Sixty-six years later, the Auburn High School class of 1949 remains a tight-knit bunch.
Classmates – all well into their 80s – and their spouses came together for their annual reunion on Aug. 6 at Longhorn Barbecue.
The luncheon drew 26 from the original class of 132.
“It’s a wonderful group, one of the most loyal groups who have hung together,” said Bill Hollingsworth, a ’49er who lives in nearby Edgewood.
The class is unique in many ways. The ’49ers were the first class to have an outdoor graduation ceremony. All three schools they attended – elementary, junior and senior high – have since disappeared, torn down to make way for new buildings at the time.
“Those of us who are left do enjoy chatting about the town of Auburn when we were kids,” said Harold Olson, a retired CPA. “We’re a real tight group.”
The class produced many interesting and notable personalities. Hollingsworth went on to enjoy a 40-year career in show business as a host for a variety of television shows in Los Angeles.
Al Rossi was a member of a U.S. four-man rowing team that took the bronze medal in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
Clayton Lacey was part of the Ford-O-Matics, a popular touring singing quartet at the time.
Classmates shared stories, photos and laughter. They described Auburn, then a small town with Main Street, two signal lights and three movie houses.
“It was like Mayberry,” Hollingsworth said. “It was a gentler, kinder, slower time. It was the best time of our lives.”