Wilson High School Class of 1948 75th Reunion


Roxy Kuper-Wilson

Wilson’s 1948 graduate looking back on memories.

Dorrie Dube and Roxy Kuper-Wilson

Long Beach, CA- On Friday, September 30th, 2022 Wilson’s graduating class of 1948 had their 75th reunion at Hof’s Hut on Bellflower. The class of 48’ is the only graduating class so far to have a 75th reunion. All of this was thanks to two very important Wilson Alumni, Don Gilnes and Betty Jo.

Throughout the reunion, many of the alumni shared stories from their time here at Wilson High School. At one point, they were sure to reminisce on memories shared at the old student store on campus. Oftentimes, these students were able to work or hangout here during their given free hour of the day. During that free hour everyday, Don Gilnes described that he would drink milkshakes with his girlfriend, catch up on school work, or go to the student store. During the free period, Mr Gilnes says “ We could sleep all day, go join a club or become a part of student government, go talk to teachers and grab a milkshake.”

The class of 48’ describes Long Beach through a 1948 perspective, as it was a very quiet and great place to live. The time period was just after the Depression, you were only allowed 4 gallons of gas a week and the food was rationed so you had to use coupons to get your food for the week. Most people worked in high school and if they wanted to be able to go out during the weekend, or buy anything, they had to have a job. To continue, since it was high school during the Great Depression, no one had their own car, and mo

st people had to make their own money in order to pay for gas when borrowing their parents’ cars. 

One member of the class of 48′, was Don Gilnes, he was a very involved st

udent on campus in many sports and activities. Don was on the football and track team during his first years at Wilson, and then ended up being an assistant coach for the teams during his senior year. Don describes that his favorite part of Wilson was the student store, which Don describes is

what made a school great. Don continues on to describe how during senior year, you were able to choose whatever classes you wanted to take, which was the best part because there were so many electives to choose from. A fun fact about Don is that he would walk to Wilson everyday. He describes, ” I lived in Manila by Los Alamitos–last street in the city”. Then he walked from 6th and Manila up to 7th and PCH to eventually reach Wilson. “If I got desperate I could take the bus,” Don says.

On a similar note, Wilson back in the day was a pretty different school. Wilson was a school that revolved around sports and loved their football team. On Fridays the students got out an hour early since there were no lights on the football field and the game had to start earlier. One interesting fact is that Wilson’s student store is where the Playhouse is now. 

Even through the tough times in the real world, Don describes he was content with his life and found joy in his daily life. He would go to school, coach for track or football, go to the movies, hangout with his friends and his girlfriend, and occasionally go to Hollywood Platinum to see one of the “big bands”. Don would work so that he could have money to pay for gas, take his girl out, go to the movies, or go once a month for a big treat to the Hollywood Platinum. Don worked at Monan’s Seafood Restaurant, which seated around 400, and he washed dishes 8th, 9th, and 10th grade for 35 cents an hour. Then he went to work at The Pike for 50 cents an hour and worked there Saturday and Sunday, and full time in the summer. Don and his friends would go to the movies at West Coast Imperial Theaters. They could “double movie it and then go to get milkshakes, then go to girlfriends house to spoon” he says.

Although many years have passed since the graduating class of 1948 had originally connected, time has been no barrier for this united class. Don Glines is currently dating his high school girlfriend once again, years later. Moreover, Margaret Shewan describes this group of people as,  “Old family I went to school with.” In addition, one interesting fact was about Marian Fiitzgerald, who was pregnant with her daughter, Judi when she graduated high school. Judi then went to later graduate from Wilson as well, meaning she graduated from Wilson twice.