May 19, 1966, High School Graduation. Dedicated to my classmates
For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice. Psalm 63:
You’ll Never Walk Alone
Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone
Tears filled our eyes as we marched down the gym floor listening to our school choir and friends sing “When You Walk Through a Storm…” I wondered what the future has in store? The last 12 years I have spent every day in school with the security of these classmates and friends. Will our paths meet again? Will there be storms that we will walk through? Will we remember to hold our heads up high?
Together we cheered the Lewis Spartan teams and marched in band – in nearly perfect formation. Sometimes we were naughty and sometimes nice to our teachers. We girls cooked together and sewed together in Home Ec. In shop class the boys were building furniture and making cutting boards.
Fun times consisted of slumber parties, birthday parties, and fishing parties. We country kids rode horses with our neighbors, got up early to do chores, and admired the kids that were lucky enough to live in town. The weekend ritual, if there were no home game, was dragging main in Kinsley, Kansas, honking our horns and waving at friends. Gas was about 18 cents a gallon. We girls were always on the lookout for boys. Later in the evening, we ended up at the Palace Theatre watching movies or went roller skating.
I loved the Friday night dances in the back of the Lewis Café. We danced to the Beatles, Everly Brothers, Ricky Nelson, Peter, Paul and Mary, and any other 45 record someone brought to the dance. Another highlight was having a week without classes while we prepared for our junior and senior class plays.
4-H kept the farm kids busy. We worked on cooking and sewing projects that we entered in the county fair. We practiced good posture by walking around with books on our heads and learned to model our clothes. It was important to learn to set the table correctly so we would be successful housewives. We tamed and bathed our sheep and beef–then tearfully auctioned them off at the end of the fair. We spent hours hanging around the carnival.
My favorite extra-curricular activity was Sunday evening MYF. We deepened our faith, friendships, and learned that God would be with us every day for the rest of our lives.
Forty-nine years have passed since our graduation from Lewis High School. I heard our song today in aerobics class at the Senior Center–“When You Walk through a Storm.” We were winding down after an hour of exercise. I had a flashback of graduation. I suddenly thought, ”I am a senior again. I graduated from work and into the activities of retirement.”
I thought of each classmate and prayed for them. There were only 15. We all weathered storms; some went through marriage and divorce, death of parents, death of classmates, difficulty raising children, medical emergencies, family members with addictions. Some never married or had children. A few joined the military; others made their career their life work or changed careers. Some are grandparents and maybe great grandparents. A few are still working but most are retired. Most adventured a long way from Kansas; others never left Lewis. A couple we have lost touch with; others had early tragic deaths.
Next year as we spend time together celebrating our 50th it will be the last time some of us ever get together. However, I know in my heart, our friendships will pick up where they left off 50 years ago. Life-long friends are the dearest.
PRAYER: Dear Father, Thank you for the friends and the Lewis community where most of us spent 12 years in school together. I wonder if everyone remembered our childhood religious training as they walked through storms in their lives. Thank you because if we couldn’t see where we were going, You were always with us and You knew the outcome of our stories. Sometimes we focus on the storms and forget all the blessings. Thank you, dear Father, for all our many blessings that You have showered on me and my classmates. Amen
PRAYER FOCUS AND THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK
Hold our heads up high and reach out for God’s hand as we walk through the storms of our golden years.