In spite of initial missteps from a diversity of causes, once Jana Huolt took charge, a very creditable and indeed enjoyable weekend of events took place, with over 130 “Classmates” from as early as 1947 to as recent as 2012 attending!
Friday evening, a gleeful crowd was met and cheerfully greeted and decked out in a weekend bracelet, at the bottom of the stairs of the “Firehall Brewery” pub.
Enticing samosas, pakoras and other tasty snacks awaited us inside, as we began to actually “meet and greet”. The lucky ones found seats in air-conditioned splendour. Others milled about outside apparently relatively undaunted by an ever-so-smokey atmosphere. Of course, aside from meeting and greeting, an added attraction outside was a table of yearbooks e.g. Okana-Qen, covering almost all the years. Thanks to the Oliver Archives for this!
Saturday morning started with an Open House so kindly arranged by the bubbly Manager, Deb Martin, of the Frank Venables Theatre: a rare rural treasure!
This was followed by a tour of the SOSS.
In theory we toured in two groups: but numerous of us managed to separate or get a bit lost, only to be reunited with “everybody” to walk over to the industrial arts / shop / auto mechanics area. Fun discussion: this building was presented to us as the “old” or “original” industrial arts etc. area. But some of us from even earlier years knew that before that woodworking and metal working were across the hall from each other in the same building as the rest of the school. It was fun to air-sketch which rooms were where: typing, biology, chemistry around the corner ( Mr. Bowering’s domain: and one of his grandsons attended his tour with wife and babe-in-arms), staff room and office, etc etc. The last stop was the separate music building. Over 60 interested former students attended these visits.
In the evening came the gala dinner in the Oliver Community Centre,with music (some even danced), and thanks to generous donors of this “Wine Capital of Canada “, free wine for each table and a multitude of draw-prize wine bottles. I invited and cajoled others who had Gar McKinley as music teacher to join me at the mike. Together , with words thankfully provided for each table, we belted out our old school song, “Throughout the years may this or song bring memories of happy days of old…” etc. And quite a number joined in the final chorus, at least the second time through: “Who are we, ra ra ra ? We’re the SO-High!”
The ” grand prize” was a draw for sequence number of those registered. Number 1 was drawn by Jack Becker, the oldest grad present, and as I was the first to have registered, Bev and I received a generous gift certificate for a night’s stay and special dinner at the Walnut Beach Resort in Osoyoos! (see picture above)
The weekend ended with a Sunday picnic beside the bandshell. Another opportunity to meet and greet.
Quite a surprise for us to be greeted on entering the lower level of the “Firehall Brewery” for the opening “Meet and Greet” Friday, Aug. 11 evening, by Chris and Hugh Reid, whom we knew from our Pakistan years with CIDA (1989-1991). Chris living in Osoyoos as a child came to Oliver to attend SOHS for high school, back then.
As visitor from Lethbridge, Alberta ( with my wife, Bev), and member of the “Class of 1960”, I was able to renew old acquaintances and friendships as well as meet and interact with former Oliver students over the decades! Well worth our trip!