Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Once a Viking, always a Viking

| July 12, 2023 1:00 AM

It’s not often these days that I’m the youngest in any gathering, but this week, when I joined the CHS Class of '68 for their 50-year-plus All Class reunion planning meeting, I was surrounded by upperclassmen of yesteryear. These people were seniors in high school when I was a sophomore. Now we’re all seniors, as in citizens! How fun is that?

Fifty-five years after his graduation, Associated Student Body President Gary Everson is still leading as the committee chairman. I’d recognize him or Kathy Moore LaTourrette, Greg Hart, Craig Ziegler and Patty Turnbull Kovatch, anywhere. That’s the magic of the annual gathering of vintage Vikings whose high school years were a half-century or more ago. We see each other as we once knew each other, while the reality of some wrinkles, pounds and graying of hair is merely amusing and inevitable.

(Note that the reunion is happening Saturday, July 29, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Hayden Eagles. For info, see CHS All Class Reunion 2023 on Facebook.)

When I wanted to know how this 50-year-plus Golden All Class Reunion came into tradition, I had to turn no further than to my CHS '70 classmate Tim Shepperd, and not just because he’s also a former ASB president. Tim’s family has been here for generations and he’s passionate about the history of this community.

Coeur d’Alene High was organized in 1903 and became a four-year accredited high school in 1905.

The school was first located on Wallace Avenue between Seventh and Eighth streets, which later became Central Elementary School when the high school moved to Seventh and Montana.

In 1955, a new high school was built on 15th Street and Hastings. In 1970, CHS moved to its current location on North Fourth Street, and Lakes Middle School is in the former high school on 15th. As a member of the Class of '70 (the last class to graduate from the old high school), I like to joke that you can tell who’s lived here a long time if they still refer, as I do, to the current CHS campus as the “new” high school. It would be another quarter century until Coeur d’Alene would have a second high school, Lake City.

According to my friend, Tim, the Golden All Class Reunion tradition began in the early 1980s when the CHS classes of the 1930s reached 50+ year status. The classes back then were much smaller so a couple of classes combined for a 50-year reunion banquet at the North Shore, now The Coeur d’Alene Resort. Tim’s mother, Margaret Freeman Shepperd, graduated in 1932 and helped with the reunion registration in those early years.

At some point, likely in the '90s, the tradition of the class that was five years past their 50th reunion would take responsibility for organizing the All-Class reunion that year. Fast forward to 2023 and that’s where Gary Everson and the Class of '68 come in.

When vintage Vikings from Coeur d’Alene High School gather July 29 for the all-class reunion, it will be an afternoon and evening of experiencing the phenomenon of decades falling away magically. The cool upperclassmen of yesteryear are still cool. The underclassmen are still perceived as kids, despite qualifying for Medicare or Social Security. It’s magic!

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Let's cheer for Cecil Hathaway, CHS '47, who graduated 76 years ago! He's the most senior vintage Viking registered for the 2023 reunion. The 1950s graduating classes are well-represented on the registration list, too. Go Vikings!

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My fingers are crossed that by the end of this day, I’ll have won a new house, a new car or one of the really big prizes in North Idaho College’s Really Big Raffle. The 7 p.m. drawing is being held virtually but the prizes are very real!

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Happy Main Street birthdays today to Cheri Burila, Emily Hodgson, Syafiq Fuller, Jadd Davis and Jim Welborn. Tomorrow Renee Lusby, Ingrid Yates, Mark Daanen, Julia Koontz, Becky Rider, Brooke Hayden, Shirley Jarrell, Lisa Goodwin and Karen Applebee blow out the birthday candles. On Friday, Bri Gilge, Dee Barnes, Kathleen Esquibel, John Lasher, Nancy Seright, Jaime Vanderpool and Dawnelle Garvey have their cake and eat it, too. On Saturday, Logan Virgil, Kris Siebers, Katie Mans, Laurel Flerchinger, Loretta Lyon, Angela Olson, Andreas John, Julie Ingram, Marisa Buffaloe, Brian Bunch, Wayne Huckabee and Glen Collins put on their party hats. On Sunday, Sandi Morrison, Yvonne Smith, Marcy Clutter, Rich Doughty, Cindy Wiedmer, Patrick Ryan and Doug Jaworski celebrate. Steve Roberg, Terry Werner, Callie Cabe, John Malloy, Erik Nelson, Rick Souza, Janet Brock, Belinda Rowe, Amber Flinn, Lori Larkin and Emily Crawford (40!) take another trip around the sun Monday. Celebrating the anniversary of their birth July 18 are Eric Wurmlinger, Jessica Ohlig, Annette Davis, Kathy LaTourrette, Dustin Peacock, Lori Nelson, Sandie Husby, Joanne Anglin and Cody Jones.

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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.