The first reunion of the 10 classes of the 1950s at Peninsula High School was the brainchild of ’56 graduate Dian Tallman. Two previous large reunions had been held for most of them, including an All-School Reunion in 1986, and one held by the class of ’51 with invitations to all students who attended PHS from 1948-54.
Tallman thought about a ’50s reunion for some time, and she checked her PHS annuals to find people who might be interested in contacting their individual classmates. She picked the first Saturday night after Labor Day, arranged it for the Eagles in Gig Harbor, and sent out letters.
“When word got out about the 10 years of the ’50s getting together, I received a phone call from members of the classes of ’48 and ’49,” Tallman said. “They were the first classes to attend Peninsula High School, and they wanted to know if they could come. I said, ‘Sure, that would be great.’ ”
Tallman wanted to make it an annual event. That first year, about 200 people showed up.
“We bought name tags, snacks and decorated with balloons with the year of the class so they could find their table,” Tallman said. “There was a band, several teachers came, and it was very successful.”
A “hat” was passed for donations for expenses, but not enough to pay for the use of the hall and band. Tallman decided on a $5 cover charge to help cover costs, including use of the facility. She sent out a letter and said excess funds could be donated for a scholarship.
“I received a check from a Peninsula High graduate in California for $1,000 for the scholarship fund,” Tallman said.
“It snowballed into more than I planned for,” she added.
Tallman had to get a bank account, write thank-you notes and more.
Enough money was raised to give the Eagles a generous amount for the use of the hall and music, and $750 scholarships to a boy and girl each year.
After several years, Tallman was surprised to hear some people complain about the cover charge.
“Where could you possibly go and see your friends and schoolmates and share memories for $5?” she asked.
Tallman decided she didn’t want to do all the work anymore, so she stopped the cover charge, eliminated the scholarship fund, “and got back to just having a fun evening with classmates and friends,” she said.
The crowds change each time, and it has dwindled from the beginning years, Tallman said. Many of the people in the group meet for lunch alternate months, and a few prefer that to driving at night.
“Eleven other people help me contact their classmates, and they all deserve credit in urging them to come,” Tallman said. “This year, we even received a call from people in the 1960 class who wanted to join us, and they’re welcome.”
“It’s so much fun to see so many we went to school with again after 66 years since Peninsula opened its doors,” she added.
Tallman hopes the reunion will continue for many years to come.
This year’s event will be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Gig Harbor Eagles. Donations will be asked to help cover the use of the hall. No meals will be served.
Attendees can bring their Kwahaes yearbooks, photo albums and memories to share. For more information, call 253-858-6901.Colleen Slater writes a monthly column for the Neighbors page. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.