40 Year Reunion

Joe Rice, Heidi Leahy, Mel McCartney, John Spohn & Sharon Kniermin

Your 40th reunion committee,  Joe Rice, Heidi Leahy, Mel McCartney, John Spohn and Sharon Knierim,  started to work on our reunion about a year out. We mutually decided that a 3 day reunion was a must after so much success with our 36th reunion. All the feedback from our classmates was so positive from having 3 days to catch up with their friends.  Your committee had numerous phone calls, emails, and meetings to finalize what turned out to be the best attended and best overall reunion based upon your numerous comments and emails. Bob Ordas, class of 1970, came to our last few meetings to get a perspective of how we planned our reunion.  Bob offered to take all the great photo's that you will see on this page.

We used every means possible to reach all of our classmates to let them know about our upcoming reunion. Our reunion was announced on all of the numerous classmates websites.  We contacted the Ventura County Star which ran our reunion information along with our website. Camarillo High School was contacted so that anyone calling for info on our reunion could call us and it worked.  Lorelei Broshack called the high School and they gave her our phone number.  Three days later, she joined us at our 40th reunion. Thanks Lorelei !

The high school was kind enough to permanently put our website on their website along with our Facebook website.  You can view these two entries at Cam High's link
They even put our reunion website link on their page which was removed after our reunion.  We also inquired about putting our reunion on their big LED message board, which is located at the entrance to Cam High.  Check out these pictures which showed our reunion on Cam High's message board.  Camarillo High School was very cooperative in helping us get the word out about our reunion.

We started to get several inquiries from our classmates as many of them were coming into town early.  They were very excited and wanted to know where everyone could meet.  So we agreed to meet at Yolanda's Mexican Restaurant. We had about 30 classmates who showed up Thursday night.  What was interesting is that there were some classmates from the 70's who were having dinner and drinks the night we were there.  Some of them came out to say hello to us on the patio.

Our first official day of our reunion started at noon at El Tecolote.  Your reunion committee had decided to get there early to put our 40th reunion banner up and make sure they were ready for us.   We had planned to eat early as we knew we wouldn't have time once the reunion started.  Once again, our classmates were eager, as they started to arrive at about 11:15 am. Needless to say, we didn't  get our lunch as planned as the event went past 6pm.  The place was packed with about 200 classmates and teachers.  Several classmates from other years showed up to see their old friends.  Here is a bit of history about El Tecolote.

The Story of EL TECOLOTE:
The El Tecolote story begins in 1946, 50 years ago, in the neighboring community of Moorpark. A young man, fresh out of his World War II Uniform, decided to open a small restaurant, because there weren't any jobs available and he loved to cook. The night before he opened his new restaurant, the young man, Mike Loza, locked himself inside with a shotgun to make sure no one broke in and spoiled his opening. Mike couldn't close his eyes - the trees around the restaurant were full of owls! Mexican tradition considers the visit of an owl to be an omen of very bad luck, so to overcome the bad luck sure to follow, Mike promptly named his restaurant El Tecolote, The Owl. Mike moved El Tecolote to Camarillo, in 1948 to a small house a few blocks from its present location. The restaurant was so tiny there was always a long wait for one of the four tables. Finally, a frustrated customer offered to finance a larger building, and the first part of the current restaurant was opened in early 1952. The large dining room was added in 1957. Mike operated El Tecolote for 34 years.

In 1984, when Dave and Judy Jones re-opened El Tecolote,  Mike interrupted his retirement to help bring back his famous food. Dave and Judy have added a full cocktail bar for the pleasure of their guests, featuring eight great flavored Margaritas. Dave and Judy have continued to add new menu items, and constantly strive to maintain a friendly, casual atmosphere, and the finest in food and service. Welcome to El Tecolote, and THANK YOU for your patronage and friendship. Since Dave and Judy it has been sold again.

Many of the Today Generation and members from other choral groups from Cam High got together for a lunch at Bandits.  They met from 11am - 1pm. Bandits is located midway on Ventura Blvd in Camarillo.  Bandit's was formerly Margarita's Mexican Restaurant in the 60's and then became the Hitching Post in the 70's.  The setting worked well for the group as you can see by the pictures.  It was great reconnecting with others we had not seen - in some cases - for decades!  We caught up with stories of places lived and things done, children and grandchildren, and the adventures we've had over the years.  There were the inevitable tough times and the losses we shared too.  But mostly, it was just great fun to reconnect and catch up a bit.  Best of all, it was fun to reminisce.  We each remembered things that others had forgotten (or repressed!) and there were plenty of laughs to go around.  Lane Jochums was not able to be with us, as he is serving in Iraq.  However, his mother and wife joined us and it was great to have them!  We missed the others from the Today Generation, Choraliers and music department that could not make it to Camarillo for the weekend, but were grateful for the opportunity to touch base with those who were there.

We had planned an informal get together at Camarillo High School.  It was from noon till 2 for anyone who wanted to attend.  We planned a lunch on the Senior patio and then touring the school.  It brought back many memories for our classmates.  It appears from the pictures that some of them were acting like they were back in High School, while others stepped up as leaders...lol.  It was a fun time had by all as they strolled the hallways once again, looked over their 69 annuals and visited their old classrooms.

This was our big main event during  our 4 day reunion.  This required the most planning from our reunion team.  We met a few times with the manager, Camille, who did a fantastic job along with her staff.  All night long our classmates had such positive comments regarding the food, servers and what a GREAT place this was to hold our main event. We had around 170 classmates who kept coming through the night. Our classmates started to arrive early at 5:30 as they were excited to see their old friends. The event was from 6pm to midnight, but it went well beyond.  They had a nice sound system which allowed us to use our iPod for some great songs from 1964 - 1969. The weather couldn't have been better as it was in the high 70's when our event started.

Sharon Knierim did a great job with the balloons which were in our school colors.  Unfortunately, the strobe light Sharon rented never made it's appearance.  Heidi Leahy did a very nice job making up our Camarillo High School banner which was displayed at El Tecolote, Camarillo's football game and Aloha Steak house.  Heidi came up with a great idea of making "scorpions" out of colored wire in Cam High colors.  They looked incredible as Heidi made several for table decorations which many of our classmates snatched for their home decorations. Heidi also bought some Lava Lamps, which were displayed  on the patio Saturday night, adding great ambience.  Mel McCartney got some nice blue and silver stars to put on the white table cloths to help decorate the tables and added some nice candles in the bathrooms. Joe Rice and John Spohn helped get the rest of the odds and ends pulled together.

We were to have taken everyone's picture as they arrived.  Unfortunately, the crowd grew outside due to the great weather, and with so many old friends saying hello to one another, that we missed many of our classmates. 

The final day of our great reunion at the beautiful Pierpont Inn. Our brunch started at 11am so we could gather one last time and say our goodbyes until our next reunion.  The Pierpont Inn is a beautiful place to visit with it's great ocean views and lush landscaping.  We had lots of time to visit, as about 50 classmates join us for a very nice brunch. After Brunch,  we explored the beautiful grounds surrounding the Pierpont Inn, which proved to be an ideal setting for our group photo.  Some of our classmates needed to leave to catch their flights back home.  Others of us stayed and listen to Sally Spiro playing the piano.  Many of our classmates joined in and sang along with Sally. Our plan is to do this again in 5 years, so stay tuned and thanks for joining us for our 40th reunion!