spiritual Technology – Scientology. I didn’t see what activities he was in during high school.
Teachers Mr. Prokop and Tarvin will attend, and Kasch said they were both liked. She also said she will wear a silver pin given to her at graduation by Marianne Karanikou, a Greek exchange student who promised to come to their 50th by telling Kasch to wear the pin as a way to identify each other.
I left our chat thinking the class of ‘63 was going to have a good time at the Lafayette: meeting and greeting and dining and dancing. If Spurlock shows up, they might want to tell him to beat feet, for according to the internet, a few people are looking for him – and not for a nice reunion.
—Dale Larabee is a 40-year resident of Kensington, who is an occasional writer for local newspapers.