By Colonel Jim Stone
The Woodbury Central High School lion will roar again after 60 years, on Saturday, May 16, 2015, when the class of 1955 will hold their 60th high school reunion, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and beyond, at the Senior Citizens Center in Woodbury. They plan to have an "old fashioned" country pot luck dinner like they had in the 50's.
Their theme is, "the fifties". They will dress like they dressed in the 50's and have plenty of music from the 50's, i.e. Fats Domino, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Bo Diddley, Johnny Mathis, Ricky Nelson, the Everly Brothers, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Jerry Lee Lewis, the Platters, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat "King" Cole, Pat Boone, Hank Williams, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, the Drifters, and the Coasters, just to name a few.
In May 1955, one of the greatest classes in the history of Cannon County graduated. I remember, it was like going quail hunting when you flush a large covey of quail, they go in every direction as fast as they can go. And, all of a sudden they are gone. That is what our class members did, they went in every direction, far and wide.
Every one of them gained fame and fortune. They all put super kids on this earth and some super grand kids, and even a few great grand kids. We are all thankful to god for giving us the good life.
When we were in school, from grammar school through high school we read the Bible, said a prayer, and said the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag of the greatest country in the world, every school day. And, if we acted up in school we got the paddle, and when we got home we got another whipping from our parents.
We were raised in a good time. I never remember a door being locked at any of my friends' houses. I never remember more than one person in jail on Saturday night. And, I never remember a female in our jail. (Not long ago I checked with the sheriff on how many prisoners he had in jail. He didn't hesitate and said a total of 86 - 60 males and 26 females). It is down a little right now, but my question is what jumped track from the 50's?
We had fun being with each other. We sat down at the dinner table with the family and had our meals, home cooked by the best mothers in the world. We played together, went anywhere, and no one was worried about us. But you had better be close when your mother hollowed out the window to come for supper.
We didn't have TVs, Ipads, cell phones, and computers. Most of us did not have electricity, running water, or bathrooms in our homes. Our mothers cooked on a wood stove, and we heated the house in the winter time with a wood burning fireplace. We took our baths in a large metal wash tub. But the good news was, we didn't have to take a bath except on Saturday, we had to take a bath on Saturday whether we needed one or not.
Our school bus on the stones river road was an old World War II ambulance, still had the red crosses on the sides, back, and top; and it was painted army od, just like the one on "mash", and there were no safety belts in the bus. We were packed in there so tight, if we did crash, no one would get hurt.
I remember when we would arrive at the school and unload we would all cheer to be out of that can of sardines. And in high school, I remember only one student who drove a car to school, Ray Markum, who would take his mother to the shirt factory at 7:00am, and then we would cruise until school started at 8:00am.
Paul Turner, our principal, kept us in line. All of our teachers did the same thing. And if you got out of line, you went to the principal's office. And we had the greatest janitor, Green Woodard, a dear friend to all of the students. And, we ate good country meals in the school lunch room.
We are blessed to have three of the teachers that were with us in the 50's still with us, Coach Robert A. Harris, Mr. Bob Curlee, and Ms. Ann Todd. Hopefully, they can join us on May 16 and help us enjoy the wonderful memories, the precious moments, and all of the good times.
I don't think we had any bad times. We all had to chores to do at home. And they had better be done by the time your dad came home for supper. I did get a Red Rider bb gun for Christmas when I was in the 4th grade. I didn't shoot my eye out, but it caused me to get a lot of whippings, when I shot a chicken or my grand mother's wash tub hanging on the side of the house.
In high school we rode our bicycles. Some of us lucky ones got to drive the family car in our junior and senior years of high school.
I just hope and pray that when our kids and grand kids get to their 60th high school reunion, they can say that they lived in the best of times. Because I know that the class of 1955 certainly lived in the best of times.
God bless our cannon County High School, Cannon County, the state of Tennessee, and this great country we live in, the United States of America.