"'Love is ...' a little word that is easy to spell..." -- so began my speech as I tried out for Junior Rose Festival Princess. It was 1972, and as an eight-year-old I didn't fully comprehend what my Grandmother and Aunt were getting me into. Together they wrote my simple speech, with 'Love is' as the main topic -- as that was the Rose Festival theme that year.
I sat with 117 other girls in the auditorium of Roosevelt high school on March 28, 1972. We'd go on stage holding paper plates with numbers printed on them and answer various questions.
After whittling the girls down to six, we were finally asked to give our speeches and answer some impromptu questions, such as 'Who would you invite to dinner, and why?'
Simple enough, right? Well, yes! Until that moment when I realized I was the last girl standing on stage -- frozen in the spotlight -- grasping my white paper plate.
I glanced to my left to get reassurance from the girl next to me and realized she had been escorted off the stage. So I did what any normal eight-year-old would do -- I kicked up my heels and ran off the stage!
Later my mom told me she knew I'd lost, but that was okay. But she didn't know that the judges felt this was exactly what any normal little girl would do, too. When they announced my name as the winner, no one was more surprised than me! So began my memorable journey as a member of the 1972 Rose Festival Junior Court.
Seven other girls were named Junior Princesses throughout the city. When we all met our 'sisterhood' was immediate.
We attended photo shoots, meetings with Women Leagues and appearances at banks.
Finally there was the Junior Queen selection at Grant high school. I gave the same speech as before, but this time while wearing a custom-made princess dress and doing a curtsey that we'd all carefully practiced for weeks.
I waved at my grandmother from the stage -- and even winked at my mom. Once again Mom thought I probably wouldn't win, due to both my waving and winking. But when my name was announced as Queen, I decided they really liked little girls to act naturally -- to wave, wink and run off stages!
I'll never forget that night or the headline the next morning: "She’s 9 on Wednesday!"
What a birthday gift! The whirlwind continued with more appearances, a David Cassidy concert were we even got to meet him, lunch with Bob Hazen (President of the Benjamin Franklin Bank), and being in both the Junior Parade and Grand Floral Parade.
One memory that's vivid in my mind is walking through a mall one day, turning the corner and seeing my picture on the cover of the Sunday Oregonian -- they gave our court a lot of press! It was pretty surreal for a nine-year-old.
I'll always treasure these recollections. My children all get a kick out of my many scrapbooks from that summer -- and seeing Mom in a crown and gown.
It's fun to get these scrapbooks out thirty-five years later and relish in the memories of the best summer of my life –- the 1972 Rose Festival!~Julie (Sinovic) Herbert (1972 Junior Queen)