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Jayne Mansfield Blew Him a Kiss in 1966 and Wife Penny Finally Gets to March in 2001

It was 1966 (I think), and I wanted to add to my collection of Rose Festival slides. Our girls were excited as their mother helped them dress for the occasion. This would be a day to remember! Driving from Southeast Portland, we were on the streets in time to get a good viewing spot, right near the Charles F. Berg's shop.

As the floats passed by I clicked away with my 35mm Argus, not thinking about saving film. This year's floats and celebrities would make a great addition to my slide collection! Up the street I heard whistles and cheers indicating a celebrity, but who was it?

As the float got closer, I peered above the crowd to see a platinum blonde in a glamorous outfit -- it was Jane Mansfield! I walked closer to her float and she posed for me. Among my buddies, I knew I would have a real collector's item -- a rare photograph of Jane Mansfield posing. I checked the shutter and speed and took the shot.

Oh, no -- I was out of film! I gestured to her that I was out of film. The crowd behind me laughed and Miss Mansfield blew me a kiss. Truly a Rose Festival to remember!

My wife Penny finally got her chance to march in a Grand Floral Festival Parade! As a majorette, she'd been scheduled to march in the parade during the 1951 Rose Festival, with the Sweet Home high school marching band. However the band director got sick so their participation was cancelled.

Fifty years later our granddaughter, Ashley St. Clair, was slated to appear in the 2001 Rose Festival with the Beaverton high school marching band -- but as a result of a birth defect, she was limited as to how far she could march. Two years earlier she'd marched with her school band at the Gator Bowl Parade, playing her father's trumpet (which he had played in Europe and at Carnegie Hall).

But the Grand Floral Parade route was longer. Could she endure the distance?

Her band director offered a solution -- Ashley could help carry the school banner, with Grandma and Grandpa trailing behind with her wheelchair, should she need it. As the band was marching up Broadway a TV cameraman and crew filmed both Ashley and her Grandma Penny! Ashley finished the parade -- and so did Grandma, fifty years late! As I glanced out the corner of my eye, I could see a vision of Penny high stepping in her white boots and twirling her baton -- if only in my mind! Another Rose Festival we'll all remember!

~Donald Alanen (Beaverton, Oregon)

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