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1942 grads reunite for 70th anniversary reunion
Seventy-plus-year-old memories of days at Ceres High School were shared by the remaining members of the class of 1942 who reunited once again.

About 14 members of the class gathered Saturday, May 19 for a 70th anniversary reunion held at Appetiz restaurant in Modesto. The 14 are among about 20 left out of 60 graduates.

"We only had about 300 in the whole school at Ceres High School back then," said Marian Gondring Sanders. "Ceres had only one grammar school and no junior highs."

The group gathered at 11:30 a.m. for lunch, followed by reminiscing and sharing of memories.

Former classmates attending were Norma Jean Franzi Bullard, Don Young, Mary Jean Barrows Jennings, Joe Sparling, Florence Herndon Young, Marian Gondring Sanders and husband Jim Sanders, Robert Whitmore, Chuck Goodrich, George Lake, Alene Landreth Lander, Anita Kaiser Wagner, Annabelle Bryant Newkirk Jauregui and Noboru Ishida.

Two members who couldn't attend - Blanche Kimoto Baler of Michigan and Mildred Bunce McRivette - sent their greetings.

"There weren't any walkers, of course, but a few canes," laughed Marian Sanders. She added some came with spouses, some with an adult child and others alone.

Of those who were present with spouses, all have been married for at least 50 years. Marian and Jim Sanders were married in 1948. Don Young of Santa Barbara has been married to his wife for 67 years.

Many members of the class led successful lives but none made "big headlines," said Sanders, who lives in Modesto. "We were ordinary people who tried to live like we were taught."

"We were all born in either 1924 or 1925. The areas of Stanislaus County were mostly an agrarian society and we worked in fruits or cutting sheds or fields. School started after Labor Day to allow us to finish work."

Many of the graduates got involved in military service since the United States had plunged into World War II on Dec. 7, 1941 as the class of 1942 was midway through their senior year. Jim Sanders served as an ambulance driver on European battlefields and recently wrote of his experiences in his book, "Saving Lives, Saving Memories."

At least two members of the class of Japanese descent, Noboru Ishida and Blanche Kimoto Baler, were ushered off with their families to Japanese internment camps on the west coast as ordered by President Roosevelt. Later Blanche became a doctor. Ishido served in the Army.

Joe Sparling found success as a physicist who worked a while for NASA.

During the reunion, the aged classmates took turns sharing memories of school days and provided a thumbnail sketch of how they spent their lives and careers.

Marian Sanders was recounting every grade school teacher, noting that eight in the room started out in Ceres Grammar School together.

"I can remember all of my grade school teachers so I just went down and started remembering things. I started noticing that by 2:30 it looked like it was approaching nap time. I never got beyond telling about fourth grade."

Sanders remembered that some of the teachers who enriched her life at Ceres High School included Frances Maino, business teacher Virginia Devore Brownton, and typing teacher Cecile Wooley Russell, who later became a counselor at Modesto's Downey High School. She remembers that Aaron Cakebread was principal in the second half of the senior year. Marian Sanders said she liked Mr. Cakebread who later went to work in Hollister.

Students also produced a campus newspaper.

The class first reunited in 1972 but now reunites every 10 years.