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Good times remembered by first graduating class

Members of the first graduating class of Nevada Union High School held a reunion over the weekend, marking 55 years since they graduated.

Students from two former rivals ” Grass Valley High School and Nevada City High School ” formed the first class to graduate from Nevada Union in 1953.

The alums came from all over California, Nevada, Idaho and as far away as Virginia to meet at the Grass Valley Elks building on Saturday, where we reminisced about the good times and many practical jokes, including the Great Mill Street Murder, of which this reporter played a key role.



We were standing around at the trophy case in the old Grass Valley High on April Fools Day, 1952, and couldn’t let the day pass without honoring it.

We came up with the idea of staging a fake murder on Mill Street downtown and spent about 10 minutes planning it.




I took the starting pistol and ammo out of the track coach’s desk. Ed Beck, who still lives in Grass Valley, got his dad’s brand-new ’52 Dodge and picked up some old fedoras and trenchcoats.

Tommy Ostrom swiped a towel and a bottle of catsup from the cafeteria. Don Brown rode shotgun, and Gerry Angove, who later became president of Sierra College for many years and just retired, sat in the back with me.

We went to the corner of Mill and Main, Tommy got out and started walking. He got almost to The Owl when we brought the car to a screeching halt. I shot about five rounds of the starting pistol, Tommy said “Ahhh!,” poured the catsup over his head and fell down.

We threw Tommy in the back seat and drove out of there, returned the evidence and went back to school. Never missed a class.

My father, a CHP patrolman, manned a roadblock that afternoon on Highway 49 just north of Alta Sierra looking for the getaway car.

Of course, we couldn’t keep the story to ourselves at school that day, and the word spread like wildfire. When the Grass Valley police called my father that night, I knew I’d been caught.

The recollection made for many a good laugh at the reunion.

Robert Steuber is a member of the Nevada Union High School Class of 1953 and lives in Grass Valley.


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