The Tehachapi High School class of 1969 held its 50-year reunion at historic Kelcy's Restaurant on Saturday.
In attendance were nearly two dozen graduates. Kelcy’s was chosen as the reunion site due to the nostalgia and memories it held for many reunion guests.
“Trusty’s, as it was known back then, was one of the local spots kids hung out at in the late '50s, early '60s,” said graduate Becky Smith (Markey). "Vilma Trusty, the owner's wife, would often come over and sit with us girls and join in our conversations as we drank sodas and ate french fries."
Smith said her future husband, Phil Smith, was also a THS graduate. They married in July 1970, traveled for six years as he was in the Coast Guard, and returned to buy a home in Tehachapi.
The eatery was known to the students as both Trusty’s Restaurant and Kelcy’s Restaurant, as it was in 1969 that new owner Kelcy Owen purchased the business from the Trusty family. Kelcy and the Owen family continued to operate the restaurant for nearly 48 years until its sale in 2017.
Continuing it as an operating restaurant while maintaining its legacy is the challenge of current owners Bill and Virginia Sheridan, who say they love its history and want to maintain the ambiance.
Upgraded health codes and ADA compliance have required them to spend thousands of dollars, mostly in the kitchen area, to achieve current standards.
“When we first bought the restaurant, I had visions of myself pouring the coffee, having good conversations, and collecting the money," Bill Sheridan said. "Then the realty set in."
"We're almost there and it's nearly ready to open. We hope that the weekend of Mountain Festival we can open the doors on a full-time basis," the couple said.
Friendships were renewed and memories shared by the classmates as they ate a traditional teenager's meal of hamburgers, french fries, cokes and and a restaurant staple —pie for dessert. A fresh green salad was added to accommodate a more refined diet brought on by adulthood.
Some of the guests offered what life was like as a teenager in Tehachapi in 1969.
Graduate Connie Carter (Brown) said she and many of the kids had fun sitting at Trusty’s until closing time at 9 p.m., just talking and eating french fries.
“The expression rolling up the sidewalks, just may have originated here in Tehachapi," she said. “We had the Bee-Kay as our local movie house and the bowling alley over at the old Mountain Crossing building for many of our activities and local date nights. More formal dates we went to Bakersfield. The parking spot of choice was over on the various still unbuilt upon cull-de-sacs in Golden Hills.”
She recalled that those who had cars loved to cruise Tehachapi Boulevard. And of course football season was the highlight of the year.
Nick Damian remembered “cruising around town and hanging out with everyone else who had a car at the old car wash on Tehachapi Boulevard near Robinson Street. I had a sharp 1955 Chevy back then. I was 18 when I graduated; by 19 I went to Vietnam.”