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July 11th, 2007

ani, glitter

She Was a Junior Princess in the Early 1950's

One of my teachers sponsored me as a Junior Princess in the Rose Festival of 1950 or 1951. I believe I was eight years old at the time -- I'm now going on 65!

I remember being in a carriage drawn by two boys riding with my prince. My costume consisted of a purple and lavender sequined dress, cape and tiara that was ruined by the rain.

I also remember getting up in front of a huge audience in a theater and giving a speech to compete for the Queen's title -- but my voice was not strong enough to reach the back rows of the theater and I lost the competition.

Even though I did not win the title I gained a lifetime of memories. I don't have any pictures of the event, but I still have a picture of my prince and myself out of costume.

My name then was Myrna LaVonne Kragerud.

~Myrna L. Sills (Benton City, Washington)
ani, glitter

She Was the Official Junior Court Singer in the late 1940's and early 1950's

In the late 1940's and early '50's the Junior Court traveled with their own 'official' singer -- that was me, Dorothy Wymore.

During those days the princesses were selected first by height -- and even on top-toe I could never reach the mark! I was, however, almost always selected by my school to sing at the district princess selection -- as well as the Junior Queen Selection and Coronation.

By the time I was in the fifth grade, my parents were asked if I could travel with the Junior Court and sing at various venues, such as the Shriners Hospital, luncheons and the Peninsula Park Knighting ceremony. They were delighted, so I was able to be a 'princess' through my singing.

My regular duty was to sing "Only a Rose" -- and then present roses to some VIP in the audience. Over a period of several years I was privileged to present roses to a number of dignitaries who included Portland's first woman mayor, Dorothy McCulloch Lee, and popular recording artist Margaret Whiting (who visited in either '49 or '50). Margaret was here to introduce a new song for the festival entitled, "It Happened at the Festival of Roses" -- and I still have my autographed copy!

Speaking of songs, in 1947 KOIN Radio's Art Kirkham wrote a song for the Rose Festival titled. "For You a Rose In Portland Grows." The music was composed by Alfie Rutherford (of Rutherford's Root Beer fame) and the song was featured on KOIN radio during the 1948 Rose Festival celebration. (Unfortunately for the composers, the song never caught on. I also have a copy of this song, signed by Ms. Rutherford.)

I continued to sing through my freshman year at Grant High -- then made one final performance for the Senior Court during my own senior year at Grant high school. Though my last year with the courts was in 1951, my mother was a chaperone for several years after that. Her name was 'Aunt' Margery Wymore.

I went on to major in vocal music at Lewis and Clark College -- and following that spent a few years as 'Miss Dorothy' on "Romper Room" on both KPTV and KATU -- I was Dorothy Venables back then. I also spent several seasons as a soloist with the Oregon and Seattle Symphony Pops Orchestras -- and appeared in a variety of local and national radio and TV commercials.

~Dorothy Bryant