It was about friends.
It was about memories.
It was also a chance for the former students and graduates of Wheeler High School to help keep alive a beloved school that closed more than 60 years ago.
By Brad Mosher
Once again, St. Marys by the Sea became a one-day home for the former Wheeler Loggers to hold a reunion Thursday in Rockaway Beach.
According to one of the organizers, Shirley Magnuson, more than 45 people attended. “They didn’t have to graduate. We have grade school kids who have come, along with their families. Sometimes, the daughters and sons bring their moms and dads.
“We had finger food for all day and a hot meal for lunchtime,” she added. “We are here from 8 in the morning to about 4:30 in the afternoon. We do a lot of visiting and feel like teenagers for a day.”
The reunion has been going on for about 25 years, most recently using the catholic church in Rockaway Beach as its home.
But, that wasn’t always the case, according to some of the alumni. They were telling stories about the time years ago when the reunion was held outside at rest area on a local highway.
It was also a chance again to recall their times at the school which closed down in 1953, said Magnuson, a 1952 graduate.
Along the wall, they had pictures from earlier reunions posted for the people and their families to look at. On one table, there were old scrapbooks with newspaper clippings and photos for the people to look at again.
There was an old newspaper clipping of the Wheeler High School football team which had a very successful unbeaten season, with victories over Seaside (61-0), Garibaldi, a Tillamook reserves team and Nehalem.
They also had a clipping of a story and photo which included a formerWheeler principal who was a member of a Willamette University football team that was temporarily trapped in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was attacked in Dec. 1941.
The reunion will be repeated again next September in the same location again, according to Magnuson.
This year, Magnuson said that they had a graduate from both the Class of 1944 and 1946. Still, many of the former classmates noted how little they had changed over the years.
“He’s still a Brackenbrough,” one woman said with a smile as she said goodbye to a former classmate Thursday afternoon.
Others were spending most of the time at the reunion just visiting, engaged in conversations about old times, old schools and old friends.
Some of those conversations will be continued again next September, when the former Wheeler Loggers will meet again.