2/3 girls, 1/3 boys, all friends. The Class of '66 celebrates 45 years of friendships

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
August 4th, 2011

 Ahh 1966; the year the world saw the introduction of the breathalyzer, Soviet probes landed on the moon and orbited the earth, the first artificial human heart was installed, Castro declared martial law in fear of US attacks while the  states began construction of the World Trade Centre towers. Pushing forward not just the cause of womankind but also grey power, the first female race horse trainer breaks the gender barrier, at 70, all the while LSD is legalized in California as J Edgar Hoover offers up the first JFK conspiracy theory, just before Walt Disney passed away. North of the border Canada put in place the Canadian Pension plan for the grads that will soon be cashing in, the CBC broadcast colour TV for the first time and the Centennial Flame in front of the parliament buildings was lit.


Of course, all the while, there was a group of 64 young Rosslanders, 42 females and 22 males, becoming the next in a long line of successful Rossland high school kids to be sent out into the world. With all but seven of that group having moved on at one point or another in the last 45 years, the tight-knit group has made it a point to get together at least every five years since. This past weekend marked the ninth occasion; the 45 year Rossland High School reunion for the class of ’66.


“There are no cliques, no lines; everybody gets along. That’s the really neat part of it” relayed Linda Stirling, organizer of the reunion upon reflection of the weekend. “Rossland has churned some good kids out of that school over the years. We had a unique class there were it was two thirds girls, about 44 and one third guys, around 20 or so. When we have the reunions it’s the same thing; far more women than men, but the guys hang in there and have a good time. I guess that was a good time to be a guy in high school, but they always tended to date the girls the year behind anyway, you know?”


To call the quintennial celebration a reunion, would perhaps be a disservice to the continuous closeness the group has shared over the years. Indeed many are fast friends and with the big five –oh coming up, the group can’t wait out the next block. They are already actively planning a joint 65th birthday party to cut that reunion window in half. Indeed it’s not a reunion, but rather a celebration of long time friendships.


Kicking off the weekend in the Prestige’s lounge with a social get-together, this year’s crew of 38 got caught up on the past five years of memories. Splitting up on Saturday for a group hike or golf game, the day rounded out at the Red Room for a night of ’66 inspired music and comedy courtesy Kirk Orr.


The Rossland Telegraph’s own sales executive Tom Jones, one of just three local Rosslanders to attend this year waxed poetic during the event about the fallacy of long term predictions.


“You know it’s funny really. The one voted most likely to succeed and all that did not at all, and some that were probably relatively unnoticed at the time have been very successful. The old adage of those most likely to do certain things in high school yearbooks don’t tend to amount to much (laughs).”


Two things that did amount to something 45 years on were a couple of couples. Two sets of high school sweethearts, all among the ’66 grad class have recently or are about to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversaries in July and October.


“Love really is timeless you know. We all knew them as a couple back then and they’re still great couples now,” recalled Sterling. “That’s just a lot of fun to see.”


With plenty of mid sixties stories flying about, catch up’s on who’s kids and grandkids have done what and many laughs, smiles and hugs shared, the event is also as much about reconnecting with Rossland, their former home and watching as it changes over the years.


“All up at the ski hill and down around the golf course, even the main street have changed quite a bit since we were running around,” recalled Sterling.” It’s such a great group of people, we all get along so well, it’s always a great excuse to come back and visit Rossland again; to visit home.”

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