RAHS Class of '62 50th Reunion!

RAHS Class of '62 50th Reunion Letters

From Marlys Pic'l Nelson - Rancho Alamitos High School Teacher - 1961 thru 1995:

20 March 2012

Dear Barrie and the other members of the reunion committee,

I can't thank you enough for the excellent planning and special attention you directed to the teachers at the 50th reunion. It was so nice to be at Rancho Saturday afternoon where I had a chance to talk to many memorable former students who became successful people in every sense. It was inspiring to hear how they had earned advanced degrees, found compatible mates, and searched out ways to make a difference to us all. More importantly, they are such good people -- compassionate, warm, funny -- much as I remembered them as 17 year-olds.

The main activity Saturday night was filled with tributes that I will never forget. Peggy reminded me about how much fun it was to teach then, how free we were to teach and learn without the ever-present threat of standardized tests and narrow designations of achievement. Chuck revealed again the joy of meeting quirky young people who would become the creative leaders in their fields. The awards were so personal, reminding me why I still remembered so many people from the class of 1962. We so seldom get to find out what has happened to those students we taught, some of whom told us then they appreciated us but others who didn't do so then but came to in later years. I have rarely felt so much at ease or had more fun reconnecting with people in my life. You committee members were largely responsible for the ambience and the special nature of the event. I will never forget your hard work and the fond memories. Do keep me in mind for the 55th reunion. I plan to be alive and eager to see all of you again.

With much love, Marlys (Pic'l) Nelson

From Rick Hain, RAHS Class of '62, Buenos Aires, Argentina:

15 March 2012

Some personal thoughts on that common point of departure we shared some 50 years ago...and the time between then and now.

Like I told Jan...I'll be here in spirit, on Skype, and e-mail too. Go Rancho, Go! We are the Vaqueros, and if you can't hear us...!!

Green and Gold Forever!!!

Sorry I'm going to wander...

The passage of time is always a shock to the soul.

There's gonna be a whole lotta shockin' goin' on on Friday night!

I feel a little awkward. Truly the only thing that we have in common are the vague memories of life in those crazy times of our personal and collective adolescence, living in the same subdivided bedroom town, and going to 'ol Rancho between 1958 and 1962.

The Great Sixties were only just beginning. We had no idea about what was waiting for us right around the corner. We were brought up to work hard, play harder, always be polite, and always try to do our best. We were told that if we followed those rules we would reach the future we deserved. How have we done?

Well for one thing the whole idea of that 1962 future has been changed, changed again, and then several time, changed again.

What's that song about a rose garden?

Well, this weekend you'll have the chance to stand around, test your memories, look at each other, scream, cry and gasp in recognition, exchange life stories, and wonder at the distance that we have all travelled during the last five decades.

Even though I'm not there, don't worry, I have a good imagination.

That was the year! 1962!! We were altogether going up on that stage in June at Rancho, walking slowly to Sir Eddie's Pomp and Circumstance Nº1. That long dark green robbed line foolishly grinning at their loved ones seated in the folding chairs on either side. That was the last time we were all standing in the same place looking in the same direction...forward.

Most of us were only thinking about the three months of 17 year old summer fun and sloth.

Now here we are 50 years later...with lots of square kilometers of water under the proverbial bridge.

Back then the horizon was synonymous with infinity. Now we're learning to live with...well, with now...the concept of a finite existence, of moving about in spaces within limited prospects.

Some of us have stayed close to that starting point in the Quad. Some of us have moved around a lot but have over the years finally come back to a place not far from the launch pad in Garden Grove.

And some of us have gotten pretty far away. From what I've heard most everybody has stayed in North America...

Some of us have seen many places all over the globe.

Up to now it's been quite a ride. I imagine you'll be hearing that sentence a lot, or something like it.

We've seen great flicks, laughed at great comedy, screamed with great rock, made love to cool jazz, got high on smooth blues, been thrilled to the sound of great concerts, cried with the Three Tenors at Caracala, been transfixed by spectacular sunrises and sunsets, run through pouring rain, shivered at the sound of midnight thunder, heard the silence of snowfall in the dark, felt the sand shuddered under the pounding of great waves, stood awed by great art and architecture both new and old. We've heard the first hoarse cry of our newborn children, and then their children. We've seen the light go dim in the eye at the end. We've experienced great anger, soaring exaltation, dark desperation, subtle epiphanies, the wonder of love, and all kinds of pain related to human existence.

And I don't know about you, but I'm not through yet.

I'm pretty sure that in one of those speeches given during that June of 1962, somebody said that some of us would go far. Funny, my sister Deb told my wife Dory that I was essentially a show off...but the truth is, I DID get pretty far... or far away.

Well, I was always curious about what was on the other side of Tijuana. Of course, I always if anyone else set up camp on the other side of the world? I would expect that most of us in these 50 years, have found "our place in the world." I don't know about the rest of you but "my place" is not what I was expecting. Nobody told me that my future might mean a different daily world, a different language, a different culture, a different history, a different landscape, and even a different continent.

Nobody could predict that I would carry on Mr. Woodhouse's legacy drive four-on-the-floor thousands of kilometers all over Argentina and Uruguay. The clutch man, the clutch!

Nobody could predict that my freshman disaster in foreign language would follow me for the rest of my life. I'm sorry Mr. Sexton! I'm still murdering the Spanish language. I got serious about it too late, went to work with it too soon, and it's too bad that I never took enough time to polish it the right way. Good thing you are such a great guy. ¿Quien me hubiera dicho?-- "el Idioma de los Reyes" has given me an inside look into one of the great Latin cultures. Love songs, boleros, tangos y Borges...along the greatest of surprises, &un hijo escritor! Are we where we wanted to be? I would venture that for most of us that remains an un-answered question. I for one am not where I thought I would be in 2012... and that goes the same for in 1972, 1982, 1992 and 2002 also. Our 50 years have marked us all to the very core.

College, jobs, military service, the Cuban missile crisis, a President's assassination, Lyndon, Ali, NYC black-out, the draft and a war in Asia, Star Trek, the rise and fall of the Hippies, Segregation overcome, lasers, more assassinations and the Revolutions of '68, 2001, A Space Odyssey, Tricky Dick, Protest, Woodstock, a man on the Moon, M.A.S.H., floppy disks, 3 Mile Island, VCR's, Apollo 13, pocket calculators, Munich, The Godfather, Watergate, tapes and impeachment, Skylab, Microsoft, Jimmy C, Apple Computers, Pol-Pot and the killing fields, Ebola, Elvis leaves the building, Starwars, Test-tube babies, Jonestown, Ayatollah and the hostages in Iran, Meg Thatcher and Madre Teresa, John Lennon murdered, Mt. St. Helen, Rubik's cube, CNN, a movie star in the Whitehouse, Pope John Paul's and Prez Ronnie's almost assassinations, the Shuttle, a woman sits on the US Supreme bench, PC's by IBM, AIDS, ET, the Malvinas War, Micheal Jackson's Thriller, Sally Ride in Space, Union Carbide and Bophal, Ozone hole, Gorbi, Glasnost and Perestroika, Challenger, Iran-Contra, Chernobyl, the Mir SS, DNA, Black Monday, Pan Am 103, Bush Sr., the Soviet Collapse, the Hubble, Desert Storm, the Web, Wild Bill from Little Rock, DVD, 1st WTC bombing, Nelson Mandela, Rawanda, Yugoslavia, Rabin assassination, Oklahoma City, Princess Di, cloned sheep, Monica L. and another impeachment, Euro, Viagra, Titanic, Y2K, Columbine, the human genome, ILOVEYOU virus, the Florida election and Junior, dot.com bursts, 9/11, Wikipedia, Columbia, Madrid 3/11, gigahertz, the Asian Tsunami, the Mars Rovers, Facebook, USB, Katrina, You Tube, London 7/7, Twitter, the Crash of 2008, Obama, the Arab Spring ... Of course, a lot has been left out...after all it's been 50 years!

And I have not even mentioned what went on down here,

Like three volcano eruptions, four revolutions (one really bad), 30,000 disappeared, six presidential elections in a row (more or less), the great collapse of 2001, a war with Great Britain, an almost war with Chile, three economic crashes, Alfonsín, The Juntas Trial, Vilas, Maradona, Ginobilli, Messi, Del Potro...

At times I envied those who could take a firm hold on their existence and guide it down the roads they decided to take and at the same time dodge everything that this half century threw at us.

And yet at other times I developed a great respect for those who skidded and jittered around all the obstacles and the unexpected upheavals, and turned those wild times into great opportunities, and then turned them into wonderful experiences.

I would think that most of us have been successful mixing these two styles according to the circumstances and then playing the rest by ear.

To look back on all this makes you wonder at how we ever navigated it all. We've gone from the quiet orange groves and subdivisions of the fifties to the first 12 madhouse years of the new Century! Our kids look at us in silent recognition the same we looked at our parents. Our grandkids look at us as tell them the stories of the beginnings of that few that stood together in that late afternoon in June, 1962.

Hey! In the end all I can do is pop a cork on a good bottle of the local world famous Malbec and raise a toast to us all. We've made it this far and damned if I'm going to stop now. There's so much more to do. Now where did I put my skate key?

Abrazos y besos,

Rick Hain
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Top row, third from the left