Class of '63

Livingston Academy Class of 1963 will have a 40th reunion on July 5th of this year. Forty years since graduation. I find that so hard to believe. It doesnít seem like itís been that long, but it has. Many of us who were members of that class have children almost that old, as well as grandchildren who, if they arenít already, are on the verge of becoming teenagers. The road weíve each traveled has had lots of hills to climb as well as bumps along the way, and no doubt as our travels proceed, we will have unexpected twists and turns in the road as well. But we had a good life growing up, and I sincerely wish our children could have experienced just a little bit of what our world was like.

If your remember any of the following, youíre probably among those of us who are in our late Ď50's wondering how did we get to be this old? Do any of the following bring back memories?

A cherry coke or a vanilla coke and a slaw dog from Winningham Drug Store or the LA Drug Store;

A big plate of french fries with lots of cetchup and a Coke at Eley Drug Store;

The Bop; The Stroll; The Limbo; The Twist; The Mashed Potato;

Dick Clark and American Bandstand every afternoon after school;

Elvis, Chubby Checker, Fats Domino, Roy Orbinson, Frankie Avalon; The Drifters; The Supremes; Bobby Darren; Smoky Robinson; The Platters just to name a few;

Dave Overton and The Five OíClock Hop;

Gathered skirts with Can-Cans. One Can-Can was never enough.

Boys with cigarettes rolled up in the sleeve of a tee-shirt;

Blue jeans with the cuffs rolled up;

Black and White rock-n-roll shoes;

A cheeseburger, french fries and a Coke at the Blue Circle Drive-In;

The Ritz Theater and the Skyline Drive-In;

Curb service at the Belaire Restaurant after a movie at the Skyline;

Dancing to the music of the jute box at Winningham Drug Store during lunch hour;

Grabbing a Coke and running up the sidewalk from either the LA Drug Store or Winningham Drug Store just in time to make it to class before the bell rang.

Riding around the square;

The auditorium at Livingston Academy with the balcony walkways; Remember how no one was allowed to stand on those walkways?

The faculty at Livingston Academy our senior year. Kenneth Stephens was principal and the teaching staff included: Sue Young; Melvin Johnson; Margaret Miller; Martha Copeland; Hugh Ogletree; Roxie Ledbetter; Willie Hugh Bilbrey; Evie Tucker; Glen Masters; Evelyn Oakley; Arley Poston; Lois Warren; Thurman Crawford; Joanna Ferrill; Jeanette Smith; Billy Gene Gaw; L.E. Oakley; Lucille Hyder; Derward Vaughn; Loretta Qualls; Katherine Hale; Glenn Moore; Albert Smith; Mary Sadler; and Margret Frasier.

The Class of Ď63 was from a generation that didnít have a lot of material possessions, but we got along just fine. I canít remember even one person in our class who had a car. Once in a while someone would be allowed to drive the family car to school, but that didnít happen too often. Having a television in our homes was something that didnít come along until some of us were in the last years of grammar school or even during our high school years. The powers that were back then were careful in selecting what was broadcast into our homes too. Remember when Elvis couldnít be shown from the waist down when he performed on programs such as the Ed Sullivan Show for fear that his gyrations would not be something families, especially younger children, should view? My, my, how things have changed!

We were also a generation that had been taught to be respectful. "Please" and "Thank You" as well as "Yes Mam" "No Mam" and "Yes Sir" and "No Sir" were words that were included and used quite often in our vocabulary. We were also of a generation that didnít know about drugs. In fact, drug use that not yet reared its ugly head while we were in high school. It was our children who had to deal with the drug situation.

Were we perfect? Absolutely not. We each had our faults and shortcomings, but all in all, we were a bunch of good kids. We had some wonderful examples to look up to in our parents, teachers, and other family members as we grew to become adults ourselves. The friendships that were formed between some of our classmates have in many instances been life-long, standing by each other through good times as well as not so good. While our world was far from being perfect, it offered and included a solid foundation on which to begin building a life toward an honest, trustworthy and independent adult life that we were not only expected to live by those before us, but it was a life we each wanted for ourselves as well. We worked hard to become the adults our parents would be proud of.

The Class of Ď63 will get together once more this July 5th to share some memories, and no doubt we will do a lot of laughing as we reminisce about the last 40 years. There will be those in our number who have lots of gray hair, and some who wonít have a single gray hair on their heads. There will be some who have gained a few pounds, and some who have lost weight. There will be some who have done great things with their lives, and some who have lived what might be considered by some as ordinary lives, but probably the one most important thing each member of that class shares is being raised during a time when values were instilled in us that have lasted a lifetime. Growing up in todayís world offers so much more than ours did, but I wouldnít trade a minute of how I grew up. It was indeed a good life.


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