Paly '61 - Graduation Day
Posted Sunday, October 2, 2011 01:10 PM

Charlie said at the reunion that it turned out that we were "cool" afterall.  Well it also turns out that we're also (or were) HOT HOT HOT!

The following submitted by Kaye Petty Paugh:

The other day the 2011-12 edition of Info Palo Alto arrived in our mail.  It has some helpful resource information about Palo Alto among the many advertisements for various services.  While thumbing through it before deciding whether to file in it that "catch all" kitchen drawer or put it in the recycle bin, this interesting fact jumped out at me:

Under the heading for Climate
"Hottest day in city history:  June 15, 1961 (107 degrees)

Coldest day in city history: Jan. 11, 1949 and Dec. 23, 1990 (20 degrees)"

Yes, you guessed it.  I double checked (I had just filed away a graduation announcement with my reunion file) and that was our graduation date.  I remember that it was extremely hot that day, but I had no idea that it was a record breaking 107 degrees!  I do recall my mother being shocked and then bemused that several of us only wore a slip under those heavy graduation robes and not a graduation dress.  In 1961 Paly graduation robes were very heavy and thick (like choir robes) and we rented them.  Currently, at least for the last 22 years, the students purchase their graduation robes and the material is quite thin and certainly requires full clothing underneath the lightweight material. 

June weather in Palo Alto is unpredictable. There have been many extremes in temperature and even rain at Paly graduations.  For several decades Paly's graduation was held on the football field (with parents and grandparents sitting in the bleachers and the seniors sitting in chairs on the football field facing them) and somewhere around 2001 we had such a hot day that we were fearful that we might "lose" some of the grandparents.  The quick thinking athletic director brought in hundreds of bottles of water which helped immensely.  About eight years ago Paly graduation was moved to the Quad area of campus and while students and parents were at first quite upset by the move, they now seem to love it.  For at least the last 25 years or so, Graduation begins at 5:45 on a Wednesday.  Our Commencement was at 8:15 on a Thursday in the Amphitheatre (now home to the new Science Building) and that later hour probably made the heat somewhat more tolerable.

I just thought that you might be interested that our class has yet another distinction:  We graduated on the hottest day in city history!