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Reunion time: Still proud of my high school/hometown after 40 yearsPosted Monday, August 8, 2011, at 10:18 PM
It's been 40 years since I walked to the podium in the gym and was handed a diploma signifying graduation from Tell City High School.
I was one of about 220 grads that year who finally had our "walking papers" to go out in the world and make our mark on society.
Today, we've all got our own story to tell, but it started at our hometown school in Perry County.
The year 1971 could well be the year that marked the start of the digital age when the microprocessor was invented, as well as transistor technology in things like hand-held calculators.
* The average yearly income was $10,600 and gasoline only cost 40 cents a gallon.
* A United States postage stamp was priced at 8 cents.
* Richard Nixon was president.
* The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was passed lowering the voting age to 18.
As teen youngsters with long hair we loudly rocked at after school dances to James Taylor, The Doors, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, The Who, The Beatles, The Jackson 5, Ike and Tina Turner, Marvin Gaye, Rod Stewart, and The Rolling Stones.
Song of the year was "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" by Paul Simon.
This coming Friday night, I'll have the opportunity to gather again with my 1971 high school classmates and get re-acquainted, re-hash some of those silly antics from grade school and high school and see what the future held for each of us since we were declared graduates.
I've not been real diligent about going back from my reunions. I think I have attended only a couple of them.
It seems like I always had an excuse or was too busy.
This year, I'll attend.
I'm looking forward to it -- thanks in part to social networking contacts that I've made with dozens of former classmates through Facebook.
In cyberspace, we've established something we may not have had in person: A friendship.
In high school, some of us hardly talked, but through the wonders of technology we have been able to re-connect in a virtual way that seems less awkward than it did by hanging out with them 40 years ago.
I am still, however, trying to figure out who in the world one particular female classmate of mine and Facebook Friend is.
For now, she will remain nameless.
She says she was in my class, but I swear I have no recollection of her at all.
I'm really hoping that she'll be at the reunion, so the identity mystery might be solved without me having to actually come right out and ask her, "Who are you?"
I also think with reunions we are sometimes drawn away from these gatherings out of fear that we might have to talk about things in our lives that didn't turn out so well.
We fear that some will talk about us in terms of failures, shortcomings, wrong decisions and some just plain stupid things we did along the path to adulthood.
I look around and I see lawyers, doctors, dentists, teachers, businessmen in my class and here I am a journalist -- just like I was in high school when I was editor of the school newspaper and school yearbook.
I'm still doing what I have loved to do since high school -- hawking the news and recording history for future generations.
It's a fact that now we've all matured, our bones ache more, most have gotten much more plump around the middle and our hair -- if we still have some -- has grown a "grayer" tint than it had 40 years ago when we were ready to take on the world as young adults.
Many of us have a multitude of new body parts that make us function a little better these days.
Too often, some of us are plagued with "if only" thinking.
We ponder and dwell on the way things may have been "if only" we had made a different decision at some key crossroad in our lives.
It's a fact, that we don't get a "re-do" on life's decisions, so why worry about them?
I am who I am today because of what's happened, good and bad. And that includes high school.
Tell City will always be my home no matter where I lay my head at night or what my address reads.
So come Friday night I will head back home to the reunion. I'll do my best to enjoy the chance to reconnect not with the kids that we were, but with the people we've become.
We will eat, we will drink, we will recollect the memories of yesteryear.
It will again be time to rekindle the "Marksmen" spirit in the words etched long ago in our school song by Tell City native, the late Dixie Davis.
"Dear old school we're mighty proud of you.
Our alma mater Tell City.
Your sons are brave and dauntless.
Your daughters ever true.
The colors that we fight for, are
the cream and crimson.
Time will never cause us to forget
The happy days we spent with you
We will always back you in defeat or victory Tell City.
We're mighty proud of you."
Nick is the assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be contacted by telephone at 847-4487 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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