Classmate's Log, Tigerdate April 19, 2014
Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin into the future. I realized that if I managed to continue getting older, eventually I would reach the golden anniversary of my high school graduation back in Richwood, Ohio. But I hadnt even arrived at the 49th anniversary when I received an e-mail from Tonya Davis Payne, a classmate from the Richwood High School Tigers.
I declined the opportunity to serve on a committee, but I dutifully submitted my reservation form. E-mails continued to pour in every month from reunion organizers including Lynne Glass Ledley, DeeAnn Debolt Payne, Pat Ransome Kyle-Beatley, Bonnie Bell, and class president Ed Olson. The anticipation grew.
Classmate's Log, Tigerdate May 15, 2015
Into plastic sheet protectors went photos and documents. There was an award for reading the books Proud Pumpkin and Petunia Takes a Trip as a second grader. There was a program from our senior-year musical Brigadoon. I brought my letterman's jacket. Nick brought his Scottish Brigadoon costume, plus his bag of marbles to prove he still had them all.
Classmate's Log, Tigerdate June 12, 2015
Around noon on Friday, Tonya and Nick and I and some others arrived at the Marion Country Club. That night, the ballroom would be the venue for our Class of 1965 reunion party. (Surprisingly, the village of Richwood doesnt have a country club.)
Ours was a small high school in a small town, and our graduating class numbered only 77 seniors. (There were 76 in the yearbook.) There are 63 of us still alive. Of that number, 39 came back to celebrate!
Thanks to the organizers, who spent 14 months getting us excited about the upcoming event, nearly 62% of us accepted the invitation. Thats a remarkable turnout!
Watching from the sideline, Ed thought it was the loudest collision he had ever heard. I was also on the sideline with a clipboard, but I dont remember the play; I probably just wrote down that Mt. Gilead was going to start first and ten from their own 37, and that Rush might be hurt.
Dan didnt remember anything after the collision either. From his symptoms, he obviously suffered a concussion, but in those days we didnt know as much about the dangers of that type of injury. He was one of the two players on our team who still wore an old-style leather helmet. For the rest of its career, that helmet was permanently misshapen.
Several teachers were invited to the reunion as our special guests. In these photos by Tonya, we see biology/science teacher Rex Smith and his wife Cherrie, celebrating their golden wedding anniversary; Spanish teacher Rosemary Taylor, Nicks 90-year-old mother; Virg and Jani Rankin; and Sharon and John Merriman. You may recall that Mr. Merriman was my fifth- and sixth-grade teacher, and although Id forgotten about it, he still has a startlingly boisterous laugh. All the men were also coaches.
Classmate's Log, Tigerdate June 13, 2015
Two separate events were planned for noon on Saturday. Some of the guys were going to play golf at the Country Club, and some of the girls had organized a luncheon at the Richwood Fair Grounds. I dont golf and Im not a girl, so I opted for a steak at Steves Dakota Grill and then drove down to Richwood to see what had changed.
The building we attended is no longer there, of course. Built in 1939, it was Richwood High School for a quarter of a century. Ours was the last RHS class before the district became North Union in the fall of 1965. When a new North Union High School building opened four years later, this structure became North Union Middle School. It served in that capacity for another 40 years until it was replaced and torn down in 2009.
The front walk, seen in an archival aerial photo below, was wishbone-shaped to welcome pedestrians coming down the street from either the north or the south. That pavement has also been removed. But, as one of my classmates pointed out, a ghost walk of discolored grass remains. It begins at the lower left of my photo from ground level and continues in the general direction of the still-standing goalpost.
The new North Union High School building, itself almost half a century old, is on the north side of town. It was the site for the 99th annual Alumni Banquet on Saturday evening. Again at 5:00 we gathered, this time in the gymnasium as a thunderstorm passed outside.
The Alumni Banquet welcomes both NUHS and RHS graduates. Fortunately the colors of North Unions Wildcats (orange, black, and white) match the old colors of Richwoods Tigers (orange and black). Ed recalled that when Richwood merged with Byhalia to form North Union, there was some debate over what the new schools colors should be. Then someone pointed out that Richwood had purchased orange and black uniforms for the marching band only two years before. That settled the issue.
Nowadays there seems to be less interest in remembering high school days, and fewer and fewer alumni come to reunions. Ive heard adults from other cities grumble that they have no good memories of high school. They hated it, couldnt wait to get out, and dont want to think about it now. That wasnt the case for us in our small town, where everything revolved around the school during a very important part of our lives.
Following those festivities, the Class of 1965 adjourned to Bonnie Bells house less than five miles outside town for an after-party.
Perhaps the difference is that were no longer trying to impress each other with our accomplishments. Having reached retirement age, weve finally become grownups.
Lynne wrote today, It amazes my sister (Class of 73) that we scheduled five different events and had a great turnout for everything! She asked if we ran out of things to talk about and I told her no. We have been talking about the past 50 years and even our lives before that! Her class is just not a close class, and they have a hard time getting a few people together for one event. We are truly a blessed class! [A graduate of another fortunate class elsewhere agrees here.]
And somewhat to my surprise, the 50-year reunion does not mark the final chapter in our stories. At the banquet, alumni were honored who graduated from Richwood High School 55 years ago. And 60 years ago. And 65 years ago. And 70 years ago. And even 75 years ago.
Keep on roaring, Tigers!