Memories, friends mingle at Folsom High reunion

Graduates recall high school memories that range from going to war to skipping school
By: Margaret Snider, Telegraph Correspondent
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The weekend of Aug. 5-7 brought graduates of many classes of Folsom High School to celebrate and reconnect. On Friday evening the Folsom Historic District Association blocked off part of Sutter Street and the area was packed with graduates, families, friends and passersby. The individual classes determined their activities for Saturday and Sunday. Bob Glashan graduated in 1953, two years late because he was called up for the Korean War. As a junior in high school he was in the National Guard. “The company commander said, ‘Greetings, from the President,’” Glashan said. He graduated from Folsom High School after returning from Korea. “Got married right after high school and went to work at the prison for three years as a utility officer and guard,” Glashan said. He is retired now from locksmithing most of his life. Jim Lerch, class of ’57, and his wife Linda Lerch, class of ’56, sat next to each other in chemistry but didn’t date until later. “I accomplished a lot more than I thought I was going to, because I was such a lousy student,” Jim Lerch said. “I wouldn’t take my classes serious, but actually became quite successful in Silicon Valley (as a) director of sales for a large company. I have a great wife, and it carried me through.” Chicano mural artist Juanishi Orosco graduated in 1963. He has served 30 years as a California Arts Council Artist-In-Residence and has murals in many places including Sacramento. For 15 years, beginning 1979, he served as one of Cesar Chavez’s body guards. “I’m a Chicano, so my imagery is Chicano art,” Orosco said. Jennifer Melvin, Class of 1976, was bussed in to Folsom High School from Mather Air Force Base. “My sophomore year I was good kid,” said Melvin. “Then after that, I cut a lot of school. It was the ’70s. I always had someplace other to be.” Melvin was with friend Maria Roblez, Class of ’77. “I was the (teacher’s assistant) in her typing class, and she’s my best friend for 30 something years now,” said Roblez. “I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve got to write her down as gone.’” Melvin and Roblez were looking for Jason Merrill, who graduated in 1976. “He had the long ’70s (hair-)do,” said Melvin. “Last time I saw him five years ago, he looked almost the same. I’m anxious to see him. He was kind of a quiet guy, wasn’t he?” Melvin is now a marketing manager for Farmer’s Insurance, on the commercial side. “I insure small businesses like the businesses on Sutter Street,” she said. Fred Walker of Pollock Pines graduated in 1976. “We did the first high school all-school reunion in 1976, so I was just 18 then,” he said. It was also the 50th anniversary of the first graduating class in 1926. “It was quite enjoyable because we had quite a few people there from the actual 1926 class that graduated,” Walker said. One of his favorite classes was auto shop, where students could bring their car in to work on. “That was really neat to be able to do that,” Walker said. They don’t allow you to do that anymore, I’m sure. I don’t know if they even have auto shop anymore.”