Owen Blauman remembers tying a fishing line around the push handle on East Seattle Elementary School’s gym door so he and his peers could sneak in after dark to play basketball.
“It was such a neat school and neat neighborhood,” he said. “We all grew up together…I remember playing hide and seek and kickball. We all have such wonderful memories of this school.”
Blauman and about 150 other East Seattle Elementary alumni gathered together to honor their alma mater on June 8.
Malmfeldt attended kindergarten through sixth grade at East Seattle Elementary from 1957-1964. Her mother was a playground monitor at the school. For Malmfeldt, she said the school was instrumental in her life.
“We were more than classmates,” she said. “We were neighbors. We grew up together…the friendships I made then I still have today. We formed a huge bond.”
For years, she said, people talked about holding an alumni reunion but it never came to fruition.
“I thought instead of talking about it, why don’t we just do it?” she said.
With the help from a few friends, Malmfeldt promoted the event over Facebook. After nearly a month of planning, the reunion was held at Calkins Landing, a park a few blocks away from the school.
“I really didn’t know how many people would show up,” she said. “I was so nervous. I thought no one would come.”
To her surprise, dozens of people kept streaming in. Dozens turned into over 150 people.
“When I saw all those people, it was just…overwhelming,” she said. “It was one of the biggest moments of my life.”
Accompanied by light refreshments, alumni from all ages enjoyed sharing their memories they made with the school.
“The age group was substantial,” Blauman said. “The memories were flowing.”
Blauman was the last third grade class the school had in 1973. He said he knew his mother and aunt attended the school themselves, but learned that his grandmother served as a cook.
“It was just wonderful to meet with all these people and even learn about my grandmother working at the school,” he said.
For Malmfeldt, one of the best moments from the reunion was seeing the school’s band teacher, Neil Buhman. She and Don Kammerer played the school’s song as Buhman conducted.
“It was amazing to see him and play the song,” she said.
Malmfeldt said the reunion was meaningful because it showed the influence this school had on them.
While the building is slated for demolition, Malmfeldt and others hope a piece of the school will be preserved.
“It’d be a waste to see everything go,” she said. “We hope that the west-facing archway will be maintained. It’s such a beautiful piece of architecture and we hope it’s kept as a monument.”