CHS grads reconnect

Women gathered Friday, while a co-ed event is planned in September

The former classmates greeted each other with hugs and laughter. They included Jan “Bailey” Whitehead, Terry “Cleaver” Hoogesteger, Beth “Zollo” Klaas, Cynthia “Burns” Shaw and Kooky “Ritter” Helland (from left to right).

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Seventeen women who graduated from the Camas High School Class of 1966 gathered Friday at the home of Kooky "Ritter" Helland and her husband Dennis. The casual celebration in Washougal included a barbecue lunch and a lot of sharing of memories.

Careers, retirement, husbands and grandchildren were among the topics of discussion during a recent gathering of graduates of the Camas High School Class of 1966.

The celebration of friendship was held Friday, at the Washougal home of Kooky “Ritter” Helland and her husband Dennis (Washougal High School Class of 1965).

“I only wanted the ladies to fellowship this time,” Kooky said prior to the event. “Some of them that are coming to the luncheon don’t even attend the reunions. I love my male classmates also, but I just wanted the ladies.”

Candy “Barnes” Crimin traveled from Long Beach, Calif., and others drove from southern Oregon.

“It was an emotional time for me,” Kooky said after the lunch. “I love all of these girls. They have and always will have a special place in my heart.

“It was good for the ones who haven’t seen one another for at least 25 years or more,” she added.

Of the 17 women who attended, several are cancer survivors. The attendees have 57 grandchildren, and some of the women also have great-grandchildren.

Their careers have included working as teachers, registered nurses and hairdressers. There was also a medical secretary, administrative assistant, office manager, postal service employee, librarian, tax preparer and an accountant.

They talked about high school classes, mentors and their favorite and not-so-favorite teachers.

Memories of home economics class included preparing a casserole in record time by not cooking the macaroni noodles before putting the dish into the oven. Another classmate talked about adding a cup of salt to a dish, when the recipe called for a much smaller measurement.

Four of the reunion attendees were members of a swim team that practiced, performed and competed in the 1960s at the Camas Municipal Pool.

Ann “Burke” Hargrave attended the reunion to connect with her past.

She started dating her husband, Bob, in high school. He passed away three years ago.

“My high school memories are the best ever,” Hargrave said. “I learned that family and friends are the most important people in our life. Things are not important.

“It was great to see and visit with so many friends from school,” she added. “The day of the luncheon was a really good day.”

Gayla “Hatten” Marple showed up, hoping to see some friends in the class that she knows are still in the area.

“I have stayed in touch with several that were there, but now that I am retired I would like to be in touch with several more,” she said.

Marple maintains connections with former classmates through letters and emails as well as Facebook.

Kooky described the reunion of the “gals of ‘66” as a success.

“The girls said they loved it,” she said. “The ones that didn’t get to come, called and are waiting for the next one.”

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CHS Class of 1966 (Co-ed)

Annual lunch get-together

When: Sunday, Sept. 15, at 2 p.m.

Where: HomeTown Buffet, 7809 N.E. Vancouver Plaza Drive, Vancouver

Cost: Buffet $13, plus beverage

Questions: Contact Class President Gary Ritter at 991-3382 or garrit@pacifier.com

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