People Out Loud: Cherished memories – Eager for new ones

July 2015 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

DixonBy Dixon Bledsoe

At least five readers will not believe this, but my 45th reunion from Silverton High School is coming up next month.  I know – I barely look 61 much less 62.

The time has flown since the class of 1970 left the hallowed halls of then-Silverton Union High School.

We had a good class.

In fact, so good that a few industrious members of my peers took it upon themselves to make a billboard much snappier than some Madison Avenue marketing genius did. For those of you who remember the liquid magic called Heidelberg beer, their boring sign read, “Promises To Be Good. In writing.”

Our classmates thought it was missing something, so in the space between the two sentences, they added “Class of ‘70.” It made the papers, perhaps not in a good way but that is beer under the bridge.

We inherited another class of 1970 and their younger minions from Kennedy High School in Mount Angel. Looking back to that time, 1969-70 to be exact, what a tough time it must have been for those kids to leave the familiarity and comfort of their smaller, private Catholic school for the “urban” and much larger Silverton Union High School.

Think of it. You were often the lead actress/singer in the school musical, or the starting shortstop on a small school powerhouse baseball team. Top dog, head cheerleader, A/V stud muffin, budding valedictorian, or the president-elect of the science club.

Then you have to compete and be absorbed into a class of 250 other kids and their cliques. Most made lemonade out of the lemon they were served up. From a personal perspective, I would like to invite you all to our 45th reunion.

We have bonds, even if we didn’t always know it or show it. It’s different now. We have gone our separate ways on to hopefully bigger and better things outside the trauma of high school. But we have way more in common than differences.

We can all draw Social Security now if we want to or get into the Palace Theater with the senior discount.

We know about those cones that A&W Root Beer were served in, and just how many cute girls worked at Dairy Peak. We put our young hands into ice cold green bean vines to earn a buck or two, and were damn proud of our first check from hauling hay.

We know it is really “Safeway Hill” and not “Danger Hill” just because the sign says, “Danger, hill.”

We knew pretty much every word to every Beatles song, especially the “nah nah nah, nah nah nah” chorus in Hey Jude, as clever a lyric as was ever written.

We sought Satisfaction from The Stones, and looked for This Magic Moment with our friends plus Jay and the Americans.  The boys all dreamed of Van Morrison’s Brown-Eyed Girl and what happened in the green grass behind the stadium and the girls knew the Dave Clark Five was singing Because to them personally.

We knew about the war in Vietnam but were sheltered safely away even as the ravages of war took its toll on a generation and changed us forever.

We saw Neil Armstrong and 250 million beating hearts land on the moon, a charismatic president die, and an African American win an Oscar for the first time ever for his leading role in Lilies of the Field.

In 1967, Sidney Poitier became the most popular actor with three huge movies, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, To Sir With Love, and In the Heat of the Night.

We thought race relations had finally turned the corner for the better with the Civil Rights movement, only to see racism rear its ugly head in our 63rd year on this big blue marble.

We are forever connected,  even though we didn’t always make an effort to say “hi” in the hallway or invite you to an impromptu “gathering” on Snake Hill.

Regardless of whether your zip code was 97381 or 97362, we are the Class of 1970, and the class of this part of the valley. We promised to be good, and we delivered.

Our class reunion is scheduled for Aug. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Creekside Restaurant, 242 S. Water St. in Silverton during the weekend of the Homer Davenport Festival. The cost is $25 per person for appetizers, a no-host bar, music that will make your feet happy, a collection plate for the 50th, and a chance to re-connect with old friends and meet some old “new” friends who you sort of recognize from Mr. Woodall’s class.

Questions? Text or call me at 503-602-4320 or email to and I will have my people call your people.

Here’s hoping to see some old friends and reminiscing about the good old times.

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