I realized when I woke up this morning, that today is another anniversary. A more memorable one for me.....and a few of my classmates that are still here.
June 6, 1957 was on a Thursday and graduation day for us.
60 years ago today. 60?
It doesn’t seem possible. 36 in our graduating class, most of us started Kindergarten together. Born as WWII was starting, we’d seen it all. Ration books, savings bonds. The Atom Bomb, the Hydrogen Bomb, the dang Commie threat. None of us had any fear though, we lived in or around a town of 543 people. Who would want to bother wasting a bomb on us? Carefree lives.
TV had been invented a few years earlier, some of us had one in our living room—17” screen, if you were rich enough to get one that large. $100.00—my gosh!! We had telephones in our home—used for really important or emergency calls mostly—9 people on the party line, each person having a special ring. ME4-5551.
Riding our bikes all over. Hitch-hiking into town. The “townies” playing outside way after dark. No problem.
Sunday School and Church every Sunday, the Youth Group Sunday evening. The Baptist Church up on the hill, our Methodist Church at the bottom, across from our school. My Baptist friends saying you could always tell which was the better church. The one up on the hill. Their next question, "Are you saved?" My sarcastic remark, "Saved from what?" Yet, on field trips and band trips--those Baptists were the ones in the back seats of the bus, necking up a storm, while us sinful Methodists played Euchre, up in front.
In high school, band was most important to me—band and chorus. More important than anything, other than English and History, and they weren't all that important.
Those who took the Commerical courses, graduated with a higher GPA than those of us who took required College prep. Algebra, Chemistry, Geometry, Physics, just about killed me. We all had to take Civics class to graduate. We had to memorize and say the Preamble to the Constitution, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union," ……………..we knew the workings of the government, we still do.
Senior Trip to Washington, D.C. to see it in action. Visited Arlington Cemetery. Strong patriotic souls we were, still are. I graduated 16th in my class.
Our first stop on our Senior Trip--Somerset, PA.
May of 1957--Sally, Arlene, Emma, Me, Bethie--Judy B. took the photo.
Me, Judy B. Sally, Arlene
The six of us--friends from the beginning. 3 of us gone, Beth, Sally and I still get to see each other at our classmates monthly luncheon.
Arlene, Beth, Emma
Judy B. Me, Sally
Many of us married those first few months after graduation. By the time we were “legal” (21), we had a couple of kids and more to come. The husband worked, the wife stayed home, kept the house clean, supper on the table and raised the kids. That’s the way it was back then—the best years of my life.
Our kids going to the same school—their photos right there beside ours and our parents. 3-4 generations at the same school. Life in small town-rural America. The best of times. We didn’t march in protest, we were too busy and much too conservative.
60 years!! Many good and best friends gone. We that linger are confused. Not by age, but by the world we now live in. How it has changed in the last half of those 60 years, even more so in the last decade.
How lucky we were. Kids nowadays don't understand how it was possible to not only know everyone in our class, but to know everyone in the entire high school and a lot in the grades below us. City kids in big schools missed out on the feeling of "family". We were like brothers and sisters, some of us knowing each other way before we started Kindergarten.
That's what makes me so sad. Many of my brother's and sister's are gone. My very best "brother" , now with pancreatic cancer, is making ready for his final journey. I know where he's going. He knows where he's going. We will see each other again.
That makes me wonder, why am I still here? My lifestyle not any healthier than theirs. My life not any worthier than theirs. In fact, most did better with their lives than I have. Why?
Well, none of us are afraid. We have seen it all. It is as it is, it will be as it will be. We smile when we look back and remember our youth. The 1950’s were the best. We all have the pride in our Country we had back then. We know it will never be as good as it was back then, but we all have faith that it might get better.
Those of us, in the last decade of our lives.
Silly optimists that we are.
Silly optimists that we are.