'Pooh Family' weren't thugs but maybe a little 'ornery'

Did SYA ever get an answer to the question you received about the Pooh Family? Your answer was hilarious but I was curious whether there had been a follow-up.

— M.J., Medford

Boy, did we ever, M.J.

We received more than two dozen emails and telephone calls from former Pooh Family members as well as some folks who had close encounters with them. We were simply waiting for all things Pooh to come in before publishing the answer.

For the SYA reader who is Pooh Family-challenged, we'll rehash the question posted in mid-May by Steven B. of Medford.

He noted that when he was growing up in Ashland in the '60s and '70s, there was a "gang" known as the Pooh Family that hung outat bowling alleys and skating rinks. The members wore jean jackets emblazoned with "Pooh Family" on the back.

"As 12-14-year-olds, we thought they were real tough and avoided them," he wrote. "Any info on these characters or their history?"

We were unable to dig up the answer so we asked the SYA Fan Club to give us a hand. As is their wont, members rose to the occasion in style.

In fact, we received several different versions of the answer. Depending on your perspective, the group was fun to have around or a bit of a bother.

Turns out it was a student group at Medford Senior High School from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. You can find them in the 1973 and '74 yearbooks; the former tells of the group's effort to start a scholarship for students. They also rolled up their sleeves and helped with landscaping at the school.

Some folks, including a few who still have their jackets, called in to say they were proud members who enjoyed the camaraderie. They were quick to add they did not cause any trouble when they hung out at football games or bowling alleys.

Honest, they added.

However, one retired Ashland police officer begs to differ. He recalled Pooh Family members blocking the entrance to football games in Ashland.

"I think they did this just to plug it up and be ornery," he recalls. "They were a thorn in the police department's side."

Other MSHS grads described them as hoods who were James Dean wannabes. A few insisted that Pooh stood for "professional order of hoods."

But we suspect they were like all high school groups, largely good with a smattering of bad actors. Bottom line? They were part of the good old days that should never be forgotten, particularly this Memorial Day weekend.

Be safe out there.

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