Roseville High School grads celebrate 70th reunion
Five years ago, a committee of Roseville High School graduates worried about running out of time decided to hold a class reunion annually.
“We figured we better have more reunions,” said Aldo Frediani.
His graduating class of 1941 celebrated their 70th reunion Wednesday at the Elks Lodge in Roseville. These grads now average 88 years old.
Sixteen members of the class of 165 students attended with their spouses or children. One man came all the way from Illinois.
“After 70 years there are not too many of us left,” Frediani said.
The attendees feasted on a buffet lunch and caught up on each other’s lives during social hour. Among them was Bessi Moore, who serves on the reunion committee. She has lived in Roseville her whole life and spent 31 years as a teacher.
When Moore was born, only 6,000 people lived in town.
“Roseville was just a small town and we had the railroad and that brought in more people,” she said.
In 1941, Roseville High School had about 540 students from Roseville, Rocklin and the western part of Loomis.
“We thought it was the most beautiful place there was. It was called the school on the hill,” Moore said.
Fellow committee member, Frediani, also has spent most of his life in Roseville. His parents emigrated here from Italy in 1906 and his father managed the West House Hotel in Old Town.
After high school, Frediani served in World War II. He used the G.I. Bill to pay for college and went on to practice optometry from 1953 until he retired five years ago.
“It’s been real nice planning this (event) and being together,” Frediani said.
His committee started decades ago with more than a dozen members, but has whittled down to three, including John Mahan whose grandfather homesteaded a piece of land off the Fiddyment family’s ranch back in the mid-1860s or 1870s.
“In those days there was no Roseville,” he said.
His grandparents had eight children, all delivered by “Miss Fiddyment.” Mahan’s dad opened a furniture and appliance store downtown in 1919 where the Civic Center now stands.
Mahan — who went on to join the Navy, graduate from U.C. Berkeley and work as an executive at McClelland Field — played on Roseville High School’s championship football team, which was “the best in northern California,” he said.
His free time was spent hanging out with buddies.
“If it wasn’t chasing girls, it was a lot of hunting. Some went fishing,” Mahan said. “We didn’t do the things kids do nowadays. Turning over an outhouse was a big deal.”
But one time in high school, he and his friend had their fun sneaking into the gym’s projection booth to watch what was called a “girls league show.” No boys were allowed to see the song and dance performances, but they filmed it anyway.
“It was risqué in those days,” Mahan said. “It would be nothing now.”
A girl knew they’d borrowed an 8 mm camera and sounded the alarm. The boys were picked up, hauled down to the girls shower and drenched with water.
“I (later) told the girls, ‘Oh, I got a picture of you,’” Mahan said. “I never told them the photo development didn’t work.”
Sena Christian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at SenaC_RsvPT.
The world in 1941
Jan. 20: President Franklin D. Roosevelt starts his third term
Feb. 23: Plutonium is discovered and later used in atomic bombs
March 1: The first FM radio station begins operations
April 6: Germany invades Yugoslavia and Greece
May 1: Orson Welles’ film “Citizen Kane” premieres in New York City
June 22: Italy and Romania declare war on the Soviet Union; Germany invades the Soviet Union
July 31: Adolf Hitler orders a plan for the Final Solution: the systemic genocide of European Jews
Aug. 1: The first Jeep is produced
Sept. 6: All Jews over the age of 6 are required to wear the Star of David with the word “Jew” inscribed in German-occupied areas
Oct. 23: Walt Disney’s “Dumbo” is released
Nov. 21: The radio program “King Biscuit Times” is broadcast for the first time and becomes the longest-running daily broadcast in history
Dec. 7: Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, drawing the United States into World War II