THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Tales from the old-timer
High School Graduation
By Jane Thibodeau Martin,
daughter of the Old-Timer
High school graduation looms in front of this years seniors, and this rite of passage is truly important. For some, it is the very last time they will see peers theyve spent many years with. Once the diplomas are handed out, many disappear, never to be seen again by their classmates - to marriages in distant places, military service, or out-of-state schools. Some have no desire to see their classmates again, and avoid reunions. For some students, school had been miserable, because they had trouble fitting in or because book learning was boring or very difficult for them.
Ceremonies are marked by heartfelt if predictable speeches loaded with quotes, and exercises in crowd control for the administrators. Finally the caps are thrown up into the air, the gym doors burst open and the graduates literally scatter into the world.
When I graduated in 1974, the drinking age was 18. I very much doubt that impacted how much partying was done, but it did facilitate an event that would be impossible now.
Either shortly before or after our graduation, a few class members organized a class party, and boldly rented the Blue Ribbon Casino to serve as the location. Imagine such a thing now - 18 year olds, without official adult help, organizing such an event! I remember there being a modest cover charge to pay for the hall and some beer, and the juke box was taxed to keep up with the music requests.
While I am sure it was not the entire class who showed up, there was a significant number of our total of around 109 seniors, with a few non-class member boy and girl friends as well. I remember it as being a lot of fun, and overlaid with the recognition that this would be the last time wed all be together in such circumstances.
My class is holding its 40th anniversary reunion this summer. Unfortunately, the Blue Ribbon Casino is now a heap of rubble, or I would have gladly championed us to meet there again, a true reunion in a place rich in memories for all of us.