Guest commentary: Hey there, former AHS grads, pass it on … we’re getting together |

Guest commentary: Hey there, former AHS grads, pass it on … we’re getting together

Pat Bingham
Guest commentary

Five decades ago, give or take, Aspen kids ruled the dirt streets, empty lots and abandoned mine shafts in this quaint little ski town of about 2,500. The Aspen High School classes of 1969 to 1975 are gathering for a reunion in October 2022 in what might be the last reunion for many of us who aren’t “spring chickens” anymore.

As kids who attended school and grew up in Aspen during this decade, we were very fortunate. We were safe riding our banana bikes and sometimes horses into town without getting mowed down by traffic. Cars and trucks were made with significant steel bumpers (especially Volkswagen Beetles), which made it easy to latch onto for a skitch in the winter. We were excused from school on Wednesdays to ski with our teachers. We were the “test cases” for what has become Aspen’s exceptional Outdoor Ed program.

We sold The Aspen Times every Thursday to make money to buy old fashioned candy at the Aspen Country Store. We slurped milkshakes and root beer floats at Matthew Drug (now Carl’s) and the Pink Parrot at the Hotel Jerome. We ate Pizzas at Pinocchios, fondue at Guidos and we skied. Ahhh yes, and we skied, and skied, and skied!

We had friends whose parents operated the Sundeck on top of Aspen Mountain, and they skied to school every day, taking care not to miss the last ride up the world’s longest single chairlift, 1A (under an attached and scratchy wool blanket), to go home.

We had friends who lived in Ashcroft and ran dog sleds for a living. The Aspen School District sent a school bus all the way up to the mostly abandoned ghost town just to pick up and deliver them to school every day. The same for the kids who lived in the sawmill town of Lenado.

We whiled away the hours at the public pool at the Hotel Jerome. We spent even more time up Independence Pass at Devil’s Punchbowl and other popular swimming holes.

And we were required to attend school. So much fun. So little time.

It’s tricky tracking down the emails and contact information for many of us who’ve long moved away and lost touch with our classmates. We’ve lost some classmates, too. Nearly 50 whom we know of have passed on too soon. There were only 50 to 80 kids in an entire class back in those days, so that’s a lot to lose.

We thought getting the word out in our hometown paper, the one that used to cost 10 cents, would be a good start. You’d be surprised how many kids who grew up here, whether they still live here or not, rely on this 140-year-old newspaper to cling to what’s left of the “ol’ mining/ski town” they remember.

So, if you’re still out there Aspen High School alumni of days gone by, please get in touch with us as soon as you can.

Tickets to the event are expected to go on sale before the end of winter.

Email your contact information to Michael Collins, Class of 1970, at If we can’t find you, we can’t invite you!

We’d like to see you again before it’s too late!

Pat Bingham on behalf of the AHS Reunion organizing committee: Michael Collins, Rosie Meyer Wettstein, Mary Kalmes, Fred Hartmeister, Pauli Hayes, Billy Goodhard, Carolyn Cerise Barabe and Shauna Wille.