When the Littleton High School class of 1953 graduated, Dwight Eisenhower had just been inaugurated, the Korean war was ending and the average cost of a home was less than $10,000.
The 92 students who graduated LHS that year largely went their …
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The 92 students who graduated LHS that year largely went their separate ways, but 17 of them came together last week at Merle’s restaurant in downtown Littleton 64 years after that graduation ceremony.
Life was different in Littleton back then, said Jose Trujillo.
“When we went home for lunch, we would try to beat the steam train that pulled out at a quarter to noon,” said Trujillo, who retired after running Jose’s Restaurant on Main Street for 47 years. “We’d run to hop in front of the train. The engineer was up there screaming something, but it was huffing and puffing and we couldn’t hear him. My cousin got his shoe knocked off by the cow catcher.”
Trujillo said the Littleton he knew is disappearing.
“These days it’s all about density, density, density.”
School was different too, said Carol Savey.
“We didn’t have economics classes, or French, or psychology,” Savey said, who retired after a long career with Jefferson County Public Libraries. “Our biology teacher was so upset because she couldn’t even get frogs for us to dissect.”
“Littleton back then was like Mayberry,” Savey said. “It was a small town and a small class. We were self-contained — I think we didn’t know much about the world.”
Littleton’s population at the time was around 3,000, and was still separate from urban sprawl, said Freda Hoskin, the class valedictorian.
“You couldn’t get away with anything in a town that size,” Hoskin said. “If I did something bad, my parents knew before I got home.”
The class of 1953 remained a relatively tight-knit group, said Al Hower, who organizes most of the group’s get-togethers. He said they met in Branson, Missouri one year, and went on a cruise to Mexico another year.
Hower, the class of 1953’s “head boy,” was a math teacher and athletic coach in Thornton for 33 years.
“I’d tell my students to enjoy high school, because after this it’s off to a new life,” Hower said. “Things won’t be this easy again.”
Life had adventures in store for some, like Jeff Sewell, whose baseball skills, honed on Littleton’s field, translated into a career as a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates and later for the US. Navy baseball team.
“We used to go harass Englewood,” Sewell said. “We burned a big L on their field. They got us back, though, and burned a big E on ours.”
For some of the class, the ties go back farther than ‘53.
“I started with this class in kindergarten,” said Bill Hultz. “There were 13 of us who started in kindergarten and went all the way through. We were a close group.”
Hultz said he’s glad Littleton has retained its character.
“I’m impressed how they’ve kept downtown alive,” Hultz said. “It’s a beehive of activity.”
Kids could get away with more back then, Sewell said.
“There was this one-armed policeman,” Sewell said. “Named Monty, I think. We would stand at one end of Main Street, where the Melting Pot is now, and fire an M-80 firecracker down the street. Monty would come roaring down the street in his patrol car, siren and all, and just when he’d get there, some guys would fire one off from the other end of Main Street. It would just drive him nuts. You could have fun like that in those days.”
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