Sunday, February 21, 2010

In Days of Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot?  These are some of the school mates who were ahead of me in school, but not too far ahead.  In a school like Pawhuska High School was in the 1950's we had a unique experience, when compared to today.  There was the one great building, Pawhuska High School, and classes from the 7th grade through seniors shared the building.  That meant that we lowly 7th graders saw seniors and juniors on a regular basis, almost daily, and they were near adults while we were yet children, teens by then, but still being formed.  We were works in progress though some might have said we were works in regress.  We were confused sometimes, no doubt.  When my class entered the old building in 1957, we found a great senior class to be in awe of, to look up to, to admire, and to be like; wonderful role models for us.  I can not help but wonder how much they influenced my class.  I know this; they influenced us in mostly positive ways, seldom in negative ways.  Yes, they had some mischief about them, but not much.  Some is to be expected of those in high school.  Two I remember were Tom Culver and Marilyn Moyer Culver, husband and wife while still in school.  They were in many things in school together and had one of those storied, long marriages until Tom's death a few years ago.  Several times I spoke to Marilyn, who did not remember me;  that was fine as seniors don't know 7th graders, let alone remember them.  I can not recall any 7th graders I knew when I was a junior.  This is really about reunions and particularly the all-school type.  My class is small now and not all of them will attend a reunion.  As a student, I knew almost everyone in my class, many in the classes above me and few in classes below me.  When there is an all-school reunion, I get to see so many of those seniors I admired so much and most of them will talk to me, not as a 7th grader but as a fellow Pawhuskan now, someone who, like they, has had life experiences that made all of us older.  I knew all three of the kids in the photograph, Jackie Sue Ferrier (left), Gary Weyl, and his wife, Renee Coday Weyl, another long marriage.  They were upper class students and we had little in common, perhaps just a greeting relationship.  I know them better now and we have pleasant conversations when me meet, usually at a reunion, sometimes something else. That's wonderful because it enriches my experiences, helps me to grow and to learn and expands my universe.  I've found that the further we are away from high school, the greater our universe becomes as we no longer limit ourselves to just our class mates and our few best friends.  We embrace the classes above and below us and find out how much we missed by limiting ourselves to a few friends.  Perhaps the universe is too great an experience for us in those years twixt twelve and twenty.  I am just grateful that so many more have embraced me and allowed me to embrace them as new friends.  Should auld acquaintance be forgot?  Not a bit of it; as Jimmy Rector often says, "Friends are forever."

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