Wednesday, April 17, 2024

What do you remember about being in school?


My Front Porch Volume 303 for Publication the week of August 14, 2023

Sam Houston is a syndicated columnist and newspaper executive. He is also an author, actor, playwright and entertainment producer/promoter.

What do you remember about being in school?

The school year began this week for most Texas students. Parents have purchased “school clothes”, school supplies, and adjusted the family’s lifestyle and routine to get back on a “school schedule”. It is a time of considerable change for most families.

Bedtimes will once again be enforced, and time allocated for homework. Traffic will be congested as school buses begin running their routes for the first time in several months. The lazy days of summer are long gone, and the hectic, sometimes chaotic schedule of school takes its place.

For high school seniors, it is their last “hurrah” and for younger students, it is a time to continue to grow, learn and explore.

My granddaughter starts kindergarten this year. Admittedly, it is hard for me to imagine she is old enough to start school. I have little doubt when she graduates in 13 years, the time will have flown by like a comet. My prayer is that I am there to see her graduate and to witness her evolution.

My 50th high school reunion is next year. I have recently received information about the get together, along with interesting bios on some of my fellow classmates regarding what they have accomplished since leaving high school.

Not long after graduation I left the community where I attended high school and lost touch with many of my classmates, yet I still have very clear memories of my experiences with them. As I have been receiving updates from the class reunion committee, many memories have been rekindled. Funny the things you keep logged in the dark recesses of your mind that come springing forward when slightly coaxed.

I have recalled specific experiences with teachers. How Mrs. Granger told me I would someday need the information she was presenting, and how there have been times in my life I have looked skyward and said, “You were right”. I remember lessons drilled into me by coaches who taught me the value of hard work, commitment, self-sacrifice and playing on a team. There is the recollection of the passing of my grade school principal due to cancer and learning the finality of death sometimes comes unexpectedly.

Special have been the memories of my classmates. How my friend Guy was given the nickname “Snakebite” because he was bitten by a copperhead snake. How after graduation my friend Rob went off to college with me and was the best friend I could have ever hoped to have. The memories of my high school sweetheart, my first kiss, dancing at proms, and going for Cokes.

My high school car, “old blue”, which was by any measure a miserable piece of machinery. It took me two summers of work to save enough money to purchase that hunk of junk. It wasn’t much but got me to and from school and out of the house on Friday and Saturday night. Most importantly, I had earned the money for the car and it taught me to appreciate the value of work.

These are all important pages in my book of life, and now with age, I understand how each one of these interactions shaped me into who I am today.

To my granddaughter Harper Rae and to all the other students who are starting back to school, please listen to this piece of advice. Not once have I ever thought of my school friends and remembered what shoes they wore. Never have I recalled whether they were dressed in designer clothes. Cell phones did not exist when I was in school, but I am confident that if they had, I would not remember what kind of phones or technological gadgets my friends were using. What will be remembered will be the experiences you share with your classmates. You will learn to appreciate your differences, celebrate your mutual accomplishments, cry over your disappointments, and relish your growth as human beings. Those are the memories that will matter to you 50 years later; not how big your friend’s house was, where they went on vacation, or what they could afford.

Relish the time you have together with your classmates because it will pass in the blink of an eye. May you all someday look back and smile over the human experiences you shared and how those experiences shaped your life. There is a lot to look forward to and the road forward starts now. Good luck to each one of you!

God bless our teachers!

Thought for the day: The first day of grade school is like trying to hold 30 corks underwater at the same time. - Mark Twain

Until next time…I will keep ridin’ the storm out!