by Clarke Davis
Returning to one’s native land after 45 years can be a surreal experience even if that home area is no more than an afternoon’s drive away into the Iowa corn fields.
It was Marveta’s 45th class reunion and I went along having graduated one year ahead of her. It gave me the opportunity to express my thanks for their having put on the prom. I don’t remember having expressed that before.
I found one of my classmates there. He was a football star and had married one of Marveta’s classmates. Our discussion was short, mostly covering the deaths that have occurred. It’s something people over 60 deal with.
In a class of 83, we have lost 18. Marveta’s class of 89 has lost 14. My classmate has lost some good friends and if he had to field a team again, his offense would be crippled. My game was summer baseball. The pitcher and the catcher are both dead.
The class of 1962 talked about death, too. One widow attended whose husband had died nine months previous. One fellow collapsed while feeding his cattle. One was a truck driver and died on a trip to New York state.
Finding myself in a circle of fellows talking about Glory Days, I asked the question: What the hell good was high school, anyway?
Two in the circle had gone to college, became teachers, and then quit to farm. High school apparently prepared them well. I suggested that having taken typing with a bunch of girls was the best thing I did. I’ve used a keyboard every day ever since. The best benefit might have been a safe baby-sitter while we grew up. We all agreed it did very little to alert us to what was ahead in the ’60s.
ena Dollar’s English literature class taught me that there was a key to unlocking and enjoying Shakespeare with the “Merchant of Venus.” The lawyer argued that one could take his pound of flesh, but he couldn’t shed a drop of blood. Caroline Zentmire, on the other hand, taught morals and ethics in her literature class.—plucking situations out of the classics and leading a good discussion. I was too young to appreciate it then, but literature has been a rewarding pursuit in my life.
One alumnus told about winding up teaching in the old high school on the same faculty with Mrs. Dollar. He told of leading a bunch of rocketry students down the hallway after a field trip, and not all too quietly, when Mrs. Dollar burst into the hallway and then paused seeing this teacher and former student. “Well! I didn’t expect to see a teacher with these students,” she retorted. Needless to say, we came from a more strict era.
New schools have been built since Marveta and I attended class there. The old three-story building will soon be torn down.
Just as well. I guess it did the best it could with what it had to work with.
Clarke Davis has been editor and publisher of Davis Publications for nearly 42 years. He can be reached by email at email@example.com
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