Tidbits - October 10 2019

TIDBITS by RALPH SHEALY


MEMORIES...

  I enjoyed my Saluda High Class of 1969’s 50th Reunion Saturday at Persimmon Hill.
  I am president of the class for life, and in my younger days, I’d get classmates together to start making plans when a five-year reunion cycle came around.
  With the 50th, I’d think about the reunion, then I’d forget. Summer came, and I think about it and forget again.
  Finally, I got a call from my classmate Cynthia Smith Forrest, and she volunteered to start working on the reunion.
  Her research led to the date of October 5th, because neither Clemson nor Carolina had a game that date. She also found out Saluda High had a home game on Friday, October 4. I didn’t even know that!
  Did I mention Cynthia lives in Maine?
  She got Persimmon Hill dining room rented and contacted Riley’s on Main to cater.
  For the first time in 45 years, I had very little to do with organizing our reunion. It was wonderful!!!
  When Cynthia found out Saluda had a home football game, she didn’t know the game was Homecoming. How great was that!
 Athletic Director Jeanette Wilder roped off a section of seats and a good many classmates came to the game Friday night and sat together.
  Our Tigers won 55-0 to claim their fifth win of the year. These are good times for Saluda football.
  When the Class of 69 was in school, our football team combined to win four games in our junior and seniors years. What a difference 50 years makes!
  Cynthia was a cheerleader back then, and I recalled what Coach Bull Lee said to me during our 0-11 season in 1967.
  I was the reporter and statistician. Coach Lee always called me by my Daddy’s nickname Shake. He said, “Shake, the only people still with me are you and cheerleaders.”
  Life of a losing coach on any level is lonely.
  Friday night, I asked game sound man Dr. Brian Vacchio to play “Be Young, Be Foolish, But be Happy,” when I introduced the class at the game. That was our class song.
  Despite the staggering heat, it was a great night.
  The classmates from out of town were impressed with the Tiger football team and the atmosphere.
  When we were in high school, the home stands were on the other side of the field, so I’m glad they came to the proper side.
  I knew getting the Class of 1969 together would produce great things. Saturday morning I was awakened by something I haven’t heard in ages, rain! It rained so hard, it knocked my satellite off for over 30 minutes. When the rain stopped, my gauge showed nearly and inch and a half! It was a blessing.
  Before the reunion, I had to get my plates from the Mayson Volunteer Fire Department at their fire station.
  When I got home, I thought I had a hour to kill before the reunion.
  About 5:20 I got a notification form the reunion ticket site, giving me the directions to Persimmon Hill and telling me the traffic was light. Then I saw the reunion began at 6:00, not 6:30 like I thought.
  I quickly got dressed and made it to the reunion in time.
  One thing I forgot to do Saturday morning was to charge my camera. It took so many pictures at the game Friday, my camera battery expired after only ten pictures or so. Thanks goodness for my phone!
  A few times in my career, I’ve had batteries die in my camera, and that was in the days before phones. That’s a helpless feeling.
  Our reunion began will all of us holding hands in a circle and our resident preacher Nicky Long leading us in prayer.
  Then the laughter began.
  After supper, we were encouraged to tell funny stories.
  One of my favorite stories involved the late Owen Coleman, who was always a jokester.
  Coach Ray Reames had us to do projects for extra credit in trigonometry. Many of us used posters.
  Owen devised a plan to steal Elizabeth Epting Padget’s poster, and substitute for it one that contained Chinese writing.
  We let Coach Reames in on the trick.
  Oh, the look on Elizabeth’s face when she got up to present her project and opened her poster to see it was Chinese.
  Coach Reames lit into her about wasting the class’ time with a joke.
  After we had milked it to the limit, Owen produced the poster.
  I won’t mention some names in some of the stories.
  Back in our day students drove the buses, and they got to keep them at home.
  One classmate recalled another lived near him. The neighbor was a bus driver, and if he wanted to visit his friend after school hours, he’d drive the bus. (Maybe, that’s why students no longer drive buses!)
  When he was in the sixth or seventh grade, this same bus driver got tied up by several boys and left in a closet in the Annex. He escaped.
  Frieda Calk Price told of twice being threatened with something  being put on her permanent record.
  In elementary school, she had eraser cleaning duty. She thought she had run them all through the cleaning machine, but on her way back to the room, she discovered one hadn’t been cleaned. She decided the best way to clean it was to throw it on the hall floor. She did that and chalk went everywhere.
  Unfortunately, Principal Ivy Smith was walking up the hall and witnessed the whole thing.
  In high school, Frieda got caught ordering hamburgers from Trotter’s Cafe, instead of eating in the lunchroom. Mr. Todd told Frieda she was a school leader and should be eating in the lunchroom.
  Both principals teasingly threatened to put Frieda’s “sins” on her permanent record.
  I recalled another incident involving Frieda. We were in the third grade and had to put on a program in the Annex Auditorium for the PTA.
  It was near Easter and Mrs. Dorothy Grigsby wanted us to sing “Low In The Grave He Lay,” and through auditions discovered the only student with a voice low enough to sing “Up for the grave he arose” was Frieda!
  We talked about some legendary teachers, including Mrs. Edith Bullard and Mrs. Margaret Hare, both known as strict disciplinarians.
  Linda Leopard Bagby said she and her family moved to Saluda when she was in the fifth grade, and she got put in Mrs. Bullard’s room.
  She said after the first day in the class, she went home and told her mother the family was going to have to move back to where they came from.
  I then led the classmates in reciting Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “The Village Blacksmith” we learned in Mrs. Bullard’s class, and we still knew it.
  We also knew “j’entre da lasalle de classe,” we learned in Mrs. Lula Coleman’s French class.
  After we laughed some more and talk about future reunion plans, we took a class photo and it was time for most to go home. It was 10 p.m.!
  I remember leaving our first or second reunion at 3 a.m. Now, that’s the time I wake up after falling asleep at 10:15.
  What a great time we had.  Most for the classmates came from not too far way, but Cynthia flew in from Maine, and Judy Trotter Eubanks and her husband Donnie drove down from Ohio.
  “Memories will ever follow, where’ere we may rove...”
  Sunday morning I went to church, of course. It’s always World Communion Sunday the day of the Larry Gentry Memorial Golf Tournament, so I really have to rush to get to the course.
  I warmed one of the Mayson plates for lunch. This was the one that turned over in my van on the way home Saturday, covering the floor of my van with milk gravy.
  Jamie, Morgan and I were joined once again by David Coleman, former Saluda High principal Sarah Longshore’s father, to make up our team.
  Once again we stunk. David plays regularly, I play four times a year, Jamie plays twice a year, and Morgan hasn’t played in two years. To say David had to carry us is an understatement.
  We get worse every time we play, but we had a good time.
  After golf we enjoyed a buffet from Shealy’s.
  I had a great time over the weekend, ate great food, but it wore me out!
  Still, I had to work on the paper when I got home.
  Thank goodness I’m still “young, foolish and happy!”

WE’LL MISS

  On the occasion when Larry Banks didn’t get his paper, he’d call he office and instruct me to bring him a copy.
  I’ve known Larry a long time, and since he only lived a few blocks from he office, I complied with this instructions.
  He’d meet me at the door or on the porch, and though he was in a wheelchair the last few times I’d see him, he was always in good spirits, and we’d have a short talk.
  Larry died in his sleep last week.
  Dr. George Sample was a legendary Saluda pharmacist.
  We were in the Saluda Civitan Club together for many years, and he was a joy to be around. We laughed a lot.
  I wonder if there are dalmations in Heaven, because I can still see Dr. George  and his late son Gee riding with a truck full of dalmations in the Christmas Parade.
  Dr. George will be greatly missed.