BILLINGS – It’s no argument that 1969 was a watershed year for many Americans: gasoline cost 35 cents a gallon, the average cost of a new home was $15,500, a new car might run about $3270 (the Toyota Corona cost $1950), and the Dow was at 800.
It was also a pivotal time in our history. The Vietnam War was at its height, protests occurred throughout the country, Pontiac introduced its ultimate American muscle car, the Firebird Trans Am, and Sesame Street made its debut.
It will be a memory-filled weekend for graduates of Billings Senior High as the Class of 69 comes back in town to celebrate its 50th reunion.
MTN’s Jay Kohn, Senior High Class of 70, went on a trip down memory lane…
“I’m here at Billings Senior, my old stomping grounds, the home of the Mighty Broncs, seething with memories of the late ’60s in Billings,” Kohn said.
The Class of 69 holds its 50th reunion to celebrate memories, friendships and recollections of Billings half a century ago…
Graduate Judd Witherspoon said, “We used to sneak up the cracks in the Rims and come up here to play pinball at the airport. They had an arcade in the basement, you remember that?”
Jay Kohn asked graduate Karen Waddell to give him a top memory of her high school days at Senior.
“It was trying to keep all this hair under control,” Waddell said.
“But you fit right in with 1969,” Kohn replied.
She answered, “not really, it was the time of Twiggy.”
In addition to a golf tournament and a mixer at the Hilands Club Friday evening, the highlight was a school bus trip down memory lane. For some of these old Broncs, it was their first view of Billings in decades.
“The church we started at was the neighborhood I grew up in. I knew most of the kids in that neighborhood, more than the city’s industrialists, it was a great place to grow up,” said Jeff Barrow.
Linda Pawley said “Just being back here and feeling my roots, I realize that I may have cut the tree down, but the roots are still there. I’m a Billings girl through and through.”
Not only was 1969 the year of the moonwalk, but it was also a memorable year across the board. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was at the movies, the 5th Dimension’s “Age of Aquarius” topped the charts, and the first ATM machine was introduced.
Hard to believe – that was 50 years ago.
Saturday’s reunion events include a tour of Senior High’s famous murals and a class picnic at the Shrine Auditorium.
Reporting by Jay Kohn for MTN News