Sunday, May 24, 2009

My Heart's in Hartsville -- posted by Sarah Grace

After waiting two years, the Hartsville High graduating class of 1947 finally had another high school reunion (they skipped a year). For the last five years I have escorted my grandmother. After the first one, I completely fell in love with her classmates and have looked forward to being with them every chance I get.

This year, due to Ma's weakened health, my parents also came to help with the logistics, i.e. the wheelchair and oxygen machine. I couldn't wait to introduce them to Ma's friends whom they had not yet met, but are so very dear to me.

On Friday night, my birthday, the group had dinner at Mr. B's, a local seafood restaurant. Ma surprised me with a lovely flowered pink and spring green birthday cake, and the class sang Happy Birthday. Someone yelled out "speech!" and I thought, "I'm a homeschooler, we don't do speeches!" I said something brilliant like, "I've been waiting two years to finally be here again. I'm so glad to see you all." To tell you the truth, there is no place else I'd rather celebrate my birthday.

I've often pondered why I'm so drawn to that group of people, and perhaps that generation as a whole. The most remarkable thing is their sense of decency and honor. For the most part, the men are noblemen, which is something I long to see in men from my generation. At the risk of sounding sour, I can hardly even call contemporary males men, and certainly not gentlemen. They lack maturity and sobriety and they are entertaining themselves to death, literally. I'm not suggesting all the men in her class have received the new birth, but there's a certain standard of manners and chivalry that I greatly admire.

The women of her class are lady-like and fine. I marvel at how they are content to be women and aren't trying to promote themselves. They walk in a timeless grace of manner that I hope to emulate.

I guess some would say that WWII shaped that culture, and perhaps it did, in that it awakened and instilled a shameless defense of traditional American values which included Jesus, church, family, and the golden rule. What I would give!

On Saturday, we went to Florence, SC to have lunch and pick up barbecue from Cain's to take home. On the way back to Hartsville, we stopped by to visit Anne Owings, my grandmother's close friend. We all but begged her to attend the reunion at the country club, offering to pick her up and take her home, or to our hotel if she preferred. We were disappointed she didn't feel up to it, but we had a nice, although much too brief, visit on her screen porch.

When we arrived at the country club, I was glad to see a number of people we missed at Mr. B's. For the most part, the class looked healthy and I was delighted to hug their necks again.

Now begins the wait for the next one.

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