Class Reunions Can Mess Up Memories
Aging isn't one of my favorite subjects. Frankly, I could get by without it, only you can't.
I got to thinking about aging the other day after the oldest of my six granddaughters pulled out my senior yearbook and was leafing through it.
It must have been at least 20 years since I had looked at the old purple-and-gold "Panthers" yearbook from 1955.
"Whoa, Popi! 1955?"
Hey, grandkids are great, but they can tend to be a little obnoxious at times. That's why we keep them on Saturday nights and make sure they get home safely early on Sunday.
We all have those old "annuals," as we used to call them back in my days at Chadbourn High. I can even remember when I would occasionally get the one from my senior year out and do a little memory-grazing.
But this time was something else. This was the first time I had leafed through the book in so long that I had forgotten how young we were back then.
So that's why I had that crush on Betty Jane. Saw her last week, and she had changed a little. Yeah, well, six kids and two husbands and 80 pounds can make a difference.
I couldn't help laughing at the senior picture of one of my best friends in high school. Ol' Archie was one of those hip guys of the mid-'50s. He drove a blue-and-white 1954 Chevy Bel-Air, and he was Mr. Cool. He was Fonz before Fonz was Fonz.
Archie combed his hair in one of those ducktails that were popular back then, and he really was kind of a cool guy. Archie always had a girlfriend. He was so hot that he even lined up a couple of dates for an old farmboy who never got up the brass to wear a ducktail haircut or ask a girl out.
Archie was one of those guys with "the look" and "attitude." His family lived on a farm, but they didn't really farm. They rented the place out, and Archie's dad held down a job as a carpenter. Archie worked on Saturdays in a big department store in Whiteville, and he always had money. Heck, he must have taken down $10 for those 10-hour Saturdays he put in.
The last time I saw Archie, he wasn't quite the guy I remembered. He was still wearing his hair dark, thick and fashionably long, but it really wasn't his.
Me, I was a real farmboy. Grew up on the farm four miles outside Chadbourn and worked on that farm. We would get up early and work until time for the school bus to come. You know, I didn't realize it until just a few years ago, but we were poor people.
Here's how broke I was.
Along about the seventh and eighth grades, I had a best friend named Charlie. Charlie was a city boy, if you could call Chadbourn a city. His family ran a produce company, and Charlie always had money. I didn't.
But for some reason, Charlie and I got into this deal where he would buy us ice cream sandwiches during the morning recess one day and I would buy them the next day. That was a fun deal for me. Except for every other day.
See, thing was, lunch at the school cafeteria in those days was 20 cents. My mama would give me two dimes every morning to pay for that lunch. The ice cream sandwiches were 10 cents each, so, on the days when it was my turn to buy the ice cream, I had to skip lunch.
Maybe that's why I didn't start gaining weight until after I graduated.
Memories of high school are great. But whoever thought up the idea of class reunions shouldn't have.
We held our first reunion a few years ago, which happened to be our 40th graduation anniversary. Remember all those beautiful young girls that we had such heart-aching crushes on? Well, they're grandmothers now. And look the part. That dang reunion ruined my dreams.
As for me, I haven't changed at all. OK, so I've gained 50 pounds. The waist is a little thicker and the hair is a lot thinner. But, boy, do I look good compared to those old geezers.
Contact Howard Ward, The Pilot's golf writer, at (910) 867-6493 or (910) 690-2211, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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