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April 30th, 2007

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The Junior Parade in the 1950's and 60's

I live in New York City now, but I grew up in NE Portland on 54th Street, between Broadway and Hancock -- and my greatest memory of the Rose Festival is of the Junior Parade in the late 1950's and '60's.

In those days there was a Junior Court and I tried out for Junior Prince from my grade school (St. Rose) -- but the nun in charge said I made too many faces, so I was eliminated! I do recall going to a Junior Court event in a dance studio over what is now Trader Joe's in the Hollywood district. (It might have been the Junior Queen Coronation -- or maybe the selction of the prince and princess from that part of Portland. But I recall the Junior Court all marching in two by two!)

The day of the Junior Parade was always a very big event on NE 54th. Even if schools wasn't officially closed for the summer, they were all closed for parade day!

The streets in our neighborhood were blocked off from Broadway north to Sacramento as the bands, twirling groups and other assorted marchers lined up in formation in front of our house and on the surrounding blocks. One year it was so warm we took our garden hose out to the curb for the thirsty kids to drink from as they waited to march up 54th Street.

One exciting year the Junior Court raced up Broadway in their white Pontiacs on their way to the parade, escorted by Multnomah County Sheriff officers on their green motorcycles!

I also particapted in the parade several times, usually decorating my bike with crepe paper and whatever flowers we could find. Once when the theme was "Famous Firsts," my grandfather built a platform to fit over our red wagon so that I could pull one of my younger brothers (Peter) in the parade. He was dressed up as a Chinese Emperor -- courtesy of my mother's sewing machine! I called him "First Chinese King," but I'm not sure where the inspiration for that came from! We put chicken wire around the platform and decorated our float with red roses gleaned from plants growing up neigborhood telephone poles, along with peonies from my mother's garden and roses from neighbor's gardens. Back in those days many people in Portland had their parking strips planted with rose bushes, and had climbing red roses on their telephone poles.

We won some sort prize that year, which allowed us to pick out a gift from Vic's Hobby Shop in the Hollywood district. We marched all the way down to the end of the parade to the Grant Bowl where we got Dixie cups (vanilla and orange ice cream) and something to drink. This was all a lot of fun -- up until that long walk home from Grant High School back to 54th Street! (I think I have a picture of a forlorn looking Peter sitting on his "throne" somewhere...)

In later years I became part of a gang that got up at the crack of dawn to stake out our position for viewing the Grand Floral Parade. We were there by 6:00 a.m. on parade day and knew every place for blocks around that let you use their bathrooms! Our preferred location was on SW Salmon, between 6th Avenue and Broadway, on the south side of the Hilton Hotel -- across from a tall parking deck.

My mother also grew up in NE Portland and partcipated in early Junior Rose Parades back in the 30's.

Such great memories!

~Dan Garrow
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Her Grandfather Rode in the Grand Floral Parade

My Grandfather, an Oregon Centenarian who lived to be 104 years old, rode in the Grand Floral Parade! Harrison Eastman was born on January 27th, 1903 in Clastkanie. He recently passed away on the first day of Spring on March 21, 2007, after enjoying almost 40 years of retirement in Bend.

The following is an selection from the book "An Oregon Centenarian: Tribute to Harrison Eastman."

Harrison was an avid horseman, riding in rodeos and drill teams. If there was a horse around, that is where he would be. He belonged to the Oregon Trail Riders Drill Team and rode in the "Parade of Nations," and was a member of the Walla Walla Drill Team.

Harrison joined the Shriners Mounted Patrol and wanted to buy a new horse. He traveled out to Forest Grove and decided on a Tennessee walking horse named "Big Red." When he saw Big Red, he just knew that was the horse he wanted. With horsemanship forever in his blood, he dressed up like an Arabian Knight and rode Big Red in the City of Portland Rose Parade. HCE said, "When they lined up for the parade, and the music started, that horse could dance!"

~Kris Wobbe
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Mom was Junior Queen in 1938

Our Mom, Diane Soles, was Junior Queen in 1938, from Joseph Lane Grade School. The Coronation took place in the auditorium of Benson High School and the float she rode in the parade was a beautiful butterfly float! Back in that era the festival was much more formal and elegant.

To this day we still have the beautiful dresses that Mom wore. We can remember our grandmother telling us the story about Grandpa putting Mom on his shoulders and parading her up and down Foster Road after she won because he was so proud of her. Mom often shared that exciting year that she reigned as the junior princess with us, sparking our interest in being part of Rose Festival activities -- especially the Grand Floral Parade.

Every year we find our spot in downtown Portland to watch the parade. One time I remember there were people throwing money out the windows of the downtown buildings into the street. My brother, sisters and I ran into the street to grab whatever we could get our hands on. It was great entertainment while waiting for the parade to start!

This Centennial year our family plans to visit the Rose Garden where Mom planted a rose bush to commemorate the Rose Festival for Southeast district #6 -- hopefully it's still growing and blooming!

Thanks for the memories Rose Festival!

~The Diane Soles Family
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86-year-old Mom is a Battle Ground Float Volunteer

My Mom, Mona Shotswell, was raised in Kalama and Longview, but in the early years it was not normal to travel to Portland -- especially to see a parade.

In 1940, she attended her first parade with her little six-month-old son sleeping peacefully through all the bands and parade noises. Mom, Dad and Ralph sat on the curb on Broadway on a beautiful and hot, sunny day. She has attended many parades since then!

Now, 67 years later -- at the age of 86 -- she is a daily volunteer decorating the Battle Ground, Washington float. She's especially proud of playing a big part in decorating the 2006 Grand Floral Parade Sweepstakes Award winning Battle Ground float!

And she'll be there for the 2007 Centennial Parade, sitting on the curb cheering on the bands and enjoying the floats.

From a proud daughter who is also a BG petal pusher!

~Nadine Ayers
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Serving as Prince Sammy on the 1962 Junior Court

Back in 1962, I came on stage at Lincoln Park Elementary school wearing my patched-at-the-knees jeans, and ended up being picked to represent our grade school at David Douglas High School for the District 7 Junior Court.

I gave my memorized speech about a conversation between a son and his father and I got selected -- along with 'my' princess, Lori Jeans. (She was selected from the Madison school district on that same stage.) We were then rushed into the Royalty of the Junior Court and now called Princess Lori and Prince Sammy.

We spent lots of time together, going from event to event. We gave more speeches, learned to walk upright, bow and curtsy -- of course we boys learned to tip our straw hats and wear white gloves.

I even played the piano and the saxophone on a local radio station at one luncheon. We rode in white convertibles -- often with the top down since that spring was an unusually sunny one -- and waved from our float in the Junior Parade and again in the Grand Floral Parade with Queen Marcia and her Prime Minister Tommy from District 6.

There were 8 districts in all, so we rode second to last. It was always in order, except for the Queen and Prime Minister, who were always first. Our chauffeurs were all women -- ours was 'Auntie Evelyn,' and we just loved her! She'd pick me up at my house and my four sisters would wave me off with Mom's hugs and reminders to be good -- and Daddy taking movies. Then we'd talk on the way to Princess Lori's house, where I learned to go to the door, ask for her and visit with her large family, then escort her back to the car and open the door for her on her side of the back seat. Then I'd get in on 'my side' and we'd be taken all over Portland to so many activities.

I got to see so much of Portland that I'd never seen before and just loved it all. We even got to plant a rose in the Portland Rose Garden!

Lori and I carried autograph books, and over the spring and summer we got to meet the Mayor of Portland, Terry Shrunk, and the major guests brought in for this year's festival, including Television's Sky King and Jay North as the Grand Marshal -- better known as child-star 'Dennis the Menace.' Jay rode with us on the Junior Court float in the Grand Floral Parade.

Our year was also the year of the 100 Year celebration of Oregon's statehood, so we had events out in Damascus where they reenacted Oregon's pioneer beginnings.

I was 10 years old that year, so after that I put it mostly behind me to concentrate on school, piano, swimming and family. I had great teachers through elementary and junior high school -- and later in high school at David Douglas. I pushed myself and they pushed me. I've learned to love the piano, and took lessons from Bud Young, a Portland jazz pianist for my four high school years. I got to be a part of two state championship swim teams at David Douglas, and got to go on to college at Stanford University, following my older sister Susan there. My dream to come back to Portland came true and

I studied medicine for four years at OHSU and married my incredible wife Nancy one month before graduation in 1978.

Our first date in 1977 included riding the ferris wheel set up along the waterfront for Rose Festival. We were arm-in-arm as we admired the float of the Grand Marshal for '77, Trailblazer Coach Jack Ramsey. We said "Hi" to the Junior Princesses while they patiently waited for their turn in the Grand Floral Parade. (I did notice the absence of their escort Princes, though. [The Junior Princes were dropped in the late '60's.])

Thanks so much, Rose Festival, for how generously and graciously you treated all of us on the Junior Court -- and for getting me off on my own start into adulthood. My family has great memories from that special summer and they encouraged me to write and share!

~Sam A. Booth, M.D.
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Mom was a Grand Floral Parade Flag Bearer in the 1950's

For many years my Mom, Dolly Ruble, was a member of the American Legion -- and some of the women were the flag bearers at the beginning of the Grand Floral Parade. I can remember my Mom marching in a white dress with a red lining and a large red rose on the front of her outfit. The women wore white hats with red or white plumes. My Mom was one of the smallest, so she usually marched on the outside, but she also carried the flag.

I can remember being so proud to see her marching in step with the other women! She was beautiful! In those days all parade spectators stood and were quiet for the color guard. At one time we had an 8 x 10 photo that I believe also appeared in The Oregonian, but I'm not sure if Mom still has that picture. But I do believe my Mom is the last one alive who was in that group. They marched for a number of years.

Mom still lives in Portland and now watches the parade on TV.

~Judy Rankin
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She Was Queen for the 50th Anniversary of Rose Festival in 1958

During the 'golden' decade in 1958, I was crowned Queen of Rosaria, during the 50th anniversary of the Portland Rose Festival.

Those years of the '50's have been deemed the 'happy days' -- at school we wore white blouses with peter pan collars, skirts, sweaters and white buck shoes. The Rose Festival was in full bloom -- and little did I know while gazing wistfully at the Queen's picture on the front page of the paper each year that someday my own picture would be there!

Our beautiful Princess gowns were of gold lame, designed by Cahill (a famous designer). The Queen's gown was of fine white silk with gold embroidered flowers. Yards of fabric billowed gracefully and the dresses were supported by large hoop petticoats. For a month prior to the festival we toured the city, Mount Hood, Horsetail Falls and attended luncheons where we introduced ourselves.

The Coronation was held in the old Multnomah stadium with a cheering crowd of twenty-two thousand people. David Rose conducted the orchestra and both Esther Williams and Guy Williams (then known as "Zorro" -- and the Grand Marshal) were present. My heart was aflutter as I received two and a half dozen American Beauty red roses during the stadium show, a kind gesture from Zorro!

At the Coronation each of us was escorted on the field in a golf cart, beautifully decorated as a slice of cake. When all were assembled together they represented a 50th anniversary cake. With a red face I must confess that my hoop petticoat became unhooked just as I was announced to the crowd! I had to get back in the cart and ride off the field for repairs, but I just kept on smiling and waving.

After the announcement backstage that I'd been chosen the new queen, I was briskly escorted to a trailer where I slipped into the beautiful fairytale Queen's gown. The presentation onstage was dramatic as each of us sat in the middle of a rose that was opened before the cheering crowd. The queen's rose was larger and located in the center. I remember sitting in the closed rose feeling alone, dazed and thrilled beyond words.

The year that followed was a busy one. My picture was in "Time" magazine, the article pointing out that since the first satellite had been launched the new emphasis would be on the sciences, not the light and the lovely! We all the events of the following decades. We've grown with them, celebrated them, cried over them --and our lives have changed with them. In my 50 years since the Portland Rose Festival where I was Queen, I've lived many places, formed many friendships, have had four children and four grandchildren.

The tradition of the Portland Rose Festival has continued and grown and is still a source of civic pride and joy. It's part of the history of our state and is known throughout our country.

Today I'm celebrating this beautiful festival with my friends and family -- and I'll bring out my old yellow-paged scrapbook to read to my grandchildren!

Thank you, Rose Festival, for sharing this lifelong treasure with me and so many others. This year the 100th anniversary will surely be the best!

~Ruth (Parrett) Gamble (1958 Queen)
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She Gave Many Volunteer Hours to the Rose Festival Over the Years

In the fall of 1971 a new high school opened in the area, Lakeridge High located in Lake Oswego. It was the first new school in the area in years, and the Rose Festival Association asked the school to participate in the Grand Floral Parade.

In late spring of '72 the Lakeridge high school marching band began rehearsals and having members fitted for band uniforms. At the time I had a number of friends in the band and they told me they were going to be marching, but the school had no funds for a 'band banner.'

Thinking this wouldn't be a difficult sewing task, I solicited my best friend Audrey Ellenburg and we volunteered to created the school's banner. Many hours were spent on old Singer portable sewing machine as we crafted a banner that went across five street lanes! Then with then band marching behind us we carried our creation in both the 1972 and '73 Grand Floral Parades.

After graduating high school I went to Portland State, where all four years I continued to volunteer. As a member of Phi Sigma Sigma Sorority we worked many hours building floats. Each year we were also on the guest list to help entertain the Canadian ships when they came to port with their officers in training, fellow college students. The highlight each year would be to drive a rental car one way to Astoria so we could board the ships and then cruise to Portland and welcome the sailors to town.

Years later one of my sons joined the Jackson Middle School band. As a parent volunteer I got to help as I marched along in the Junior Parade.

I finally got to sit and watch when my son Aaron marched for Wilson high school, carrying on the tradition of festival participation!

~Jackie Bacharach Lesch
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Remembering Court Director Bob Hanzen and Serving on the 1961 Court

We were the 1961 Rose Festival Court. To this day we remain friends, in part due to our court director, Bob Hazen, the first person who greeted us at each of our high schools. Little did we know that this voice we recognized from a Portland children's radio show, "The Squirrel Cage" would become task master, mentor and cheerleader for our personal and civic lives -- not only during the Rose Festival, but in our future years. He leaned on us to build character, courage and a bit of fearlessness. He succeeded.

Back in 1961, each high school would select a May Court. Then the entire school voted from the girls on this court to select the Rose Festival Princess. We didn't apply for the position, so it was often unexpected -- we were dazed to be so honored, quickly catching our breath. Within an hour we were whisked downtown to television interviews where we tried to answer questions such as, "This morning the United States invaded Laos -- do you have an opinion on that?" The outside world had arrived fast! For weeks we would field questions about the Viet Nam build up, the Cold War, the Cultural Revolution in China and so on. Just like today, 1961 was a complicated time...

Right off Bob told us we were a team -- that there would be no losers, only winners. Being on time was almost being late. Two Princesses shared one white convertible while within Portland, and the drivers -- who were from the only all-boys school, Benson -- picked us up each morning. Off we'd go to get dressed at the old Multnomah Hotel [Court headquarters for many years]. Bob then transported us all over the state, walking us into the offices of the governor, congressmen, mayors and into board rooms, banks, hospitals, schools and service clubs. We'd greet and host visitors, among them Connie Stevens, Lorne Greene (from "Bonanza"), other courts (including the Pendleton Roundup Court) and the Canadian Hockey team. Connie Palmer was our wonderful chaperone -- and she laughed and cried with us as we matured to meet the pressure.

What we learned from those few weeks was invaluable for our future lives. Suddenly no boundaries existed between those in powerful positions and us -- these were all good and approachable people. We learned we could walk in any door and express ourselves. We were not intimidated and our confidence grew. If Bob thought we were great and could do it, we figured we could -- and the more we did the better we became.

We were the first court not to have the Coronation in Multnomah Stadium (now PGE Park). Our Coronation was held at the Memorial Coliseum, and was a scary place with 10,000 people in attendance! Our year was the last time the "hoop" formals were worn, and we had to keep our balance on a jerky rotating stage. Only later would we realize that we were learning grace under pressure. The following week of the actual festival was wonderful.

Six years ago Bob invited our court to his home in Palm Desert. When we'd all arrived, he said, "Okay, do you remember what I taught you?" We all replied, "Pay Yourself First!" -- meaning take care of yourselves so you can help others. In finance terms, for every dollar earned put some into savings. He was ahead of the times in training girls to become independent and self-sufficient.

There were eleven of us and some in Portland still share in a book club.

We never felt demeaned by being called Princesses -- the title simply meant that besides being good students with career and college pressures looming, we had briefly entered an imaginary Camelot.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the Rose Festival. Sadly Bob Hazen died just a few months ago. He was truly a wind beneath young fledglings' wings.

We congratulate the festival for the excitement about the coming anniversary.

~The 1961 Court
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We Fell in Love After Meeting at the Rose Festival

I was a country girl from Boring, Oregon when I met my husband Mike at the Rose Festival in 1972 -- 35 years ago. He was in the Navy and serving aboard the USS Fox and had arrived with the Rose Festival fleet.

My girlfriend and I 'played hookey' from our chores and drove my '69 Camaro into Portland to watch the fleet arrive. We were dismayed to see our faces on the 6:00 news that evening -- and had lots of explaining to do to our folks!

Mike is originally from New Orleans where we still love to go to visit his wonderful family. But he fell in love with Oregon after sitting with me near the downtown fountains, talking about Tolkien for hours, walking down the tree-lined streets near Portland University, enjoying rides and the carnival on the waterfront and getting free beer wherever he went in town because he had his uniform on. We ate Longburgers at Dee's In 'n Out in Gresham and Mike to to see a bear beside Highway 212 (just outside Damascus) while on the way to my folks' house in Boring.

Through him I've fulfilled many of my high school dreams of travel to exotic places. We've lived in Northern and Southern California, Guam and Australia before he retired as a Navy Chief in 1988. Then we moved home to Oregon to raise our three kids in Eugene.

We'll celebrate our 34th anniversary on June 29th this year!

Yeah -- I still have the Camaro! It's been around the world with us and needs lots of work, but I still have it...

~Debra (Coates-Karlen) Burke
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Her Scout Group and the Junior Parade of 1964

Today I watched the Grand Floral Parade on TV and especially enjoyed folks sharing their past memories. Mine are so vivid I didn't need to get out my scrapbook (photo album), but I did, even so.

Many pages are filled with newspaper photos from The Oregonian of my Girl Scout's troop involvement in the Junior Parade.

Our entry was a BIG DEAL, because grade school students on the Southwest side of Portland were never involved in the East side parade in those days. Sure, there were Junior Princesses chosen, but they were sponsored by Booster Clubs. When I contacted the Rose Festival office at the time, I learned our Scout float would be a FIRST from District 8!

Our troop invited neighboring Scout troops and their siblings to join us in the fun as we prepared to participate in the Junior Parade. The Rose Festival theme that year was 'Between the Bookends,' so the girls designed and decorated their own float, incorporating their book merit badge -- in keeping with that year's theme.

All the children were asked to dress in costumes representing their favorite book. Some really creative kids even went to Alpenrose Dairy to borrowed small farm animals! We had 'Little Bo Peep' and her sheep and 'Heidi' and her goat! My son got a large box from a local appliance store and made it into the "The Little Engine that Could.

All the kids had the experience of a lifetime, and I have these great memories --not to mention all the ribbons and first class awards the Scouts won!

~Joan Woolard
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Her Mom Rode in the Grand Floral Parade in 1934

My mother, Violet Mattson, rode in the Grand Floral Parade in 1934. At the time she was a senior from Grant high school.

She doesn't remember exactly how she was chosen, but the sponsor of the float she rode was Safeway stores.

Years later she went to work for Safeway as an accountant in Bellevue, Washington. She retired from Safeway in l979 and just celebrated her 91
birthday in February!

~Jeanne Strater
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Helping Decorate the Hillsboro Float Plus Years of Marching In and Viewing the Grand Floral Parade

When I was a little girl back in the 1940's, my family always drove from Hillsboro to Portland to see the Grand Floral Parade. My father worked in the Failing building, which was located right on the parade route. First we'd go to his office, then we'd find the best place on the street nearby to watch the parade.

There were four children in our family, so it must have been quite an effort for my mother to get us all ready and keep us together!

I remember how much we appreciated the fact that all the floats were decorated with real flowers. One year we helped place flowers for the city of Hillsboro float.

During my four years in high school I marched and played as a member of the Hilhi band over the long route of the Grand Floral Parade. Once when it rained the entire time we were marching our uniforms ended up making our shirts turn blue -- and our hats stretched completely out of shape!

We didn't carry water bottles in those days, so when generous donors gave us Portland Punch to drink after the parade it was wonderful!

~Carolyn Wilcox Snyder
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An Eastmoreland 'Extended Family' Viewing the Grand Floral Parade

Families in Eastmoreland see Grand Floral Parade Day as a wonderful family-centered activity. All the 'Moms' get up at 4:30 a.m. and load designated vans with chairs and coolers.

The drivers take the vans to 'our section' on Fourth Avenue (along the parade route).

After setting up the chairs, the 'Moms' take off to find coffee, doughnuts and bathrooms! While waiting for the children and 'Dads' to arrive by Tri-Met (around 9:00 a.m.), we don our parade gear -- bright mylar hair, blinking hats and a variety of pom-poms!

The goal each year is to have our group end up photographed and in the newspaper! (It has yet to have happened...)

~Katy Neill
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Serving as a Princess on the 1958 Court and Looking for Her Fellow Princesses

There were 11 girls on the court in back 1958. We celebrated the 50th year of Rose Festival wearing beautiful Cahill golden gowns, and rode into the Civic Stadium on golf carts shaped like pieces of cake.

I'd love to encourage our whole court to gather for the 100 year celebration! But we've long ago lost contact with each other. I hope we can find each other during this Centennial year! I'd like to personally invite them to join with me in the fun.

~Roxanne Whitsell Sienkiewicz