Nomi Wagner Portrait Artist

Everlasting Smiles: A Class Reunion

by Nomi Wagner

From 1959 to 1961, we were 40 young women at USC Dental School, experiencing our junior and senior years in an intense course of study leading to our B.S. degrees in Dental Hygiene. We studied in the same classroom, lived on or near campus, and often partied together on weekends.

We’ve kept in touch and had many reunions over the years. And now, this past Saturday, we celebrated our 50th class reunion. Classmates came from as far as Colorado and Connecticut. Several were traveling and couldn’t make it; sadly, a few of our group are no longer with us. Eight women are still practicing dental hygiene.

We grew up through an interesting historic time. Most of us were born near the end of the depression, experienced the war years and the post-war boom, and rocked & rolled through the 50′s. When we were in school, we could only wear skirts or dresses to class, and there were no women dental students at USC. Yet, as professional women, we were ahead of the Women’s Lib movement, and many other women didn’t understand why we worked. How times have changed since then!

We’ve witnessed many other changes throughout the years.  As children, our main connection to the world was radio, and, at graduation in 1961, color TV was not yet available to us.  But, this Saturday, we found the luncheon location with GPS and took pictures with our iPhones!


Our reunions have always been in our homes. After lunch we sit in a circle and take turns bringing everyone up to date on our lives. We’ve experienced and helped one another through life’s passages — marriage, motherhood (some are now great grandmothers), divorce, illness, death of parents and spouses, and, of course, careers and retirement.



We all feel extremely fortunate to be a part of this wonderful sisterhood and to have shared laughter, tears, and a strong, supportive mutual bond. This sisterhood continues as we’ve already begun planning our next reunion!