How quickly time flies.
Those words took on new meaning for the graduating class of 1966 who gathered Saturday for a reunion lunch at the Grist Mill and Gardens.
“I can’t believe so much time has passed,” Susie Hendsbee, the main organizer of the event said. “I realized it was going to be 50 years since we graduated and I thought it was far past time we got together. Some of these people I haven’t seen since graduation night.”
On Wednesday, June 29 in the year 1966 a total of 39 fresh faced ready to take on the world teens graduated from what was known then as Similkameen Secondary School. The school was affectionately known as SIM High.
The school, located in the same location it is today, only housed a high school. There were no elementary school grades.
It was the 16th graduation held at the school with the largest number of graduates to date at that time.
Fifty years later 60 students graduated from SESS in June 2016.
“We were a small class but very tight knit,” Marilyn Harris said.
Harris took the leadership skills and the passion for sports that was fostered at SIM High and spent her career teaching in the Lower Mainland. The day after she retired she moved back to the Similkameen.
“I missed life in the valley,” she said.
She now volunteers at Cawston Primary School.
Her fondest memories of high school were the sports teams.
Although their weren’t that many students who attended the school to today’s standards somehow every team was filled.
“Everything seemed to centre around the school teams. Most everyone was on a team of some kind. A lot of the town came out to watch us play,” she said.
As the crowd started to arrive on Saturday, the smiles started to broaden as old classmates recognized each other and started to reminisce about good times.
Sitting around the lunch table it’s as if no time had passed.
The 16 graduates that attended and their spouses caught up on old times and filled each other in what’s been going on over the last 50 years. No small feat with such a short time together.
The table, at times, sounded as loud as a full cafeteria on the day before Christmas break.
The laughter was infectious.
Hendsbee said she and others was able to track down many of her classmates but a few were untraceable.
“A lot of the ones that lived in Hedley we weren’t able to find. If they don’t have family here or didn’t stay in touch with people we had a hard time finding them,” she said.
Out of the class of 39, 10 people had passed away.
“It’s sad. It’s quite a lot, really. There’s some faces we all wish could have been here,” she said.
As the last of the coffee and tea was finished, many of the group decided to carry on with their reunion away from the press, “somewhere where we can’t be quoted,” one of them said with a laugh, and hopefully with a celebratory drink or two in hand as they remembered fondly the years of their youth from the perspective of their golden years.
Congratulations, again, to the Class of 1966.
Those in attendance included: Geraldine Harker, Juanita (Graham) Allen, Heather Blakeborough, Tom Crow, Wayne Ritchie, Waltrout (Kerntopf) Winser, Sharin (Wheeler) Smith, Beverly Wills, Raine Rhodes, Marilynn Harris, Maureen (Magee) Smith, Charlie Watts, Theresa (Lammers) Lidster, Tom (Lamb) Callaway, Susie Hendsbee, and Joan Liddicoat.