First, it was so nifty to be 50 that the four friends from the Klamath Union High School class of 1959 decided to get together, celebrate, then do it again in five years.
Fat chance they’d wait that long. They had so much fun the first year, they decided to do it again the following year. And the next. And the next.
And that’s pretty much how it’s been for the last 22 years. During that period, they’ve missed only one annual reunion, in 2011.
This year, they found their way to Hood River, and stayed a week at the Hood River Hotel. Now in their third decade of reunions, the friends have adjusted the name they casually use to describe themselves. Nifty to be Fifty became Nifty to be Sixty became Nifty to be Seventy.
Jancy Potterf, who lives in Eugene and organizes most of the events, picked Hood River for this year’s visit.
“I usually organize them,” she says, “and we usually do them in the fall.”
Because they missed the fall 2011 reunion, Potterf and friends decided to move up the date for the 2012 get-together.
Joining Potterf were Linda Lee from Los Angeles; Teresa Potterf (Jancy’s daughter), Eugene; Stella Rose, Santa Barbara; and Stephie Pickett, Gig Harbor, Wash.
They get around. Past visits have included Lake Shasta (“But the private house boat was so big,” Potterf says, “we never left the dock.”), Black Butte near Sisters in central Oregon, Santa Barbara three times, Hawaii, Crater Lake, Arizona, Lake Tahoe, Orcus Island in Washington’s Puget Sound, Lake of the Woods, Manzanita, Yachats twice, Seaside, Applegate/Jacksonville, the Bohemia Mountains, and Sunriver.
Hood River was on the radar. Potterf and her husband visited two years ago, spent a night, rode the Mt. Hood Railroad up the valley toward Mt. Hood, vowed to return.
From May 16 to 22, she and her friends booked one of the hotel’s suites, so all could stay in the same space.
“We were especially fond of our room,” she says. “It felt like a little apartment.”
Well, it is, kind of. Room 206 has queen and a double bed, a queen sofa bed, and the option of adding a roll-away. It has two bathrooms, and a kitchenette. During their visit, they attended the 2012 Columbia Gorge Wine & Pear Fest, staged at the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum. They also took a drive to the Tom McCall Preserve at Rowena, but didn’t have time to visit Maryhill Museum and Skamania Lodge.
She’s thinking they may have to come back to Hood River, to finish seeing what they missed.
“I helped your economy a lot,” Potterf says, with a laugh. “We ate at every place in town that we could. I got to know Maureen at Pacifica real well.”
She had high praise for several staff members at the Hood River Hotel. One, Whitney Munoz, joined the ladies to watch “American Idol” on the big-screen TV on our mezzanine level.
“Everyone was so nice to us,” Potterf says.
Glad to hear it, Jancy. We’ll have your room ready when you and your buddies return.