Yep, the entire Class of '64 turns 65 this year...time to start drawing from the Social Security and Medicare benefits that we've been paying into for all these years! Some of us have been drawing since 62, but this year we all begin Medicare coverage. That's the reason for us having a SS & M Party this past weekend.
The week, in general, has been a good week, with a couple of visits downtown to see my Princess, and to update my running blog of the restoration project. That can be found on the Princess Blog!
|Note the "funeral" tents in the background (Click to enlarge)|
I'll have to say the highlight of the weekend was Friday night at Harriman High School's 2011 Homecoming game. My son is the Guidance Counselor there and usually coordinates special events at the Friday night games, like who gets on the field and when, Homecoming Queens, and people like us returning alumni. So, he had some funeral tents set up, almost too appropriate, for us to gather and socialize under during the game. He even roped-off reserved seating in the stands, but most people elected to stay under the tents and reminisce.
Those that attended lined up along the 45 yard line, opposite the Class of '81, while they announced our class year. Surprisingly, both classes got a rousing hand and we began to feel special! Then we (both classes) moved down to the north end of the field and joined the Homecoming Queen and her court in forming a line through which the Blue Devils ran as the game got under way.
The Queen and court, the band, and us old folks, left the field to allow the coin toss. It was just then that Phil Dawson, the fellow with the whitest hair, which used to be the reddest in the class, had the gumption to walk over and ask if he could toss the coin! The refs asked if he could catch it, the nerve, and he just said, "We'll see!" I missed that moment with my camera, but no one, not even Phil, until the last moment, knew he had the cojones to ask! He was our hero!
So, we talked, watched a little football, that is until Harriman got behind, then some of us got distracted by hunger and thirst. We reconvened in a corner at Los Premos and began munching chips and salsa; washing it down with Margaritas!
I got to spend some time with my ol' buddy David Arp too, Friday night, and again on Saturday morning during a special tour of the Princess, and then later at the Saturday evening SS & M Party! It was good to talk to him again, and laugh about our former "Fight Club" and how it bonded our friendship.
My other good, high school best, friend Barry Henderson could not make the event due to loads of work he is doing in a tornado ravaged area of upper East Tennessee. Maybe in three years he can make our normal, every 5 years, reunion party date.
Like I said, I had sent out an impromptu email inviting classmates to join us at the Princess, but only David, his wife Kathy, his mom, and his brother-in-law Jim Henry, who has been very important to our restoration project, his son John, and Dr. Ahler came to the unplanned tour. Gary Baker, the important man behind the scenes of the Princess project, and, our very own "Michelangelo" Tim Plemons met us there to show us the recent progress.
David loved the tour, and being able to share with his wife stories of slipping into the balcony back long ago! I guess I never had the guts to do that, although I did jump out of a tree into the Midtown Drive-in one night, but then again I married assistant manager's daughter and had a free pass!
|Morgan's group shot will be better, but this will do for now.|
Later, on the Clinch River, near K-25, our party gathered and the music began flowing down the valley, riding on the slow rising fog spreading there. It's strange how we look at each other today and still see each other seated at school desks, and pay little attention to the passing of time, although we are keenly aware of "the age in my (their) eyes", and the slower way we turn and walk these days.
|Party venue at Kay Culton's|
But all the senseless ego and pride is gone. All the pettiness and jealousy, has vanished with time and we just enjoy being in each others company again. We have already lost nineteen classmates and it's so sad that we can no longer share this special "golden" age with them as well.
|Our host - Kay Whitson Culton|
We still like our music rather loud, as some kept asking for the music to be turned up, possibly in order to hear it above the many conversations and loud laughter!
We don't need alcohol anymore to give us the courage we once thought we needed to socialize, although we haven't given up on it completely, we just have learned to be more responsible with its use. Thankfully, it has become a lesser motive to party. It's seems to be all about the people, their lives, their kids and grand-kids now, and that's so special. It only comes with age.
My heart was warmed Saturday evening too, when some that never even had a date in high school, at least as far as anyone knows, were dancing with former "most popular" students. Who would have ever thought we'd live long enough to see that happen; and how great it was!
Time heals all and gives us the life experience we need to have that kind of confidence...finally, self-assured enough to step out on the dance floor and "cut a rug" like we could only once fantasize!
I'm proud of my age...I'm proud all that small stuff has passed. I'm also happy to be 65...happy to be alive and feeling well, for a change, and happy to be a 1964 graduate of Harriman High School.
Best damn class ever!