A drive down memory lane

Turn back the clock 50 years and the popular pastime on a sunny Saturday afternoon was driving to the A&W for a burger and root beer.

"It was our favourite place to go," said Phil Toombs. "We'd hang out there back in the day when I could have a double grandpa teen and still have room for more."

A lot has changed since, said Toombs. For one, he eats a salad or wrap instead of a large burger. And, when he goes to A&W now, he's no longer served in his car.

He and his friends are older too, although Toombs doesn't feel like he's in his late 60s. He said none of the class of '63 does.

"I don't feel like I'm 68. I don't feel like a teenager anymore but comfortably, I'd feel in my mid 30s. Old enough to be mature, but still young enough to feel frisky," said Toombs.

For Toombs and his classmates, high school and graduation isn't five decades in the past. For many who attended the class of '63's 50-year reunion on the weekend, it feels like yesterday.

"In those days you could quit school and get a job anywhere," said James Bond. "Now, you've got to have an education. We live in this changing world."

Bond still lives in Kamloops, but a lot of his friends and classmates left because that's what you did after high school. He said people travelled from Ottawa and even Australia for the reunion.

"That was the rule of thumb in those days, get out and go to the coast," said Bond.

About 100 graduates and their spouses were in town for the reunion. Many of them met at their old school, now South Kamloops secondary, Saturday morning for a drive to A&W. The graduates drove in vehicles provided by the Kamloops chapter of the Vintage Car Club.

After lunch, they returned to the school for a tour to see how the building has changed.

"I want to see where the principal's office is," said Bond.

Bond spent part of the morning talking with Rod Arnold, who now lives in Kaslo. Arnold used to live near Mission Flats and worked at a sawmill near there.

Bond and Arnold often wonder what happened to their old friends. Arnold said it's great to catch up with them.

"There's one friend here, Kats Kitamura, we grew up together. We were really close friends all through school. Every Friday night we went to the drive-in theatre," he said.

"I like to keep in touch with a few people."

A dinner and dance was held for the graduates at The Plaza Hotel on Saturday night.

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