Class of 1954 gathers for reunion

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In 1954 Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, muscle cars and slicked-back hair were in and four Moffat County High School senior girls were the best of friends.

Three of those "girls" laughed and remembered the old days Saturday during their 50th class reunion in the basement of the Museum of Northwest Colorado.

Marie LaBranch-Solace, Elaine (Davis) DuPree and Wilma (Gore) Taylor-Baker said the gathering seemed "funny" without their good friend, Joanne Lee Rasche. The Craig graduate died a few years ago.

About 15 members of the 1954 graduating class showed for the reunion and members of other graduating also mingled with the bunch.

Lorraine (Killallay) Ross left early Saturday morning from her Greeley home to make the trip out to see old friends. Verna (Fiske) Mullins also arose early, traveling from Aurora to the basement on Yampa Avenue, which is a history lesson in itself. Those who weren't there, couldn't escape the gathering, though. Class photographs dating back to 1901 crowd the museum walls, but on this day, the young faces shining out from the class photo of 1954 received the most scrutiny. Old time desks and a mannequin posing as a teacher in early 1900-dated dress, easily created an atmosphere that smacked of school days and how Craig used to be.

The museum's ambience is the main reason Taylor-Baker, who also is on the museum board, wanted to organize the gathering there.

"I couldn't think of a better place," she said, adding that an idea to hold a picnic gathering was too laborious.

"Let's face it," DuPree chimed in, "we're getting to the age where we like comfort."

In 1954 students attended high school at today's Craig Intermediate School. In that year, Craig had only one stoplight and the graduating class was about 50 students; one third of 2004's graduating class.

Pedal pusher pants were in then, but DuPree said she was still in style, because of the similar style of pants she wore Saturday. In general, students dressed better 50 years ago than what Taylor-Baker noticed when she gave a presentation at the high school recently.

"You wanted to look nice then," she said.

Royce Powell drove from Texas to attend the event in conjunction with a business trip. Powell moved away in 1963 but said he hadn't been back before this weekend. At first he found it difficult to recognize some people, but others' names came easier. "It's changed a lot in 41 years," he said.

Mullins noted how the passage of time had on some people's attitudes. Some classmates who seemed aloof or too popular in high school talked as if they always had been good buddies.

While some in the class of 1954 have shared a number of reunions together, some strained to remember the anniversary years that were forgotten.

Mullins had a saying for class reunions. People want to show up and show off for their 10-year class reunion; for the 20-year reunion they show up in jeans. At a 50-year reunion people are just happy to be here at all, she said.

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