Monday, September 29, 2008

The Big 50

I’ll bet that when many of you saw the title of this blog you thought it was going to be about someone’s fiftieth birthday.  That’s not to be.  This is about Jessie’s and my fiftieth year reunion of the class of 1959 at Heavener High School.

At least two of our bloggers have already had their fiftieth year reunions (and I’ll bet they were great fun, Bill Babcock and Bill Hinds) but my turn finally came up.  In truth this will be a blog about half a reunion because Jessie and I had to miss the second day of our reunion to attend a funeral service for her brother (W.G. Williams) in Newton, Kansas.

Jessie and I are in a distinct minority in that we were graduated from high school the same year even though she is a year younger than I am.  (She skipped a grade while she was at the Conser school.)  We were also high school sweethearts and got married just after I received my BSME from OSU.

We had about 70 graduates in the class of ’59 with another five or so who were with us most of the time up to the last years in high school but who left to move away or for other reasons were not graduated with us.  Thirty-three people showed up for the reunion.  Some could not come because of the ravages of hurricane Ike prevented them from leaving their homes at the mercy of unscrupulous looters and the like as well as others who had medical reasons for not attending. 

We had not seen some (about four or five) of our classmates since that day in May of 1959 at the West Side School auditorium when we were graduated.  Needless to say, we didn’t recognize everybody at first glance.  It seems like some of us have acquired that signal distinction of the nineteenth century that marked one as being successful, i.e., a markedly increased waistline.  By that measure we are immensely successful.  On the other hand, some were as slim or slimmer than they were way back then.  Father Time has, for the most part, been kind to our faces—or maybe it’s just that our eyesight is not so good any more.

We were seated at the Homecoming football game along the track and watched our beloved Wolves get trounced by the Stigler Panthers.  However, there was one highlight for us—because we are “senior citizens” we didn’t have to pay to get in to see the game.  In addition to our class, there were several people there from classes close to ours.  Some of those people still live in the area (e.g., Janie Hinds) and others are married to members of our class (e.g., Mike Sullivan is married to our Kay [formerly] McCoy.).  Beyond that, there were others who were on the 1958 Wolves (e.g. Johnny Haynes). 

We spent a lot of time at the Downtown Café just chewing the fat (and all kinds of food that couldn’t have been on our normally healthy diets).  Jessie and I went there shortly after we arrived Friday morning and ate breakfast with Bud Thompson and his wife Ginny, Don Frost, and Ed Watkins and his wife. 

One poignant moment for me occurred when we stopped at the house where my grandparents (Frank and Rena Bissell) used to live.  I have a photograph of me when I was less than one year old in front of a small cedar tree at that house.  The tree was about three inches in diameter.  Now that tree is a tall giant about sixteen inches in diameter.  I wonder how that happened?  Surely I cannot be that old!

We were saddened by the state of the downtown section of Heavener.  All the businesses we knew were gone and many of the buildings had been demolished.  One of our favorite hangouts (the Coffee Shop) is gone as is the old bus stop that was on the corner next to it.  One good sign was the addition that is being made to the library.  The house I grew up in is gone, a victim of a fire and the old dirt road in front of it is now paved. 

All-in-all, it was a time of mixed emotions.


At September 30, 2008 at 3:04 PM , Blogger Bill Hinds said...

Hey Glen!

Good to hear from you! Yea I had great fun at our reunion and had mixed emotions also, I sure understand.

Yes I remember my senior year playing football and you right by my side. I also rememer blocking a punt and knocking it into the end zone and watching you recover it and get credit for the TD!! :)

At September 30, 2008 at 5:02 PM , Blogger John Inman said...

High school reunions are great, aren't they? We were going to come up for this one because of Cynthia's brother Jim Wisdom. And because Bud invited us! Sorry we couldn't make it. Hope you had fun.

At October 27, 2008 at 11:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glen and Jessie, You need to know that the Heavener Wolves have won their past 3 games plus one prior to our 50th. reunion and if they win one more of the 2 remaining they will go to the play-offs! Go Heavener Wolves!!!! Ann Kirksey


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