By Lynn Moncus
In 1859, Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the occasional poem called “The Boys” as a tribute to the Harvard graduates attending their 30th class reunion.
“Has there any old fellow got mixed with the boys?
If there has, take him out, without making a noise.
Hang the Almanac’s cheat and the Catalogue’s spite!
Old time is a liar! We’re twenty tonight!”
Although this was written from the male point-of-view, it contains the universal meaning each of us may feel at such gatherings. Those lines could have been recited at the community reunion at Forrest last Saturday because all who gathered there were young again for a few hours and saw no gray hair, lined faces, added weight, or infirmities.
Yes, some 130 people brought that village to life again and recalled much of the history that transpired in that location. Many basketball games were re-played, and many stories of the great times had there were recounted as we sat around visiting with each other as if we had been young only the day before. That was one thriving community with one of the top schools in the county and sent forth many young people to make their marks in the history of our country.
This woman from lma had the privilege of spending one year only there, but it was one of the best years of my life because it was in 1955 when I began my teaching career. Coach “Slim” Warren was also a beginning teacher that year and returned Saturday to help relive that time in our lives and to be seen by some of us for the first time since we had left all those years ago. We recalled a bit about how little we knew about teaching but how much we learned that year and what a privilege it was to have begun our careers there. After all, we represented two-thirds of the high school faculty that year and were both very pleased to greet and be greeted by eight of our first students.
Although I was living there for the first and only time, I had known many of the people all my life because we just naturally knew people from throughout the county in our beginnings and certainly knew those who lived on the plains. Of course, I met many more during that year and enjoyed being with those young people who represented grades seven through twelve. As a result, I felt very comfortable in that community and was most fortunate to be able to begin setting a few goals for my teaching career.
I laughingly told some of the students Saturday that I spent another 33 years trying to make up for the mistakes I made that year and was almost ready to begin teaching by the time I retired!
Thanks to Mary Nance Sours and her friends in the community for seeing that the reunion was announced, planned for, and carried out. She asked if we wanted to change the frequency of those reunions, but the group voted to continue meeting every three years as we have of late. By then, we will be ready to continue our conversations as if they had not been interrupted and to greet each other as a family of friends.
Holmes concluded his poem by saying,
“Yes, we’re boys — always with tongue or with pen,-
And I sometimes have asked — Shall we ever be men”
Shall we always be youthful, and laughing, and gay,
Til the last dear companion drops smiling away?
Then here’s to our boyhood, it gold and its gray!
The stars of its winter, the dews of its May!
And when we have done with our life-lasting toys,
Dear Father, take care of thy children THE BOYS!”
We had one outstanding reunion and are looking forward to the next one!