Fifteen Gresham Grade School classmates celebrate their 65th reunion

by: PHOTO: LISA K. ANDERSON - Sunday afternoon, class of 1948 classmates gathered with their spouses and classmates from other classes for a 65th reunion.

When the hit TV series “The Wonder Years” came to an end in 1993, the narrator Kevin concluded “growing up happens in a heartbeat. One day you’re in diapers, the next day you’re gone. But the memories of childhood stay with you for the long haul. I remember a place, a town, a house, like a lot of houses. A yard like a lot of other yards. On a street like a lot of other streets. And the thing is, after all these years, I still look back... with wonder.”

On Sunday, Aug. 18, members of the Gresham Grade School Class of 1948 pored over childhood memories and decades of memorabilia during their 65th reunion.

The gathering at Dick Dowsett’s house marked the first reunion for the class of 1948 since their 40-year reunion in 1988 and capped a “50 plus” weekend of Gresham High School reunions for the class of 1963 and older.

“We’re still young and vivacious,” Jerry Barron, one of the classmates said.

One of his favorite memories was the time Republican presidential candidate Thomas Dewey made a campaign stop in 1948.

He also recalled when one friend would pay to enter the Gresham Theater and sneak a group of friends through the exit door.

“Everybody has changed physically, but we mention names and we remember,” said Bill Dutton, a classmate down from Federal Way, Wash. “Our relationships are really strong and people like Bud Monnes and teachers we had are the cement that brings us together. We’re very lucky.”

Gresham Grade School’s class of 1948 included 63 graduates. Thirty have died, and seven were unable to be located for the reunion.

Old photos, report cards, yearbooks and other memorabilia lined circular tables decorated in blue and gold decorations for the celebration.

The Duttons created “The Gresham Good Times” newsletter as a fun souvenir.

The reunion began with a lunch and lasted through dinner time, with 15 members of the class of 1948 and 19 spouses and classmates from other classes coming from throughout Oregon, Washington, California and Colorado.

Among the guests was Ivan Gillam, a language arts teacher the class of 1948 had at Gresham High.

The reunion was organized by Ruth Anderegg Baxter, K’Lynn Brumbaugh and Dick Dowsett.

“I think we’ll keep doing this till we’re 90,” Baxter joked.

In 1948

• The President was Harry S. Truman and the Vice President was Alben W. Barkley

• Minimum wage was 40 cents per hour

• The cost of a first-class stamp was 3 cents

• “A Streetcar Named Desire” won the Pulitzer Prize

• There were 48 states and 48 stars on the American flag

• The Supreme Court ruled religious instruction would no longer be taught in public schools

• The United Nations drafted a convention on women’s rights

• A red Radio Flyer wagon sold for $8.75

• Ford cars cost between $1,550 and $1,855

• The summer Olympics opened in London, representing 59 nations and 3,704 men and 390 women

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