This weekend, I’ll be attending the Lexington High School Class of 1972 Reunion, marking 35 years since graduation.
Let me do the math on that for you: We’re all in our early-to-mid 50’s, and we were born in the early-to-mid 50’s. We were right in the middle of the Baby Boom.
We entered the first grade in 1960 – still in the era of Leave It To Beaver – and within a few months, heard the news that Alan Sheppard had become the America’s first astronaut to travel into space.
During the last few months, as I’ve been helping to plan this reunion with a few of my classmates, we’ve done a lot of traveling down memory lane.
(Actually, we spent longer than a few months planning… we spent a few YEARS!!! After the last reunion, we decided that the planning meetings a few times a year had been just as much fun as the event… so we kept having them! Deborah Anne, Raynell, Julian, Bryan, Kathy, Wanda, and I just meet for lunch occasionally and call it a “reunion planning meeting”. The seven of us, incidentally, represent approximately 5% of the total membership of the Lexington High School Class of ’72.)
Most of the remaining memories seem to be of high school. The earlier ones have faded into the sunset for the most part. But there are a few scattered memories from those twelve glorious years when we just didn’t realize how good things were for us. Here are just a few from the early years:
Football games. It didn’t get any better than high school football games on a Friday night… especially when I was still too young to be in high school. An excited sea of humanity descended on the old football stadium, behind what used to be Hite’s Restaurant, next to what used to be the water tower. The cheerleaders. The band. The fans. The colors. The cool autumn air. The Wildcats were the bomb. (But we didn’t use phrases like “the bomb” back then.)
The school bus. A whole new educational experience. This was the chance to mingle with students of all grades. When you were young, you got picked on; when you got older, you tried not to ride the bus.
The visual aid room. At Lexington Elementary, it was sort of a basement dungeon. But it was dark, and movies worked there. We loved to go to the visual aid room. What could be better than watching a movie at school.
Piano lessons. Five years of lessons down the drain. I can’t even play a scale. I didn’t have the patience to practice.
Homework. Ditto the piano lessons. Never really had the patience.
Town children. They lived close to the school, so they didn’t ride the bus. They were always excused a good while before the rest of the class. I thought they were cool.
The first grade. I was in Mrs. Hook’s class, along with about 25 others who would become my best friends for the next twelve years, and maybe forever. We used flash cards to learn our letters… plus there were big charts all around the room. A typical homework assignment was to bring back a picture of anything that started with the letter “J”. Life was good.
The loud speaker. It was in front of the room on the wall. Several times a day, important announcements would crackle over it.
School lunch. I was a picky eater. I always gave my little carton of milk away to someone else.
The principal’s office. I heard stories about it… but you certainly didn’t want to go there. Occasionally, some student would be summoned to it over the loudspeaker. It always made me worry for that student.
Changing classes. We started in the sixth grade. That’s when we knew we were really moving on up the educational ladder.
The fifth grade. I had to miss a few weeks of school with an appendectomy. I was hospitalized, and Mrs. George made every student in the class write me a letter. Fifth grade letters are a hoot, it turns out.
I saved those letters in a pouch for over 20 years, and then accidentally lost them during a move. But for 20 years, they were among my most treasured possessions.
I don’t have the letters any longer, but this weekend, I’ll get to visit with their authors. I’ll probably have new stories to report next week.