TOM BRYANT: Calling all Graduates of Aberdeen HS
An open letter from the class of 1959 to all the former teachers and coaches of Aberdeen High School:
Barbara Thompson Allred asked me to put together a letter inviting all of you to our class's 50th reunion. I said I would, but that's like inviting mother to my birthday party.
I'm sure you remember Barbara; she was the girl in our class who got things done. That hasn't changed over the years. She still keeps up with everyone and has been the leading force in pulling together this big event.
A long time.
What was so different about the '50s that makes us, the ones who lived it, look back with such fond memories. Granted, it was a simpler life in those days, before bigness became synonymous with better. There were 38 students in our class, only about 300 in the whole high school. We played all sports, centered on football, basketball and baseball. In our senior year when we converted to 11-man football, we barely had enough players to scrimmage.
Our coaches, Hugh Bowman, Bob Rogers and Bill Russell, spent many hours over and beyond the call of duty to help us enjoy our meager talents on the field and court. I'm sure all of us remember running football plays under the direction of Coach Bowman late in the summer at Aberdeen Lake. And how can we forget dance lessons during physical education class taught by the venerable Coach Bowman.
Later in life when I became a slightly more sophisticated college student, I would remember Bowman's instructions as I took to the dance floor. "One, two, three, pause and dip." Football came a little easier after those dance classes.
Then there was Mr. Farrior, our shop teacher, who kept those of us who took shop from cutting off some important digits. I can still see Sterling Carrington making what he called a world-class ashtray.
Mrs. Sue Buffkin, after numerous failed attempts, finally got me interested in English; and Miss Carol Cameron, our librarian, almost taught me the Dewey Decimal System, although at the time I wondered what Mr. Dewey was thinking.
Mr. Timothy Cleary introduced me to algebra. I can still see him shaking his head and saying, "Tom, it isn't that hard." It was.
Miss Tiny Odom, taught us typing. I'm sure to her it was like leading wild horses to water. We looked at the machines, we knew what they were supposed to do, but they just wouldn't work. Her favorite command: "All machines, stop!"
Mrs. Ruth Jane Trivette taught us history, and Mrs. Nell Voss was our French instructor. I enjoyed her class so much I spent a couple of years in it.
Mrs. Ruth Klingenschmidt was the home economics teacher and helped many a young lady understand the intricacies of cooking a pot roast.
After the amazing Mr. Poole retired, Joseph Beach took over glee club and band; and Mrs. Patricia Long taught piano.
None of us will ever forget Mrs. Eva Wallace, our school's secretary, to whom we dedicated our annual, the '59 Timekeeper. She was the person we went to when we were in big trouble. She never failed to help.
And last but certainly not least, our principal Bob Lee. He was, in today's vernacular, "The Man." Strict but always fair, he ran a tight ship.
The year 1959 was the last in of one of the greatest decades. It doesn't seem so long ago when you're looking back from this side of it. To the teachers and coaches who helped mold us into what we are today, circle May on your calendar. Barbara will get you a more formal invitation before long, I'm sure. This is just a heads-up from Tommy, the kid on the front row who finally did, I hope, live up to your expectations.
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