More than 60 years after her first appearance, Lillian (Stratton) Platt, the very first Miss Hesperia and Rodeo Queen will once again return to the Hesperia Days Parade — this time as Grand Marshall on Sept. 21.


"There were five girls that ran for queen — it was up to the people in Hesperia to vote for the one they wanted," Platt said. "Turns out I was the one, so it was done by a vote of the people of Hesperia."


In 1948, the Miss Hesperia and Rodeo Queen contestants including Platt were Marjie Anderson, Lee Phillips, Katherine Hoehlke, Verma Jean Rowe and Helen Young. It was sponsored by the Tatum Produce Company and based on personality with each voter paying to vote.


As the winner, 13-year-old Platt had her first beauty parlor trip and two shopping trips, one to Conder's Department Store for a "rodeo outfit" complete with hat and boots, and one to Harris Company for a formal dress.


Platt's roots in Hesperia began before she was born, with her childhood home built in the '20s and still standing on Main Street today — except now it's the Harrison Exhibit Center, a museum that houses Hesperia's history.


Her father, Leroy Stratton, who was born in New York in 1876, built the home in the mid to early '20s as a getaway for people from Pasadena and Los Angeles. He had a "car livery" in Pasadena where he delivered cars and taxied people to surrounding areas, Platt said. He died in 1937.


Her mother, June Stratton, was born in 1916 and had a love for horses, which Leroy Stratton had on his property bringing the two neighbors together — resulting in them falling in love and marrying in 1934.


Platt was born in August of 1935 and attended school at the Hesperia Old School House and graduated from Victor Valley High School.


While in high school and continuing until she was married, she worked as an artist painting Terri Lee Doll heads, her mother, June was the "head of the art department" until the Apple Valley factory burned down in the late '50s. June Stratton passed away in 1971.


When the Terri Lee Doll was reintroduced in 2002, Platt painted 300 of the "premiere first doll" and 750 "tiny and large" Christmas Terri Lee Dolls, she said.


She married Nick Platt in 1954 and had three children: Steven (1955), Craig (1958) and Karen Kromminga (1960).


Lillian Platt said she spent more than 40 years of her life in Hesperia before they moved to Washington in 1976 where she's lived for more than 35 years.


"I'm dying to see what's gone on up there," Platt said of her return. "I'm dying to see the changes — I hope it's all good."


"I'm hoping it brings out a lot of the other community leaders that have been in Hesperia for a long time and shared in building it," said Shear Realty owner and broker, Becky Otwell, a member of the Hesperia Kiwanis International — the parade presenters.


"For me and for Hesperia, the way I feel about it is we can look back and call her an icon of Hesperia history," said historian Gary "Griz" Drylie. He adds with some of the city's residents clueless about their daily encounters with history, Platt represents the parade's theme, "the good old days" well — because she lived it.