1963 - 1966
For High School I was able to attend Salem Academy & College, a private
Christian school, which was then in the hills of West Salem.
My first year there seems to be gone from my memory, perhaps because
I have no memorabilia from that year. The only yearbook I was able to
buy was for my graduating year. I do remember meeting one Alumnus from
my class the summer before I started there. I picked strawberries in
Paul Schaad's berry fields across from Judy Owens at least once.
Among other things, I took two years of Spanish and Library Science.
I developed a special interest in Astronomy, but decided to keep it a
hobby. I finally decided to go to school to become a Baptist pastor.
Either in my Junior Year or the early part of my Senior Year, I began feeling
the desire to have a girlfriend, someone I might spend the rest of my life
with. I had "crushes" on one girl after another. I remember a lot of their
names, but one in particular. That one was different somehow. She may have
reminded me of my mother. I wrote romantic (perhaps "mushy") poems to her.
I didn't show them to her at first, but I did show them to others. One of her
friends told her about them and she came to me while I was working in the
Library. She asked to see them and read them while I watched. Then (I don't
know exactly what she said), she let me know that she wasn't going to be my
girlfriend so nicely that it didn't hurt. Now that's a special girl! I still
think of her with admiration.
While at Salem Academy, my class made a trip to Mt. Hood. I got to explore
Timberline Lodge (my first and only time). I remember a great St. Bernard
wandering around the lodge. I did something that. looking back, was both
was both stupid and dangerous: I went off alone up the mountain. As I went
up, I found I was too warm and had to peel off layers of clothes. I passed
a smaller building for people to take shelter. I went up past the top of
the ski lift. At the highest point in my hike, I sang "How Great Thou Art"
and perhaps other songs. I saw Mt. Jefferson to the south. I felt close to
God and far from any other man. It now seems a miracle that I didn't get
lost on my way back.
In March of my Senior Year, our choir took a trip to Bellevue, Washington
for a choir comptetition. Besides singing with the choir, I competed as a
soloist singing "The Holy City". I didn't win any awards. On the last
evening we were there, I met a girl there from a Washington school named
Ona Mitchell. She was from Grayland, Washington, I believe. We held hands
until we had to part. Apparently, something had occurred causing my school
to depart a day earlier than planned. I promised to write her. In my first
letter I wrote that I thought I might be in love with her. She did not
write back for a while.
In April, I went to a Baptist retreat at the Salem Heights Baptist Church
in South Salem. We had a luau the first afternoon. At a singspiration
later that evening, a girl sitting next to me, with whom I had been
visiting, put her hand on my knee. It scared me. I went to move her hand
off of my knee, but only managed to put my hand over hers. We continued
holding hands until we parted for the evening. Her name is Bev Tunnell.
The next day there was a preaching competition. There were only Bev and I
and one other competitor. My sermon was taken from one that Peter
Marshall wrote. The other guy won.
Bev and I wrote, pages and pages. We agreed to go steady. Some time after
that, Ona wrote me reciprocating my earlier expressed feelings and I had
to write her that I had met someone else and we were going steady. I told
her that I had not intended to hurt her, but she did not write again for
a long time. When she did, she said that she understood.
At some point, and only after pestering my Dad for permission, I made a
43 mile bicycle trip down to Waterloo, Oregon, where Bev lived. I did it in
3 hours and 53 minutes. I got to her house and learned that she was at the church.
I went there and waited by a tree in the front yard until she came out.
As I intended, she was surprised (and I believe delighted) to see me.
We spent time together and I was allowed to sleep in a guest room
overnight. The next day she suffered an epileptic seizure, a grand mal.
I learned that she had these with some frequency, though she was taking
medication for it.
I didn't really want to go to my own graduation, except that Bev was going to be there.
I know it is for the families that we have the ceremony. We wore green gowns and marched
to the music of Pomp and Circumstance. In the list under the class photo, I have
put in bold type those I recognised at the 40-year reunion and in italic type those I learned
had died before that. I'm sure there are some I missed seeing there.
Salem Academy Graduating Class of 1966
Bev came to my graduation and met my family. I went to hers. Afterward
there was an all night party. There was a snipe hunt where we hid along
side a trail. I screamed out in the dark to frighten the hunters, and,
unfortunately for Bev, I was too close to her ear. There was a stream
where we dangled our feet in the water.
At graduation, I weighed 165 pounds. It seemed I could eat whatever I
wanted without gaining weight. I remember eating a dozen cupcakes and
finishing off a punch bowl at a church social. Some said that I must
have had a tapeworm.
My sister Becky was born just after I graduated from high school and
before I reached eighteen years old.
In the summer, I worked first at Willamette Cherry Growers unloading
crates of cherries from trucks at the unloading dock. Then I got a job
as a boxboy at Central Market on State Street. And later, I worked at
The Del Monte cannery canning beans. All to help with my schooling.