So many have come and gone. Remembering faces and stories from the past are opportunities to learn many lessons as they help us see the value in caring and befriending those around us. We have but look around to see how the departed are missed. Their departure has left a hole in our lives. People we cared about passed because of illnesses, such as cancer, heart failure, or perhaps an accident. We have continued on for the moment, but know that we will soon join them in death. I personally am not fearful of that dark curtain that will soon enough overtake me. After all, dying is part of the cycle of life itself among mankind as well as God’s creation. It seems true that the old adage “death & taxes” applies universally.
For those of us who have just celebrated Easter and embrace a faith that there is life after death, dying is not to fear. We look forward to a time of finally learning more of the story that has given us hope and comfort. Sure, there are some who have gone ahead that we miss. Just think what a joy it will be to hear their stories and be able to laugh with them again over our earthly follies. In many cases I know little of their lives since we left high school for new adventures, but I know they were brought up well and were certainly well loved.
Here, during this grand springtime when flowers are bursting out in colors only a loving God could create, it is a fitting time to pause and remember. While I may name a few names, the size of the article and my fleeting memories will require that some persons of equal importance will be overlooked. I am sorry but accept the fact I know little to nothing about ‘what happened’ to those mentioned or not mentioned. Therefore, I will mention a name and a face, or perhaps an event that comes to mind. In death, even as in life, we continue that warm feeling of everlasting friendship of those who have gone ahead.
I am sorry for the losses we carry in our memories, but am glad for the time we knew them. They have fit into a place of belonging and will be a part of us even into the next life, too soon to follow for us all. I remember often good times I shared with Harry Richard Cyrus. Diminutive, but having a determination to succeed in sports in spite of the pains brought on when he was overrun by larger players during competitive competition made him a star in my book. I remember playing one- on-one football in the rain until we were so covered with mud that we had to get in an empty bathtub to be hosed down.
Johnny Justice, always on the wild side, was a true friend. He was treated by many unfairly, but he held no grudges that I know of. I remember when some thugs beat him and sent him to the hospital, but even then he was quick to forgive and embrace his friends who stood by him.
I played on town hill with Jimmy Mullins for many of our growing up years. We laughed for hours and spent our time enjoying nature.
Creep Chandler lived only a block from me. His mom was bedridden and that required he stay close by. His father was a postman that delivered mail around the county. He was quick during reunions to find me and swap a few stories. It was Creep’s muddy berm that Harry Richard and I used for that game. I think we left his yard looking as if a four-wheeled truck had torn it a sunder.
I had tons of respect for a classmate named Paul Davis. He was a true gentleman. I remember when he declared his desire to date a young lady I had recently broken up with. I had told him to treat her better than I had and there would be no hard feelings.
I grew up with Sandy Adams, but many times under competitive conditions. She and I were the most talented artists in our grade school classes and were both often appointed ‘co-editors’ of school papers, etc. We also were in church activities together, but she beat me on taking the role of president of our fellowship. She made it clear that she intended to follow her father’s career in law. Her dad was a well-respected judge. I visited Sandy a few years later when she was practicing law in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I got to see her in action in the courtroom. I saw her again at one of our reunions but heard shortly after that she had passed away. She left a hole in my life in spite of any ongoing relationship.
I had one date in high school with Ruth Holbrook at an FHA dance. She was so sweet and beautiful but being the dumb guy that I am, I ended up on her blacklist. Still, she wrote a note in my senior yearbook that reflected forgiveness.
Jim Bob Hatcher and Butch Wellman lived just down the block from me. I played with them and was sorry to hear they had been killed in an accident.
I was told that a classmate, Bruce May, had passed away. A fellow band member, he had left what I was told, was a large family.
I remember also a neighbor from just across the street, Jimmy Walker, who passed a few years ago. He and I met several times when I was in town for reunions. I was sorry to hear of his passing. I knew his sister, Myrtle, whom I believe is still an active member of the DAR in our precious little home town.
Paul (Duck) Roberts lived in High Bottom and played all high school sports. He told me at a reunion that he had retired as a cross country truck driver. He shared a few stories with me about being ‘on the road,’ but I remain amazed how he and other professional drivers back those big rigs into some very tight places.
Lois Caudill lived on Clay Street near the old Coke Plant. She was a member of the band, a cheerleader, Chorus and many other activities she was well involved in school, church and the community.
Jack Cyrus was such a fun guy. He was a natural leader and had such a great sense of humor. I enjoyed sitting with him and sharing stories during one of the reunions.
William (Billy John) Sparks played in the band, but became the high school principal. He was active in his church and enjoyed helping others. I met with him, too, along with his wife at a reunion. It was good to see them.
There were others from other classes, but these listed are some that come to mind. Since I don’t live in Louisa and many of the old gang live spread out all around the country, I may not have heard of the passing of some. A few are blessed, but I am left to wonder when we will join the dearly departed and celebrate a true reunion and homecoming with our risen Savior.