A 50th Class Reunion

Posted by Louise Tucker Jones on 07/01/2013

Louise and her It was my last day of high school and several of us seniors had spent the day driving over country roads and cutting wild roses to decorate the gymnasium for our Commencement program. I was tired and a little reflective as I rode the long, yellow school bus home. Suddenly, it dawned on me how much my life was about to change. I wondered where I would be and what I would be doing in ten years, a long stretch of time for a 17-year-old. Unlike some of my classmates, I didn’t have my life planned out. I had no idea what I really wanted to do or even what college I would attend. The only certainty concerning my future was that I eventually wanted to be a wife and mother, assuming that would happen with my high school sweetheart.

On that bus ride home, I also wondered about my classmates. Would we be friends forever? Being from a small farming community—eighteen in my graduating class—some of us had known each other our whole lives. Would we drift apart? What would the “Class of 1963” be doing in 10, 20 or 30 years? Wow, who could even imagine? This summer, I will be attending my 50th high school reunion and yes, I still keep in touch with several of my classmates, especially my “sister-girlfriends” who I grew up with. We have remained close through all these years, sharing good and bad times. And today, as I look at old photos being posted by friends on Facebook, I wonder where the time went. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was walking across the stage to receive my diploma then leaving the next morning for a fun senior trip to Rockaway Beach, Missouri.

So what happened during those fifty years? Somehow I managed to graduate from two different universities with BA and MA degrees, to teach school, write some books and do 101 other interesting things, but most of all, to become the wife and mother I always wanted to be. And no, it was not with my high school sweetheart. Actually, I did accept an engagement ring from him the summer after graduation, only to return it a few months later after meeting a “drop-dead gorgeous guy” at college named Carl Jones who stole my heart the minute we met. Through the years Carl and I attended all of my class reunions. This will be my first without him.

And what do I expect at this reunion? A little heartache since my husband of 45 years will not be with me, but I hope to laugh and reminisce with my girlfriends and old classmates. And since this is an all-school reunion, being as we are so small, I’m sure I’ll see long ago acquaintances from other classes along with treasured friends. We will catch up on each other’s lives, then pull out pictures of our kids and grandkids and talk about the good old days at Wilson High School, near Henryetta, Oklahoma. 

 It was there that I learned some of life’s most valuable lessons. Our instructors compelled us to not only excel in academics, but to develop an impeccable character with virtues that would carry us through life. It was at Wilson that I developed a compassion to help others, the integrity to stand against prejudice and the ability to win or lose with dignity, whether in sports or in life. I will be forever grateful to those amazing teachers who invested their time and knowledge in me. They gave their best and expected no less.

What a remarkable gift! Even after fifty years!

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