RHS'69's Golden 50th

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

No success is dependent on one person. Collaboration is always the key since any one process affects the outcome of the total.

Planning for the 50th Reunion began a year ago.

Six months was set aside to collect, vet and test cookbook recipes. Only the best and tasiest was chosen.

Another five months to design and layout the cookbook with 8 proofreading sessions mixed in to make it the best it could be.

Also during the final 6 months the planning and preperation for the name tags, silent auction, donor and sponsor support and the million other details were overseen by the reunion committee.

On the night of the event some of the hard working Committee members found time to enjoy the 50th Reunion in between their duties.

No matter the preperation, any event's success depends on those who come.

The room was empty and ready.

You came.

It was great.

You made it happen.

I took advantage of attending every event and got to reconnect with many alumni. What stood out? We graduated with many great people as measured by their heart, spirit and soul.

The BIG Reunion 50th Celebration arrived and the air was filled with joy and school spirit. Stephanie (Yim) Miwa & I were stationed at the cookbook sales table. Business was brisk and we both managed to enjoy everything there was to enjoy. As a trademark of a wonderful, event – time flew by - and the evening was over. We are all left with the glow and memory of the class of ’69 unity and school spirit. Our renewed spirit will live in our hearts forever.

He said it's been an up and down experience, but he played bass guitar for Ray Charles for a couple of years. 

I learned that one of our classmates, Wray Jose, lives 5 houses away from me and I didn't know. He was telling me how he used to live close to our high school in a haunted house. His grandmother awoke one night to an apparition of a man approaching her bed. She refused to ever sleep in that room again. On several occasions, Wray says he heard footsteps at night that would stop when he'd investigate. One night, sounding like the heavy steps of a man, they came down the hall approaching his bedroom. In front of his door, the sounds changed. It was as if a dog was skittering away on the hardwood floor toward the front door. I plan to invite him to my house for dinner one evening for more "chicken skin" stories.

Gerald Sekimura came back from LA. He reminded me that at age 16, we'd gone fishing together the day before I had an accident at work that required 37 stitches. For over 50 years he'd had pangs of guilt thinking that my being tired from that outing contributing to the accident. I assured him only my carelessness caused the accident.

It's curious that I had no specific recollections of incidents with two classmates, Suzanne (Nariyoshi) and Beverly (Naruto), I only remember the feeling that they were so nice to me. Even after 50 years, seeing them again felt like being right back in high school. There's an adage that goes, "You may not remember what someone did, but you never forget how they made you feel."  I guess that's true.  

I was happy to see Karen Ohira come despite not having her usual posse with her (Lynette Kubota, Karen Yokoi, etc). Seeing some of our classmates made me realize that several of them are already widowed, so their presence was especially appreciated. Reconnecting with friends I’ve known since the 7th grade and sharing funny stories about our times back then was very special as well.

I missed seeing many classmates whom I wondered about too — Jeff Dang, Steve Thomas, Myron Sato, David Imata, Gwen Nomura, Colleen  Oide.  We may start another section called “Where are they now?”

From Steph Miwa who was with the cookbook committee...

Reunions are for getting together and sharing memories.  Our RHS '69 50th reunion accomplished that and more, thanks to the hard work of the reunion committee and the participation of so many classmates.

It was a surprise to hear Yvonne Elliman share that in high school she loved to hear Greg Fong sing, but never told him.  This revelation made me realize that we touch the lives of so many, often without being aware of it.  I'm happy that the passing years have given us a freedom to be more spontaneous and open now, as evidenced by much laughter with, "Remember when" stories.  

I am so very blessed to be a part of RHS '69.

John Takara was one of the recipe authors featured in the cookbook...

At the reunion I felt like a celebrity signing the cookbook where my recipes were printed. I only wish I submitted more than two. 

I enjoyed catching up with Jeff Takiguchi for the first time in about 40 years.  He had left Honolulu for LA in the late 70's to pursue a music career.

And JoAnn Oshima co-anchored the check-in table...

What stood out for me was seeing some people whom I hadn’t seen since high school graduation — Wayne T. Maeda (the one from Pauoa), Beverly Naruto, Terence Bento, Alicia Wang to name a few. Some others, I don’t think I’ve seen since our 20th reunion — Jeff Takiguchi, Gerald Sekimura, Julienne Mikasa.

So on Reunion night, I was so emotionally charged that with so much in common, we the Class of 69 from RHS was together again, much in common. For just a moment in time I could recollect and get back some of the emotions that I haven't felt in awhile.

 Like, seeing our classmates sing our Alma Mater in the auditorium when they visited the school.   (chicken skin moment) School loyalty was soooo important. And still is. "It was like walking back in time....  " 

Like, knowing one of our classmates had recently lost her husband and she was hesitant to come but I saw her talking story with a few people at length. And with a smile on her face. I went back to a concerned cousin and told her she had fun.

 Like, wanting to talk with a sister of a guy I really liked. So I eventually I connected with her and found out more about him and his family. Satisfying and bittersweet. Wonder why the puppy love emotion lingers in a person's heart???  Sad thing is he is one of those that did not make it to 65 years.

When Yvonne Eliman spoke about Gregory Fong, most of us had that one person come to mind that we thrilled to see in the hallway while rushing to class. Spoke with classmates on Monday at breakfast and some spoke the name of the person.  

I talked with the year book photographer, Jeffrey, who explained in length how he went about taking the pictures, trying to accomplish his assignment of having the photos match the song from the Fiddler on the Roof. It was something he worked hard on.  I thanked him for doing a great job. (Shared with him I received my Year Book in Japan, '69 and was surprised that I was in one of the pictures. )

One of the most important take away was how everyone had basically come with anticipation and was not disappointed. Life had treated us kind, more for some, nevertheless to be there gave each a feeling of unity that there are people who care for them.

Linda Tokuda was the boss of the Silent Auction area all night...

It's too bad that at the 50th reunion we remember how good it was back then. Perhaps our immaturity would not have allowed us to appreciate it as we should have.

Donna Miller who chaired the cookbook committee takes it from here...

Our 50th RHS ‘69 Reunion week was filled with joy, happiness and fun!

I like the fact that one of the most important questions you ask someone from Hawaii is what High School you graduated from. Then from there you can kind of come to some connection to that person or not.

Pictures from the 50th reunion are available here.