“It’s a Date 2008, the Class of ‘58 Reunion” is Oct. 25 at the Spirit of Washington Event Center, 233 Burnett Avenue S. in Renton. Check in at 5 p.m., appetizers at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. RSVP to Averil Alexander, 425-255-5023, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Sharon Leonard Clymer, 623-533-2254, email@example.com.
Renton High School was a different place in 1958. It was a place of sock hops and football games, of hall patrol and weekends spent cruising the Renton Loop, chowing down at the Triple X and catching flicks at The Rainier and The Roxy. It was also a place of rules.
“There were a lot of rules,” says Beth Menzel, ‘58 graduate.
Girls couldn’t wear pants, even to school football or basketball games. If the school librarian caught you chewing gum, that gum would end up stuck to your nose or behind your ear.
But students didn’t object to the rules, Menzel says.
“It was just totally different,” she says. “We liked school. The kids liked being presentable.”
Renton High was the only district high school at the time, and there weren’t any middle schools. That made Menzel and her classmates a close-knit group.
“It was really like that old TV group with Fonzie,” Menzel says. “We had an awesome time in school. Everybody enjoyed school.”
Menzel was a member of choir, and Girl’s club, like all Renton High girls. The boys belonged to Boy’s Club.
Renton High had cliques, admits ‘58 graduate Mike Dire. “But there was never like a bad apple or good barrel of apples,” he says. “There was no animosity. Everybody got along.”
Dire’s small frame barred him from playing on the school football team, so he was team manager instead. He still has his crimson class sweater with an M for manager stitched onto the R for Renton.
Boeing planes flew right over Renton’s football field at that time, rattling the whole school.
Many Renton High parents owned downtown Renton’s businesses, which included Broom Burgers, which sold 19 cent burgers and 10 cent malt shakes, and The Hut, filled with jujubes and other candy. There was also A and H drug stores, where many students grabbed lunch, especially when the lunchroom was closed during a remodel.
Dire and Menzel will be among the revelers at the Class of 1958 50-year reunion in October.
“It’s going to be a great event,” Menzel says of the reunion, which she’s helping plan. “We want people to bring photos, bring cameras, bring annuals. It’s going to be a great reunion.”
Emily Garland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (425) 255-3484, x. 5052.