I thought about a lot of things today, I thought about how we are…our memories. Each of us a unique being with many shared experiences “remembered” differently.
Many days I’m flooded by those memories that belong to me, and I’m out of control and over emotional with the feel of them. Some days, they trickle in, and I am in better control of myself. Is anybody else like that? There are times I begin to write about times gone by, and I cannot finish. My train runs off of the track because tears….either of sorrow or of joy, blind me.
It becomes a bit messy and embarrassing sometimes.
As I rummaged through some old things today, and found some old writings of mine from school, I marveled at how far we have come since those days in the sixties.
I think about our old High School, and the fact that me and the people in my class were able to go to school in what was essentially a museum. We sat in old hardwood desks which still had the holes in the top where inkwells used to sit, so that the students could fill their pens from them. I’ve had some of those old ink jars over the years.
The old wooden floors in that school would creak and groan, as the bulk of students went out and back during classes. The old, huge windows had mechanisms inside them which assisted letting them up and down. Even the tile floors in the “new” wings of the school was the thick rubber vinyl stuff, which had to be coated in wax periodically, and buffed out in order to maintain them. I used to love that smell. I used to love the smell of the sanforized cloth that drifted across the Chattooga river from the mill and in through those big old windows. I used to love the clanking and banging of those old radiators during the cold winter months, as the steam poured into them.
In the first typing class I took, we all had the old “manual” typewriters, mainly Royals and Underwoods. Many, many times we would cross up, and hang up the keys during our exercises, and have to stop and untangle our mess. In my second year typing class we actually had a few new electric typewriters that plugged into the wall. Only the best students got to use those. I’m really thankful that Gary “Chocks” Clark talked me into taking that second year. It has been a gift through my entire life to have learned that skill. Many times I know I would not have “written” anything without that ability to “fly” over the keyboard. I’m sure a lot of people might wish I had taken shop instead.
We had the most unique and unusual gym in the state of Georgia in our town. It had an inside heated pool, a snack bar where you could get cooked little burgers and fries, and the best cokes. There was an upstairs basketball stadium…albeit quite small by today’s standards. We had a pool room, weight room, locker rooms, and various other sundry alcoves and inclusions. It had a movie theatre, and a staged theatre on one end also, although they closed those down very early along. I remember having our fifth year class reunion in that old gym in 1973, not long before they demolished it. What a wonderful place it was.
The most important and beautiful thing about those years, 1964 through 1968, were the people. Of course, I’m not going to sit here and say I loved everybody. That’d be a lie. However, for the most part, the people…my classmates and the “upper and underclass” students, were the lifeblood of the school in our little mill town. I wish I had time to go through and name each and every person with whom I remember going to school. I could do it if I had the time, or took the time, and could tell you a lot about some, but at least a little about most. Most of it would be good. Most of it would be joyful, some filled with a little regret….but, that’s the way of life itself, isn’t it?
I remember the ringing bells, the scurry of changing classes, the daily whispers….who’s dating who, who wants to go steady, who broke up today.
I remember the good teachers, the great teachers, and the ones….the very, very few…who didn’t like what they did, or who weren’t meant to be trying to do what they were doing. Those folks didn’t stay long, because our little school mainly attracted teachers who knew a good thing when they found it, and made a career in our school. I won’t try to name them all. Get out your annuals, and you’ll see their pictures. Mrs. Wingfield, Miss Bankey, Mrs. Myers, Mr. Jug Hayes, Mr. McCain, J.W. Greenwood, so many more. You’ll see yours too, my Facebook friends, because many of you were there. Many of you lived it with me. Many of you share these memories and those times. Most of us are still here, but some are gone.
It was pretty good, wasn’t it? Almost everything since then has also been good. As a whole, life’s been good to me.
Love you all.