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Happy Days revisited
When they first discussed the possibility of publishing a history of the Sequim High class of 1962, publisher John McClurken and editor Judy Stipe discovered they had two different ideas for the book.
The two old classmates disagreed on the scope of the project.
"He thought pamphlet, I thought full-blown book," Stipe said.
Well, hardly a pamphlet. McClurken had in mind a "book with no more than 200 pages and maybe 100 or so pieces of art."
In Judy's hands, that turned into a mammoth 356 pages and 800 pieces of art, all packaged in a fine, large-format hardcover book.
"Out of Dreams Into Realities" (the book's title is the Class of 1962's motto) provides more than remembrances from school days, although there is plenty of that, including reprints of the class history, class photos and even the second-graders' letters to Santa.
The book also provides the life history of dozens of the classmates, along with hundreds of their photographs.
Though that quick sketch may suggest the book is too specifically targeted to be of wide interest, it is in fact a fine history of Sequim as told by the people who lived through its most recent, and most dynamic, years.
A little history
Stipe said the class was witness to any number of crucial moments in the development of modern Sequim.
In 1949, they enrolled in kindergarten in the brand new Sequim Elementary School. After more than 60 years of service, the school building, which is deteriorating, was this year largely abandoned.
Several of the students in the Class of 1962 started their school careers at the Dungeness School. In 1955 they were bused for the first time to Sequim schools.
Stipe noted the Dungeness was the last outlier to be taken into the Sequim schools, with Blyn and Carlsborg going before.
In 1961, the first bridge over the Hood Canal opened, bringing in outsiders in theretofore unheard-of numbers.
In 1962, that change was accelerated by advertisements in Readers Digest, Sunset magazine and The New York Times, all touting Sequim as a sunny paradise.
"The people came in and the farmers went out," Stipe said.
She laughed. "There were bumper stickers that said, 'Welcome to Sequim. Now go home.'"
Before the bridge, everyone wore "dairy stripes," Stipe said. Now the city is "full of professionals, retired people with money."
"Growing up in Sequim in the 1940s and 1950s could be described as the 'wonder years,'" Stipe said.
"We had freedoms that no longer exist for kids today. It was an innocent and simple time when family and school were the center of our world."
Of course there was the other side; in 1962 alone, Stipe wrote, the class endured the Cuban Missile Crisis and read about Marilyn Monroe's death from a drug overdose.
The book, published by McClurken's Mountain State Publishing firm, is now available from Pacific Mist Books, the Museum & Arts Center in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley and through Amazon.com.
While the book has hundreds of photos, there were more that simply wouldn't fit. Stipe shared some of her favorites from the book and from her personal files.