Sunday, October 12, 2008


Fran and I met in September of 1945, when I entered the 5th grade at Whittier Elementary School in Long Beach, California. She and I have always been friends, from being in the same Girls Scout troop, to seeing each other at periodic Scout and school reunions, to the present. Last week we attended our 55th high school reunion and Fran's husband took our picture together. As those of you who are our age will understand, we know we have aged, but we look exactly the same to each other as we always did....which certainly is some kind of magical happening, I think. Between our 50th reunion and the 55th, Fran and I decided we would be sisters. I know, it sounds strange but there is something in it for each of us that we both missed - having a sister to share with, to laugh with, to complain to, and to gain strength from.

Now there were a couple of others there at the reunion who we have known for the same length of time. On the left is Charles Clifner, my very first boyfriend, Fran, me and on the right Larry Baldwin. All four of us also appear in the class picture that is at the end of this blog.

Probably the funniest happening for me at the reunion was hearing from Charles that when I came into school as "the new kid" in 5th grade, the word went around that we lived in a very big house with very thick carpeting over all the floors. Apparently everyone was talking about it. Fran and Larry nodded when Charles spoke, so I guess everyone heard it. All I could say to them was that as I got older, the house sure must have shrunk in size. And somehow the house moved up closer to the sidewalk; the lawn was much smaller than I remembered!

And then Larry told me that he had always known all about my family, because his cousin, George Turner, was the sales manager for my father's little appliance store, and through the years Larry always knew everything there was to know about the Dobbins family. I'm so glad that we were just an ordinary, normal family and that honestly and truly, Dad was awfully good to his employees.

One other little thing happened that tickled me. I have always kept the little hand-made autograph book that our teacher gave us at the end of our 6th grade year. It had our class picture on the front cover, and we had everyone in our class sign in the book. Sure enough, Fran, Larry and Charles all put their "John Henry" in it but next to Charles' name was the following: "XOXOXO" When he looked at that, he said, "Did you put that there or did I?" I told him I thought he did.....but later I did a little handwriting analysis and I had to e-mail him and report that I do think it was MY handwriting, not his! It didn't matter, actually, because for 5th and 6th grade, we were an item. (Remember, this was a long time ago, when elementary kids didn't date and our "love affair" was never more than xoxoxox's).

Of course we are all hoping that we'll be around for our 60th reunion. There are days I think I'll make it, and other days I feel I'm lucky to make it out of bed! But it is wonderful to reconnect with all these people and share the past with them.

So you can see me in this photo, our sixth grade class in June of 1947, because at some point I drew a circle around my face. Fran is next to me toward the left side of the photo. Charles is the red-head and Larry is the one who didn't know the camera was getting ready to click!

And for all you younger people, just look at the clothing that was de riguer for that day and age.

Reunions are so much fun, even when you think they aren't going to be!

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