Class of ’57 reunites at Yam Theater

Childhood memories of popcorn, candy and movies echoed through the newly renovated Yam Theater in downtown Portales Saturday, as the Portales High School Class of 1957 gathered for its 53rd class reunion.

Marcea Clive, one of several reunion coordinators said the theater, though not quite complete in its renovations, was the perfect location for the reunion because most of her class had heart strings tied to the theater.

“Everyone talks about going to the Yam Theater when they were just kids in grade school…everybody has been really excited about having it (the reunion) here”, Clive said.

Clive said she remembers coming into town from her rural home and watching movies at the Yam.

PHS Graduate Jerry Wood has lived all over the world since graduation, and made the trip from Virginia to attend Saturday’s reunion. Wood said he remembers coming to the Yam Theater with his friends on Saturday mornings to watch Roy Rogers and cartoons, with popcorn and his favorite candy in-hand.

“The whole thing would cost about twenty cents,” Wood said.

Wood earned his master’s degree in California and joined the Peace Corps in 1963, he said, and lived overseas for 27 years in places such as Thailand, Egypt and Africa as he worked in international education development.

Wood still holds that job today as a senior technical advisor, he said, but when he graduated and went to college, his major was in journalism.

Portales native and business owner Nancy Tivis said the thought of moving away from Portales never crossed her mind after graduation, because she wanted to get married and go to work as a bank teller.

“I thought banking would be a good profession,” Tivis said, adding her favorite memory of high school was being a part of the all-state choir.

“The last time I went, Ronnie Cox (who is now a famous actor) was with the choir…that’s why I remember being in the choir because he was in the choir with me that year,” Tivis said.

Tivis currently owns two Portales businesses, a clothing store and a bookkeeping agency.

Clive and other coordinators said they want to thank local businesses who donated food, sound equipment and money to make the reunion possible.

“Portales may be full of potholes, but it’s also full of the most generous people in the world,” Clive said.