Wednesday, June 24, 2009

THE CLASS OF '64 - updated

As you know, at least my “faithful followers” do, that my family moved back to Harriman, Tennessee in the summer of 1962. I had finished my sophomore year in Florence, Alabama. Soon after, my dad came home to inform us that he had found a job at the Bull Run Steam Plant near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Dad was an electrician and mostly followed the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) power plant construction work throughout the Southeast.

Since we had lived in Harriman some 7 years earlier, he wanted us to again live there, giving him about a 25-mile one-way commute.

That summer, before school started, I spent time in Bennie Lowery’s basement, bashing model cars together. He was the only friend I had yet to make in the South Harriman area. I would not see old friends, nor make any new friends, until my junior year began at South Harriman High School.
South Harriman and the City of Harriman are separated by the Emory River, connected by two bridges. When we first lived in Harriman, there was only one. So, South Harriman had its own school system, and because of where we settled, in the Pine Hills area, that’s where I attended school. There was also no tuition, which made it more attractive to my father, making less than $10K/yr at the time.

I finished the first grade in the Harriman school system, attending Harriman Elementary. However, my second grade year found me at Walnut Hill Elementary, located on the east side of Harriman. I finished the second and third grades there.

For some reason, I was back at Harriman Elementary for the fourth grade, but only finished half the year there. My family moved to Indiana where I finished my forth year of school. The rest of the other eight schools I attended, over my first 12 years of education, have been outlined in this blog, so I will not go back into that explanation.

I write all this to point out that I made friends on the Harriman side of the Emory River during those three and a half years. Coming back to Harriman, and registering at South Harriman, meant that I would again see a few of those earlier friends who had moved across the river, and begin making new ones.

By the end of my sophomore year, it was announced that South Harriman and Harriman City Schools would consolidate into one building in Harriman. This was very painful for us, as well as the South Harriman community, because of school pride and an intense past athletic rivalry in both basketball and football. Gone would be the Orange and White, and the Pirate mascot we had be loved. We would have to learn to like Blue and White and become Blue Devils!

The first day of school was traumatic for most, and the authorities were very anxious about that first gathering of the formerly separate and proud student bodies in the Harriman Auditorium. Principal George Ballard welcomed us, “our friends from across the river” to Harriman. A mummer rose from the South Harriman students, as we looked at each other in disbelief – was that any way to start building a bond among his students? To us it was saying, “from across the tracks” with the connotations such a statement normally carries.

The consolidation was perhaps less traumatic to me, because I again saw the Harriman and Walnut Hill “kids” I had gone to school with earlier. Most remembered me as well and I began to feel comfortable sooner than some.

Through only a few rough weeks, the Class of 1964 emerged consolidated and dedicated to each other. We began with a 10-year reunion cycle and voted on that first occasion that we just had to see each other every 5 years. So, this weekend began Friday evening with a warm-up pool-side party at Kay and Bob Culton’s home.  
It was a casual time to gear up emotionally for the 45th year reunion party on Saturday. The warm-up was just the beginning of the fun we had and it carried over into Saturday evening, not ending until about midnight.
It was decided, what with our advancing age and the plain fact that we love and care for one another, that we would begin meeting every 3 years!

However, those of us still living in the Harriman area will strive to each other a few times each year. We all have grand and great-grandkids, so schedules will have to be worked out carefully.
The bond we forged in that one school year is very strong and we just hope we will have many more opportunities to gather as the Class of ’64 – best damn class ever to graduate from Harriman or South Harriman! Maybe anywhere…’cause we’re sixties kind of people!
UPDATE: Here's Morgan Alred's (second from right) Official Class Reunion photo. I'm in the left arch!

Also, don't forget to click on these to make them larger, and you can go HERE to see more photos of the reunion!


Sarge Charlie said...

everyone should always to reunions, they all looked old didn't they, not you though

Mushy said...

Strange how that works Sarge!

Shrinky said...

I almost made it to a school reunion, but had to pull out at the last minute. I also went to far too many schools to remember, but this one was the one I was at the longest (three years) and I was touched someone remembered and took the time to track me down. It was good to hear about how some of my former classmates had turned out!

It sure looks like you had a great time, how wonderful to still know the kids you went to school with!

BRUNO said...

I remember the post about the "Basement Car Bashing Contest"!

Glad you put a link in there for it! For those who missed it the first time around---it's worth a "click"!

Class reunions? Nah. I made more friends AFTER school-days were gone.(Takes almost TWO entire hand-fulls of fingers to count 'em all...!)

FHB said...

Yea, I liked reading that old post again too. Remembered it too. Seems like a long time ago now.

And how'd you manage to not make it into the group shot? You takin' the picture?

Becky said...

I wonder if reunions are a little less awkward for smaller schools/towns. I went to my 10th a while back and I honestly didn't even know or were friends with most of the people that showed up b/c our class was so big. Most of the ones I wanted to see, I already had.

Mushy said...

Yes, I took this photo...and it's not the greatest, but my buddy Morgan was there with heavy artillery so a better photo is coming with ME in it!

I actually stood outside the room and poked my head in through the left arch, while Tom Nichols peered in the one on the right.

Becky: There were over 125 of us, but this is normally the core group. We've had more, even invited the classes before and after us in years past, but this is just about the number coming these days.

PRH....... said...

Class of 64? Same as my brother Mike, and like you, he moved during his Sophomore year(62-63) from Florida to Ohio...he never has partook in a reunion, never thought of it as his class.

Myself? Went to the 20th had a good time, but said I would see they again at the 50th(2017), and that is when I will attend one again...if the Lord keeps me around.

Debbie said...

I've never been to a class reunion. They had two I think, combining all classes.

You look like you've lost some weight, Mushy.

(p.s. Thanks for the kind words at Right Truth, and I'm thankful for pain medication, nausea medicine, heating pad,... ha. I'm just thankful it wasn't worse. )

Debbie Hamilton
Right Truth

Grouch Hamilton
Grouch at Right Truth

Scott from Oregon said...

You guys should have sung a rendition of "My Generation" by the Who and made a video clip of it...

Les Becker said...

Ugh... I'm not sure if I'm envious or not, your guts in going to a high school reunion - I could never bring myself to do such a thing.

Thankfully, my name changed enough times between graduation and the first reunion that no one could find me to invite me, anyhow.

Now, I notice, Mushy, that you didn't post pics of the food served... why?! You know that's one of the main reasons I come to your blog - to salivate.

Shrinky said...

What a lovely momento of the happy event - I trust that group photo will be framed and hung in some prominent place? It certainly deserves to be.

Mushy said...

Ha, the food was quite good...but of late I am half finished before I remember to take a photo. I'd be much better off if I only looked at the photo instead of eating.