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Friendship spans decades for childhood pals
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They went to City Grammar School together as children and are still enjoying each other’s company in their senior years.
Five local ladies continue to remain friends through the decades and have now all turned 70 years old. To celebrate their milestone, the women decided to have lunch together to reminisce about old times.
“We’ve always talked about doing something as a group, but never got around to doing it,” said Melba Hillis. “You go your separate ways when you graduate high school and sometimes it’s hard to stay in touch. So I said we’re going to get together this year now that we’re all 70 and not make any excuses. I hope we can all do it again when we’re 71.”
The group became friends as girls at City Grammar School and includes Hillis, Judie Woodlee, Karleen Frazier, Julia Carter, and Judy Cook. They attended City Grammar School for eight years before becoming members of the first sophomore class at City High.
“I’m the only one who is still working,” said Woodlee in poking fun at the others. She’s a dispatcher at McMinnville Police Department.
“Oh no you’re not,” said Carter, a teacher of 45 years. “I still do some tutoring.”
All the ladies were members of the City High class of 1960 except for Hillis. She got married in 1959, moved to the country, and graduated from Irving College.
As a teacher for 45 years, Carter taught at Irving College, but she also moved around and worked as an educator in Nashville and New Jersey.
Cook has also done some traveling. She worked for years as a secretary in Gulf Shores, Ala., and has traveled outside the country doing mission work with her husband, Harold. The two operated Viola Valley Country Store for several years before deciding to close it.
“I don’t miss the long hours, but I miss all the people,” said Judy about operating a store.
Frazier did secretarial work for years at the alternative school. Hillis worked as a teacher’s aide mainly at Irving College, but also at West.
Back in the day, the girls enjoyed hanging out at Fat’s Drive-in and Charlie’s Drive-in. They also attended ball games and liked to go to the movies.