Beaverton Valley Times
  July 31, 2003    
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These ‘Foxes’ gather to renew friendships

By Christina Lent
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Nancy Snyder, Barbara Peterson, Susan Johnson, Sandi Peaslee, Marna Reilly and Nancy Harrer document their “Fox Reunion” last week with photos. (CHRISTINA LENT / The Times)
“The Foxes” still have it.

They continue to be that group of women that turns heads wherever they go and inspires others to join in the fun.

But more importantly, the foxy ladies continue to share an enduring bond of friendship and love that for some of them has spanned more than 60 years.

Nineteen of the 26 foxes reunited last week in Beaverton for four action-packed days and nights of adventure Oregon style.

Hosted by Beaverton resident Nancy Moland, the pack of friends from the Washburn High School Class of 1956 in Minneapolis gathered from all around the country to enjoy a memorable weekend with the girls.

“When the foxes get together, you can always count on a lot of laughs, fun and hugs,” said Nancy Snyder, as she lounged in a chair sipping a fizzy drink on Moland’s deck Thursday night.

“You can also count on a surprise piece of history and stories,” added Stephanie Blohm. “There is always some revelation from the past.

“When we get together, it’s like no time has passed.”

The lively group of girlfriends toured the Nike World Campus and downtown Portland, took day trips to explore Cannon Beach and Mount Hood, and spent the evenings enjoying each other’s company in Moland’s cozy home.

“I was so excited about this trip,” Snyder said. “Being here was a goal I made for myself a year ago.”

Snyder is one of four cancer survivors in the group. She underwent two major lung surgeries and said her friends helped give her the positive energy and love she needed to regain her strength.

“I didn’t think I would ever be here,” she said as she brushed away tears. “This group is so supportive. When word got out about my health, the prayers started and I knew I was going to make it.”

Being able to rely on one another and always being accepted for who they are have solidified the group’s unity over the years.

“No matter where we are, we keep our connections through thick and through thin,” explained Gail French.

“Over the years, all of us have done our own things,” Martha Michelsen added. “We went on to have families and start careers. Through all of that, these friendships are my roots.

“These women mean the most to me. These are the people who have known me forever and we’ve shared all of the bumps in the road that come into every life. We’ve shared every trial and tribulation and all the joys that a human can have.”

Marian Hamilton also had something to say about the unique bond The Foxes share.

“I think we’re closer now than we ever were in high school,” Hamilton said. “We all have stories. Some are painful and some are full of joy.”

“We have so much in common, yet we are all so different,” French added.

The Foxes make it a priority to meet for every major birthday ending in “0” and “5” and also for any high school reunions.

They say that getting together with the people who know them — sometimes better than their spouses and children — is simply “priceless.”

“It’s the love and sisterhood we share that is so important to me,” Marna Reilly said. “Some of us have known each other since we were 5 years old.

“It’s hard to say that we’ve been friends for 60 years because we feel so young.”

Growing up in a time when families remained in one place, allowed the girls to maintain and build lasting friendships.

“We spent all our adolescent years growing up together,” Reilly explained. “That can be a difficult time for young girls, but we had each other to provide acceptance, fun and love.

“Boy, we were just full of the devil when we did stuff together.”

From facing suspension for wearing shorts and “suggestive” harem girl costumes to school and being spotlighted in Life Magazine in 1956, these foxy ladies have pushed the limits and raised more than a few eyebrows.

But for Moland, one of her most treasured memories of the group took place Saturday night in her home as the girls gathered around her piano to sing one of Sandi Peaslee’s original compositions about The Foxes being 65.

The women sang and danced and filled her home with laughter as they relived the music and memories of their shared past.

“It’s really tough for me to find the words to express what it meant to me to share my home with the girls,” Moland said as her eyes filled with tears Tuesday night. “It all just makes sense when we are together.”

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