Guest Blog by Gerald Aldridge (Gerald is my uncle, though he is only two years older than I am. He has become a friend over the past 20 years. The picture accompanying this blog is of Gerald teaching me how to make my Granddad’s “Egg Nog for Adults” recipe.)—Marion Aldridge
Recently my wife Kari and I observed a milestone when we attended the reunion of the class of ’63, Crystal Springs (Mississippi) Consolidated School, my alma mater. It was, of course, a delight to see old (literally!) friends and honor the memory of classmates who have passed on. One highlight of our program was the reading of the letter to the editor below. My classmate Sheila Burt Strong wrote this letter to the local newspaper, the Meteor, in 1983. We were hearing it again thirty years later. Her sentiments resonated even more fifty years after some of us, including myself, not only graduated from high school but moved away from Crystal Springs, Mississippi.
“Where Have All Our Windows Gone?”
I read in the Meteor a few months back that the big ole windows in the school would be replaced with bright, shiny new ones… better ones.
How could they get any better? They were the windows of our life. How many of us have sat on the inside of that school building and stared out those big windows dreaming of someday when…we would be free–free from reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic; free to marry, free to be rich, free—once that school system got through wasting our time—Day dreaming on the inside of those windows… and today day dreaming on the outside, looking back. Wishing part of our lives included simple things once again.
I wish I had one of those big ole windows to place somewhere private, so on days I felt it necessary I could go back to the inside security of it all, and on other days stay on the outside and only look back through, and know that it was all so very good.
Sheila B. Strong, 1983
I doubt many of us would want to relive high school again, but I agree that remembering a time in our lives which was so full of promise, of possibilities, of potential—well, that just gives a warm fuzzy feeling all over. Now, looking back, it is too easy to become lost in what-ifs, if-onlys, and why-did-this.
Thankfully, those thoughts are soon displaced by memories of other people of my life, my loved ones, my friends, and my colleagues, and I take a deep breath, give a quick prayer of thanks for a life lived, and another for strength to keep on keeping on, and look forward to our next reunion—in five years this time. And, to think fondly of “those big ole’ windows” of our youth. Thanks, Sheila, for the memories.