By Chere L Brown, August 13, 2016, Yerington, Nevada
The YHS Class of 1966 had it 50-Year Class Reunion Saturday August 13, 2016 at the Pioneer Crossing in Yerington. We all had a wonderful time and renewed old friendships. This was a speech that I read to our class and at their request I am posting it for all of them.
We peaked at each other from behind our mother’s skirts;
And played tinker toys on bare floors while watching cowboy shows on TV.
We compared our marble and bottle cap collections and traded
When we could no longer hold still, we played hide and seek, kick the can, and red rover. Jumping on our bikes, we raced each other and played follow the leader, who often lead us in the into a cloud of fog behind the mosquito truck.
As the street lights came on, we reluctantly dragged home, tired but hating to leave our first friends and begging our mother’s to let them stay for supper or overnight.
On the playground we met up with our first friends. We shimmied across the monkey bars, and teetered on the the sawhorses.
We jumped hopscotch squares and knelt in the dirt at circles of marbles.
We slammed each other down at the tetherball pole and chased the boys and girls of our affection at recess.
We learned to wait our turn as we stood in line for games, lunch and to going back to class.
After school and during the summer, the boys joined Little League and Mighty Might Boxing and the girls became the fans and cheerleaders.
We joined Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4-H.
We took Square & Ballroom dance lessons (yes, even the boys).
We were awed by fireworks as we swatted away mosquitos.
As we grew and our friendships also grew and our activities changed.
We were beginning to fall in love with love.
It became the subject of every locker room and pool hall conversation.
Every song on the radio, every dance and prom promoted love. Even sports promoted love, as boys showed off for the girls and the girls swarmed over the boys.
Our friendships solidified as we shared confidences and hurts over our latest love interest. We dragged Main Street on weekends looking for love. We waited at John’s Cafe hoping love would walk in the door and sit at our booth. We snuck out to Perk’s Slough, Lake Lahontan and Wilson Canyon to party and make out with our love. If we needed a make out place, we needed only to drive out to the cemetery, Anaconda lookout, or go to the Sagebrush Drive In. And if we had no transportation, the Yerington Movie theater balcony would do just fine.
We further solidified our first friendships while pantomiming the Beatles in assembly, marching in the drill team or band behind cows and elephants at the Nevada Day parades in our white Oxfords. We joined the after school clubs that were to promote our future: Future Teachers, Future Homemakers, Future Farmers, Medical Arts,, etc, etc, etc. And despite all this activity we would still get bored. Our first friends were our best resource at those time as we talked, complained, gossiped, and schemed on how to pull off pranks.
We shared our dreams and fears about the future. We were shocked into the reality of the world ahead of us with JFK’s assassination and MLK’s freedom marches. Our boyfriends and brothers were required to register with the draft for the Vietnam War. Our first friendships had grown, but now we had to make major decisions about our lives the would separate us. Ahead lied marriage, college, work and military service. We were about to be scattered and separated.
We all went on to our separate lives. Most had children, many had careers. We had many relationships, some good, some not so good. Each experienced their own life crises – illness, divorce, wayward children, career disappointment, loss of parents and our own old age over the years. And through it all, many kept their first friendships going, while others, because of distance, could not.
Over the years, we had many friendships. But now, over sixty years later, we peak at our first friends again, not from behind our mothers aprons but at our 50-year class reunion. We realized how much we have all change, but despite age, distance and life’s wear and tear, something has remained constant. Our first friendships have weathered the test of time and they are still standing. Yes, first friends are the best friends and now after all this time, I have come to realize that first friends are also forever friends. Happy 50-years, Class of 1966!
Chere Lynn (Barnett) Brown was born in Reno, Nevada to Clara McGee Barnett and Harold Barnett. (South Lyon Medical Center’s Barnett Clinic is named after Chere’s mother.) She grew up in Yerington and graduated with the Yerington High School Class of 1966. Chere began writing articles for her blog, “Yerington Mondays” in 2016 until her death on May 27th, 2022 at the age of 73 years.
Pizen Switch Times will be posting Chere’s Yerington Monday articles which contain mostly-accurate facts. But Chere would have enjoyed that her readers would have fun with fact-checking and researching her subjects.