Sixty years ago, Bill Sutton and his friends could slide down the ramps of Salt Lake City's South High School.
He couldn't repeat that feat Saturday evening when he revisited the school - now Salt Lake Community College's south campus. But he and about 75 other graduates of the South High Class of 1938 seemed content to slide down memory lane for a few hours.A room in the old school was prepared for the 60th reunion of the 610-member class, which graduated during the Great Depression and lost several members to World War II.
The classmates said they may not have been rich, but they made great friends. And with all of the handshakes and hugs going around Saturday, most people didn't make it past the front door, much less to the alumni room.
"We're kind of a hugging group," said Sutton, chairman of the reunion committee. "We had pretty close friendships when we were here."
The chance to renew those friendships drew some alumni from as far away as California.
"It was wonderful, the camaraderie and friendliness of the students," said class member Donna Bateman Steadman. "This was like coming home. . . . It was a wonderful feeling."
Douglas Smith, another class member, said he can remember trudging down the corridors when called to the principal's office.
"You walk down these halls, and memories just pop back, good and bad," Smith said. "Our friends of a lifetime were here. Our lives are better because we were here."
His wife, former LDS General Relief Society President Barbara Bradshaw Smith, was another South High graduate and Saturday's keynote speaker. She said the friendships she developed in school were "amazing," and she wanted to talk to her former classmates about the beauty of the world today and how to help their children and grandchildren appreciate it.
Many members of the Class of 1938 were appreciative of the simple fact that their school still stands.
Kay Schwendiman said South High had students from 1932 through 1988. Then the students were distributed to other Salt Lake schools.
"(The building) was slated for the wrecking ball," said Schwendiman, a 1938 alumnus. "And then the Salt Lake Community College came in and rescued it."
The result, most agreed, is that the school looks much the same today as it did 60 years ago.
Martin Bray belonged to the model airplane club and was part of South High's football and track teams back then. He and Roderick Anderson Fossell were classmates who later ended up working for and retiring from the same company. They still have breakfast together every Tuesday morning.
"We wanted to come and see everyone who had made it this far," Bray said.
Mary Miller Brain had not attended previous reunions, which the class started holding periodically with its 40th. But she showed up Saturday night, she said, because she thought it might be her last chance.
"When you hit 77, you begin to wonder," she said.
Sutton joked that because most of his classmates are nearing 80 the print on the name tags had to be bigger this year. But he does not expect this to be their last reunion.
"We're planning on 65," Sutton said. "And we're looking forward to 10 more years. That would put us at 87 (years old), but I think some of us are going to make it."