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Manteca High Class of 1945 gathering
Manteca High School students from the class of 1945 include, front row from left, Laverne Proctor, Carol Santiago, Beverly Williams; second row, Harvey Smith, Helen Rothlin, Doris Wisdom, Mary Marchitelli, Marian Manning; back row, Tom Hawkins, Leo Garcia, Ernie Bobson, Ted Poulos, Eileen Webber, Phil Rodoni, Doug Brodie, Rose Gelderman, Bea Durao and Pete Fiore. - photo by Photo Contributed
The Manteca High Class of 1945 was a close-knit group of 70 kids that frequented the Scoop News stand on West Yosemite Avenue with their eyes on the ice cream bar.  The El Rey Theatre that had opened eight years earlier in 1937 was their other focus for fun and entertainment.

The teens of the mid-‘40s would also hang out at the Creamery across from the Scoop as the Southern Pacific trains would rumble by with some stopping at the nearby station.  Few had cars in 1945 when gasoline was still rationed for the war effort.  No new cars had been manufactured after the war broke out in 1942.

The remaining class members will gather for their 65th reunion Saturday, Sept. 25, at Isadore’s Restaurant with the theme, “Where Does the Time Go?”

Tom Hawkins, Pete Fiore and Leo Garcia were in the Navy along with others.  Bill Castillo was already in the Army at graduation where he was seriously injured and won the Silver Star for gallantry and heroism.  

A machine gunner on the front lines Castillo was awarded three combat stars, and was involved in the Battle of the Bulge.  He was then moved to Central Europe and finally to Germany.  Castillo spent 15 months in a military hospital before returning home.

The graduation ceremonies were held in the old auditorium, but only some 20 attended and those receiving diplomas in hand were mostly girls – many of the boys had signed up for military service.

Some 19 years ago four of the women from the Class of 1945 met for lunch to reminisce deciding they should get together every year.  They organized reunions for the entire class for the 50, 55 and 60 year reunion celebrations and this year the sixty-fifth reunion at Isadore’s Restaurant.

Sunday after the reunion the class members are invited to the Historical Society’s Old Fashion Barbecue and Ice Cream Social to be held at Mick Founts’ Victorian home on North Union Road.  The price for tickets is $15.

For further information contact Eileen Mendosa at (209) 823-4776.