High School Reunion

This year they celebrated the 7s (the classes of years ending in 7, 1937, 1947 (mine) 1957 and so on) It was my 60th and I was the only one out of the class of seven who graduated that year from Stinnett High School. http://www.jimforeman.com/Stories/graduation.htm that made it to the reunion.

Actually, my old school no longer exists since it was renamed and replaced with one made up of three old districts. The building still stands but is locked and used only for storage of old books, broken furniture and dead computers. It would cost far too much to tear it down due to the asbestos used everywhere in it. There was one person older than me, he was supposed to have graduated in 1946 but like so many of the young men of that time, he dropped out of school to join the military when he reached seventeen years of age.

I drove my Chevy Lumina Van 637 miles and just topped the tank for a total of 24 gallons of fuel burned, giving me 26.5 mpg. But the big savings was about $125 for two nights in a motel. Stinnett, Texas is about 1200 people with few services. There is a restaurant and a Dairy Queen and two service stations in town. There is a motel of sorts, six units which were all filled with construction workers repairing a refinery not far from there. I tossed the mattress from a folding cot into the back with my Therm-A-Rest pad that I used when bicycle camping and a sleeping bag on top of that. Made for a pretty comfy bed.

I'd only been back to my home town three or four times in the past 40 years so when I arrived on Friday afternoon, I set out to find a suitable place to park for the night. I still own the property where our house stood till the city let the fire department burn it down for practice fifteen or twenty years ago so checked that out first. Waist-high weeds with swarms of flying insects and probably snakes in the grass so that was a no-go. Probably get a flat driving in there anyway.

My next thought was parking in the lot behind the courthouse where one of the men's restrooms has a shower but found they now lock the building at night and on weekends. I can remember when I was a kid it was never locked and we used to play hide and seek in there. Then I found that they have free RV parking next to the swimming pool. But all the spaces were filled with RVs belonging to the same bunch of construction workers who filled the motel.

I checked with the guy who runs the swimming pool and he said it would be OK to park in their lot after the rest of the people had left. Then he added, "I'm supposed to lock the place up when we leave but I'll 'accidentally' leave the back door unlocked so you can get in to use the shower and rest rooms."

The first activity was a gathering of old grads at 6:00pm at the community center and after meeting and shaking hands with lots of people I didn't know, they brought out sandwiches, cake and cookies. That solved the problem of whether to eat at the restaurant or the Dairy Queen. There were perhaps a hundred people there representing all the years after I had left the place. I was the oldest person there and didn't recognize any of them even though a few said they remembered me. I also checked the "Wall of Honor" out front with the names of Stinnett residents who had served in the military -- found that neither my dad nor I were listed. The lady who takes care of it said she would see that our names were added.

The party broke up at around 9:30 so I returned (two whole blocks) to the swimming pool where everyone was just leaving. I parked next to the building, checked the door to be sure he had left it unlocked and joined a circle of the men in lawn chairs by the RVs. One of them lifted the lid of an ice chest with the toe of his safety boots and motioned to the frosty cans inside. I thanked him and popped a top. "What brings you?" asked one of them.

"My high school reunion," I replied. They nodded in recognition and went back to their conversation about the stupid engineers on the job and how you had to watch the bosses or they would screw you. As if draining the last drops of cold beer was a signal, rain drops began to patter down, lawn chairs were folded and everyone headed for their rigs.

After a nice, warm shower, it didn't take but a few minutes of the rain on the roof to lull me to sleep on top of the sleeping bag. It was still raining when woke up cold at about midnight, crawled inside the bag and was back asleep in seconds. The next thing I knew my travel alarm was telling me that it was time to rise.

The back door to the pool was locked when I tried it so I brushed my teeth and washed my face in the bathroom at the Valero station and went next door where the buffet breakfast was scheduled for 7:00am. A lady sat down beside me and introduced herself, saying, "You probably didn't remember me because I was a Freshman when you were a Senior and you took me for a ride in your airplane." Then she added, "I had such a case of hot pants for you that I'd nearly faint every time I saw you."

"Now you tell me, I must have had my head in the clouds because I never was lucky in love in high school."

"Well, you could still get lucky," she replied with a wink.

"An offer like that does great things for my ego but that ship sailed over fifty years ago," I replied, showing her my wedding band.

"Too bad," she laughed. "You've missed your chance twice now."

They drew names for pairing for the golf scramble then handed out clue sheets for the poker run. In the poker run, you were to go to the various clue locations, copy down numbers you found there and you would draw a card for each correct location number. Then you'd try for the best poker hand out of those cards. I knew only one out of the fifteen clue locations, most of which related to sports like, "Where coach Nelson lived." so I decided to pass on that one.

Ice cream and a local band was scheduled to begin at noon but the rain beat them by an hour and they never unloaded the portable bleachers they had towed there. I'd decided several weeks before to pass on the forty dollar tickets to the banquet of rubber chicken and green peas where the various graduates would be honored. I could live without being the only person to stand up when they introduced the Class of 1947 and I could certainly get along without listening to two or three hours of boring stories about when they played football.

I managed to waste the rest of the day stopping to visit with an old crop-duster friend in Panhandle, Texas, at every Route 66 tourist trap and finally at the Hinton, Oklahoma airport where the glider club operates. It was raining off and on but several of the members were there working on club equipment. They also had a club meeting and potluck dinner planned for the evening. They invited me to stick around for dinner so I joined them. After the meeting broke up, I spent the night in the parking lot. I drove on home this morning.

Oh yes, I got out my old high school yearbook and found the picture of the lady who made such an interesting offer but still didn't remember her.

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