Irene Harrison and Maureen Moffat remember high school like it was yesterday.
The Victoria High graduates can recall the popular restaurant Terry’s, a 50s style diner on the corner of Fort and Douglas streets, where they used to hang out after every basketball game and swim meet.
“We would get 10 people into a booth and we had our soda pop and hamburgers,” laughed Harrison. “It was a regular old soda fountain.”
For Moffat, who grew up in James Bay with the self-proclaimed “James Bay Bums,” the Dallas Road Beach and the many movie theatres were hot spots for students.
“We’d swim in the winter and you’d just go out and stay out all day,” said Moffat. “We got 25 cents a week for an allowance, we’d walk to town to save the three cents each way. The movie was 15 cents so we had 10 cents to buy French fries,” said Moffat.
Harrison and Moffat, along with 70 graduates from the class of 1955, reunited at the Harbour Towers Hotel on June 10 (the day of their actual graduation ceremony) for their 60th reunion.
“There’s quite a few people who [came] that we haven’t seen in years. For some of them, it’s the first time they’ve ever come,” said Harrison. “This year because maybe they figure it will be the last big one, people really seem to be making an effort to come, which is great.”
A core group of roughly 10 grads, who have been getting together every year since the 1980s, planned this year’s milestone event.
They had people from as far away as Singapore and all over the United States and Canada return.
Stewart Smith, who finished at the top of the class out of roughly 240 students in 1955, came from New Jersey where he is a professor at Princeton University.
“It was pretty fabulous, the teachers they had in those days were really devoted and dedicated, it was a completely different world in Victoria then,” said the 77-year-old. “It was a very egalitarian place . . . I was more interested in playing rugby and lacrosse than studying.”
All three grads said they are one of the few classes that continue to meet. While no one could pinpoint why the class is so special, Smith speculated it had to do with their former principal.
“This wonderful principal Harry Smith retired that year, he’s been there for a long time, that was special for us and we had a big celebration for his retirement,” he said. “Maybe that had something to do with keeping people together.”
Other grads from that year include Jim Taylor, a sports columnist and author, and David Anderson, former Victoria MP.