Sunday, May 20, 2012

Grace King High School 40th Reunion

Kathy put it all together
I admit it.  I am old enough to have graduated 40 years ago now, and it is official.  I went to the Reunion.  It was an all girl public school.  No boys at all during these days of segregation.

The school was in the final stages of completion in the year I was a freshmen.  That would be 1967-1968.  Miniskirts, Beatles and big hair.  So we platooned at Riverdale, the only other girl's high school in Metairie at the time.  Metairie was a growing suburb of New Orleans and the up and coming families were moving out in the Parish.  That meant Jefferson Parish.  My grandmother was not so happy.

Novella was class president
Forgot to get picture before eating
Platoon System meant that the Riverdale girls and the Grace King girls went to the same school but one group went from 6:30 AM to 12 noon and the other group went from 12:30 pm to 6 pm.  Thus we used the same buildings at the same time.

House was incredible
So we were the first freshmen class at Grace King.  About half of the year through we transferred to our new building and went normal hours.  But that was not to stay permanent because my sophomore year we started platooning again.  Not sure why they called it the platoon system.  Sounds army like.

Mary Beth owns the house
So we did that for the rest of our high school years.  It was tough, we flip flopped each year -- morning to evening.  And we had no sports teams, no cheerleaders, no interactions with boys.  When we had ball room dancing I was the boy because I was taller.  And I still lead to this day.

Poor photographer!
Our classes were 45 minutes long so there was not much time for interacting, and no after school pep rallies, or dances or clubs.  So we really didn't get to know the 997 girls who we in my class.  Yep, a thousand girls in my graduation class.  And I was like #35 and it still wasn't good enough for my father to allow me to accept that scholarship.  So I married Frank instead.

Me and Velvet the witch
In those years, I had only about 5 friends.  Cathy, Velvet, Terry, Diane, Cindy.  And even then it was touch because we came from a huge geographic area and there was none of this driving kids around places like we do today.  And Diane and Cindy were on the opposite platoon from me.

But Velvet was a witch and Cathy dated then married my Godfather's son and Terry lived within walking distance and Diane lived within biking distance and sometimes my mother could wake up out of her little purple pill stupor and drive me to Cindy's for a while.

I saw Velvet and Cathy at the reunion.  It really was great seeing them after so many years.  Velvet is still a witch, Cathy has divorced my god-brother and has her own boat dock.  I recognized a lot of names of girls, and we all sort of recognized each other with 40 years of age.  Some girls still looked like they did in high school, just older.  Others aged well and were young looking.  Still others lived through some tough times and looked way older than they should have.

One inspiring story was Nancy.  She was living in New Orleans still when Katrina hit.  And she was undergoing cancer treatments.  When the levee broke and her home was 6 feet under water for weeks, she was evacuated as a special medical need because her treatment needed to be continued.  She ended up in Vanderbilt Univ Hospital in TN.  She and her husband no longer had jobs.  She had no access to her money because the New Orleans and Gulf Coast based banks were flooded and not working.  And she was sick.

She talks about the generosity of the people in whose midst she landed.  They gave her family food, a place to live, medical treatment and care, clothes to wear.  They wrapped their arms around her family and helped them survive.  She never left Nashville.

Can you imagine going through that?

I enjoyed it.  Same as the 30th, still didn't have any great revelations that high school was better than I thought.  But I am glad I went, to see Velvet and Cathy and to hear Nancy's story.  That was worth the drive.



  1. Oh what fun! My 40th is this year too, that class of 72 sure had some creative gals in it! I'm NOT driving all the way back to Ohio to go to it. I went to the 20th and that was enough!
    Glad you had a good time, great pics, thanks for sharing. :)

  2. Hi Glen, thanks for sharing your story, glad you had a good time - we are about the same age! Relationships with other people, that's what it's all about, isn't it? I'm going to see a college roommate this coming weekend - first time in over 35 years. So pumped!


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