A Tale of Two 'Directions'

Published: Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 09:26 AM.

            I graduated from high school in 1965. I don’t reckon that makes me the oldest graduate in America. But it feels that way some days! One would think my hopes, aspirations and dreams are mostly behind me. But I sure don’t see it that way……

            Now, when I was lining up beside Charlotte Melton to march into the auditorium “back yonder” I wasn’t thinking so much about the future as you might suspect. Mostly I was trying to get to my seat without that awkward flat hat sliding off my head. And I kept glancing back over my shoulder; Buddy Wiggleton, Bobby Brewer or anyone of a half dozen others wasn’t going to let this night go by unscathed.

            The teachers had been building up to this graduation like they had a dog in the hunt. They had repeatedly praised us, encouraged us and generally let us know what a momentous and historic milestone it was in each of our lives. I was so busy finishing up the baseball season and making sure I got my “cap and gown” money turned in that I hardly had time to notice.

            We had absolutely no yardstick to measure what was happening in our lives.

            None of us had ever graduated form anything. Miss Katy gave us some ice cream the last day of kindergarten but she didn’t pass out diplomas. There was no commencement ceremony when we left the sixth grade. It was just another step up the ladder. We were mostly worried about the nasty rumor Brewer was spreading that “recess” was not a part of the seventh grade curriculum.

            High school was a series of ups and downs, heartache and euphoria, endless doubts and tremendous triumphs. We experienced each of these emotions daily, if not hourly! I fell seriously in love in high school. I gave the dumbest answer to that “It was the best of times-it was the worst of times” question ever recorded in Miss Clarks’ English class. I scored two touchdowns in the Milan game. I missed a layup against Buchanan that Coach Camp is still shaking mad over. I had almost nothing to do with the “food strike” and the Bunsen burner explosion was over at Don Melton’s table. We memorized that near’ bout unspeakable prologue to “Canterbury Tales”. We fought in P.E. and leaned on each other through the Great Depression and World War II.

            Unequivocally, we felt we had earned our right to march down those aisles.        

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