July 19th, 2007

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Her Sorority Sister Was Born in June 1907 and Was a Rose Festival Fan

I'd like to share the story of Alida Hansen, a sweet lady who was born Alida Florence Swensson in Portland on June 7, 1907. She passed away in Portland on January 12, 2005, at the age of 97.

A homemaker, Alida moved to Los Angeles in 1921, and married Alvin Hansen in 1939. He passed away in 1976, and at the invitation of her niece, Beverly McCallister, Alida returned to Portland in 1981.

Alida's niece Beverly was a member of a business women's organization called Alpha Iota Sorority (www.alphaiota.org), and April 11, 1991, Alida became a member of the Portland Alumnae Chapter at the age of 83.

Alida attended the chapter's meetings and social events regularly. She served as Chaplain and Marshal of Portland Alumnae, and was on the telephone committee for many years. When asked why Alpha Iota was an important part of her life, Alida replied, "It is so important to exchange experiences and catch up on each other's daily life."

Alida was the most upbeat, positive person you would ever want to know -- and I think that was a big reason why she lived to be almost 98. She had a solid memory of the many things that happened in her life, including the 14 (or so) years she lived in Portland as a young girl.

Alida would talk about things like the influenza epidemic, the lighting of the street lamps and the fact she was rarely ever sick. She said that by putting Vaseline just inside her nose, she never got a cold. When she spoke about the old days, she mentioned her visits to the Oregon coast. She'd ride a boat to Astoria, and the stagecoach to Seaside.

Alida was very proud of the fact that she was born in the first month of the first ever Portland Festival. I've often thought it would have been so wonderful for Alida if she could have reached her 100th birthday and been honored by the Rose Festival Association during their centennial celebration -- maybe even have been asked to ride on a float.

You couldn't help but love Alida when you were around her. Up until she was about 90, she still drove her own car and was a member of a bowling league. A fall and broken shoulder put a crimp in her style, but she always kept a positive outlook on life and valued her friends and family.

Alida lived independently in a duplex next door to her niece Beverly in Southeast Portland just off Powell Boulevard until the last couple years of her life. Then she moved into a retirement community on Holgate Boulevard.

She was a very caring person. When four of us visited her the week after Christmas, she gave us one last precious gift from her heart -- and we knew it was very important for her to give it. She wished all her sorority friends -- and everyone -- a healthy and very Happy New Year! It was the last time many of us saw her.

Her niece Beverly McCallister passed away at the age of 70 on April 27, 2004. Beverly's two daughters Jeannine Lester and Connie Moore live in the Portland area (Alida's great nieces).

Alida with great niece Connie Moore

This is a picture of Alida taken May 15, 2004 -- at our sorority Mother-Daughter Luncheon held at Suzanne's at Beaumont Village. The woman beside Alida is her great niece Connie Moore, Jeannine's sister.

~Susie Horton (Advisor and Secretary, Portland Alumnae Chapter of Alpha Iota Sorority)
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He Rode in the Grand Floral Parade as President of the Buffalo Soldiers

The Buffalo Soldiers Moses Williams Chapter was one of those entries that African Americans and veterans looked to as their own. In 2005, there was a big to-do when the Rose Festival Association denied our entry because of what they called 'saftey concerns' from our last appearance (in 2003).

Thanks to media coverage and a lot of upset veterans and black folks, the association worked it out with us less than three days before the parade. It was somewhat tense, even on the day of the parade. They were watching us, big time. I pulled one of our three horses, because he was a little excited. I went on foot along side them.

The people in the crowd were just great. I saw more black folks than I've ever seen. Some of them said, "We don't come to the Rose Festival, but because of you I'm here."

Bruce Broussard in his Buffalo Soldier uniform
Bruce Broussard in his Buffalo Soldier uniform

I saw black folks in the crowd with their kids -- you should have seen their eyes, they were so big. It was the horses and the uniforms.

Some older vets shook my hand and said, "God bless you, young man."

~Bruce Broussard, 68 (President of the Buffalo Soldiers)
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She Was Rose Festival Princess in 1951

What a thrill it was when the Royal Rosarians in their white suits would arrive at our Multnomah Hotel base to escort us to each new and exciting adventure! We were truly experiencing the royal treatment.

1951 Rose Festival Princess Jackie
1951 Rose Festival Princess Jackie

We never left the hotel without fresh roses. To this day, my memories of the 1951 Rose Festival are vivid. My grandchildren help keep these memories alive, as they look through my pictures and memorabilia.

~Jackie (Alfson) Hennessy (1951 Princess, Cleveland high school)
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She Was the Roosevelt High School Princess in 1962

I remember a special bond was generated between the Court members in such a short period of time. We were surrounded by wonderful people.

I have fond memories of our fun-filled trips, luncheons and the Grand Floral Parade.

I learned an enormous appreciation for the hundreds of behind-the-scenes people who made the Rose Festival a success.

~Mary Lee (Sievers) Nielsen (1962 Princess, Roosevelt high school)
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As City Commissioner He Rode in the Starlight Parade

I remember going to the river with my family when I was really small, maybe three or four, and there was kind of an electric light parade on the water. We were on the east bank, and I can remember my aunt saying that she could see the queen's ring from there.

Later, I was a police officer assigned to the Grand Floral Parade. That was good, because you could move around and everyone was having fun. We used to carry a little vial of ammonia, so if someone fainted we could give them a whiff and bring them around.

Then I was a reporter from Channel 2, and I interviewed people along the route -- talking to families and little kids with sticky fingers.

When I was a City Commissioner, I rode in the Starlight Parade in an antique firetruck. At the time I was also a Royal Rosarian, the only member of the City Council who was one.

Dick Bogle

[Dick Bogle is a local news and political celebrity, who is currently a music reviewer for The Skanner newspaper and a jazz DeeJay for KMHD-FM radio.]

~Dick Bogle
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Her Mother Rode the Polish Community Float in 1930

My mother, Bernice Lukazewski, rode on the Polish community float in the 1930 Rose Festival. She was a pretty girl of about 21 years old.

Bernice Lukazewski represents the Polish community in 1930
Bernice Lukazewski represents the Polish community in 1930

Bernice Lukazewski

She won the ticket sales contest and got to ride on the float from the Polish community in North Portland, centered around St. Stanislaus Catholic Church.

Bernice Lukazewski riding float

The float picture shows a girl below her in native costume.

Mother was born in 1908 in a house on Skidmore Street in North Portland. She married in 1932 and died in 1979. Her husband, my father, was Harold Lindsay, a Portland small business owner (with partner, CJ Lindsay).

~Kathy Lindsay Fritz