Saturday was one for the yearbooks as the Porterville Union High School (PUHS) classes of 1954 and 1969 hosted class reunions on Saturday.
It began with the Class of ‘54 at Colonial Community Homes banquet room Saturday afternoon to celebrate its 65 year reunion. Around 1 p.m., guests began arriving to sign in and get their name tags and memory books. More than 100 people came to reunite with their high school friends, and share memories and stories of their lives after high school.
Ethel Quiram, the chairperson for the reunion committee, greeted everyone with a smile. Quiram had put together the memory books, which featured military pages for class veterans for the first time. Quiram also included the pages from the class senior yearbook, marking classmates who have passed with a cross. The memory book also included a class roster, with names, phone numbers and addresses of their classmates for future use. There were also messages from classmates who couldn’t attend the reunion.
“Sending the 1954 classmates my very best on our 65th reunion,” wrote Marilyn Bessey Jacobs. “I’m sad that I will have to miss the celebration. I’m still able to enjoy my wonderful family and friends, and at this age, that is a blessing. Have a great time reconnecting.”
The Master of Ceremonies, John Doyel, entertained his classmates with some funny jokes, before they ate lunch, which was catered by Pam Lambott and her mother Joyce Jared and a team of women. A beautifully crafted cake, created by Stacie Childers, the owner of Butterdream Bakery, lingered in the back of the room in bright orange and green.
“This is our last big roundup,” said Quiram. “It’s a big task and we’ve been very lucky this time.”
But the Class of ‘54 wasn’t the only class celebrating a milestone year for reunions. At Nuckols Ranch, the PUHS Class of 1969 was celebrating its 50th year reunion, where more than 120 classmates gathered to enjoy the night together.
As the evening began to set, classmates and their spouses lined up at the check-in booths to get their name tags. Appetizers and drinks were readily available, and social hour was well underway. Displays had been set up around the lawn for people to visit. A banner displaying the names of “Panthers At Rest” was attached to a fence, and a long table of yearbooks drew people in. Memories were shared, and guests were ushered into the dining tent around 6:30 p.m.
Gloria Dee Patterson Sams acted as the Master of Ceremonies for the reunion and she prayed over those in attendance. She then stated several people had driven miles and miles to be there, and listed different cities, states and even countries, to which guests stood when they heard the location that corresponded with them. A minister had traveled all the way from China to attend, and the class foreign exchange student made his way back from Switzerland to reunite with his classmates.
Sams introduced Cheryll Webb Ferris Bouzek, the Reunion Committee’s chairperson, who would have hosted the ceremony, but recently underwent surgery and was unable to host the event. Sams then introduced Steve Tyrrell, the 1969 Student Body President, who gave a quick speech before dinner was served.
“Tonight is a night to reflect and remember,” said Tyrrell. “We need to sit back and reflect on the fact that we spent four great years together. It prepared us for the path our lives took and I think all of us should be very proud of the fact the we’re here tonight. We’ve accomplished great things.”
After dinner was served and enjoyed, guests resumed socializing with their longtime friends, and danced the night away to the music of The Long Riders.