When they were in high school, Shirley Jeppson and Mildred Buschey used to pass their free time at the local ice cream parlor, the movie theater, and the public library. They would walk through the hallways of Anacortes High School wearing their skirts, blouses, and saddle shoes. And just like many high school teens, they met boys. Sometimes, when they were at the movie theater, they would get the attention of a few boys by throwing popcorn at the back of their heads. They had a great deal of fun in high school, and Shirley Jeppson was even a lead singer in a musical that the school put on.

This was over eighty years ago.

Shirley Jeppson and Mildred Buschey graduated from Anacortes High School in 1943, and on the first weekend of April 2024 they finally reunited. They had one class reunion in between, but this was many decades ago. Aside from this, the two had not seen each other in person in eighty-one years.

Somehow, despite not seeing each other for over eight decades, the two maintained the close friendship they had cultivated in high school. The friends kept in frequent contact over the years through letters and phone calls, still referring to each other by their high school nicknames of “Jeep” and “Millie”.

And those boys they were throwing popcorn at? They went on to become Shirley Jeppson and Mildred Buschey’s husbands. Ms. Jeppson met Jim Hunt in study hall when he would throw little pieces of paper at her to get her attention. Ms. Buschey also met her future husband, Loren Anderson, at Anacortes High School. After they graduated, Ms. Jeppson lived with her husband in Milwaukie, Oregon, while Ms. Buschey and her husband remained in Anacortes. Unfortunately, both Mr. Hunt and Mr. Anderson have passed on. 

This year, on that first April weekend, Ms. Jeppson and Ms. Buschey had their long-awaited reunion and met up for the first time in three-quarters of a century, driving through Anacortes and reminiscing on all of the changes. They drove by Deception Pass, up Mount Erie, and through all of the parks and developments to see what was new and what had stayed the same since they had last seen each other.

While high school may seem to some as a time that will never be important again, the story of these two women says otherwise. The friends we make during these four years of our life have the potential to stay with us for many more years. We just need to put in the effort to keep in contact. The friendship of Ms. Jeppson and Ms. Buschey has endured longer than anyone would expect and is no weaker for all the time that has passed. The two were incredibly grateful to see each other again, and the lively conversations and laughter were ever-present in their touching reunion.

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