Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Hiram High School--Fifty-four Years a Grad ...

Hiram School (now razed)
Last Sunday (the 16th), I drove up to Welshfield, Ohio, where all the classes of Hiram High School (which closed at the end of the 1963-64 school year) gather the 3rd Sunday each July to celebrate HHS (Go, Huskies!) and, I guess, our survival. We are fewer every year.

My class, 1962, had only a few present--but we were such a small school that all of us knew kids far above and far below us in age, so I had a good time talking with classmates, near-classmates, and others whom I've not seen in a year--or, in some cases, much, much longer.

The agenda each year is fairly simple where we gather--at the Troy Community House (Welshfield is in Troy Township): a potluck late lunch/early dinner (we have a word brunch--how about we add dinch (dinner/lunch)?), some news about our classmates who have passed away this year, some updates on our financial situation (we're in pretty good shape, thanks to those HHS folks who have made it their business to keep all of this going), various announcements.

I made one this year--my recent discovery (thank you, Internet) that our former English/German/Latin teacher, Augustus H. Brunelle, had, during World War I, co-written a musical called A Buck on Leave while he was serving in France. Mr. Brunelle wrote the lyrics. Later, a fellow alum sent me this image, which he'd found on eBay--unfortunately, the item is now gone, but this is a program for the show, which toured around the USA after the war. My task now: find a copy of the script (surely it's in some library somewhere?).

But most of our time we were just catching up and laughing (and maybe lying) and trying to forget the jerkery of our adolescence, hoping memories of our cruelties and clumsiness and cluelessness are forgotten in the swirl of words and food and fun.

(BTW: I brought scones with me to the feast--maple-pecan, made with Ohio maple syrup. They went away pretty fast, I'm happy to say.)

We were a tiny school, Hiram High, a fact I concealed (for a bit) from my students later on when I told them I graduated 10th in my class. (Hey, it was still the top 3rd, sort of!) At the time, I was somewhat less than an assiduous student, more interested in sports and girls and sleep and comic books than in much else. So it goes in Testosterone Land.

I got there a few minutes late and was surprised to see such a full parking lot behind the Community Center. I had to scout around to find a place. That was encouraging.

And the place inside was packed, as well. More good news. And so, along with the others, I laughed, fell silent at the fairly long list of those who had died this year, felt enormous gratitude for the good fortune that allowed me to make to it Welshfield for yet another year.

I loved Hiram High; I mourn its passing; I regret all things regrettable that I did there (and there were far too many); I am grateful for the fading memories of my classmates (maybe they don't remember that time I ...); I hope dearly I can drive north again in the summer of 2017.

PS--A couple of days later we got the news that one of our classmates--a man who had attended the reunion, had enjoyed himself greatly--had passed away the very next day.

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