Saturday, October 8, 2011


Last weekend, I went to lunch with one of my oldest friends, Darlene. Darlene didn’t attend kindergarten with me [wasn‘t mandatory], but  she came to Perkerson Elementary in 1960, where she and I shared many classrooms and teachers.  


Darlene and I have been friends for 51 years. We attended not only elementary school together but also high school where we always hung out with the same people.

Darlene: Uh, I wasn't on the drill team till I was a senior. It was a sympathy win.
Me: LOL. I don't remember that at all.
Darlene: I do.

After high school, she and I attended and graduated from different colleges; she got married fairly young, had a child, and I followed a path to becoming a career high school teacher.

As we ate our lunch, we enjoyed laughing and reminiscing as Darlene had brought with her a copy of  The Golden Memories, our high school annual from 1972, the year we graduated, and we looked at people and wondered.

Darlene, who has a much better memory than I and who is a sweet, sentimental soul, did a lot better job of keeping up with people than I did and in remembering things that I didn't.

Darlene: You remember all that candy we sold as a fund raiser?
Me: What?
Darlene: Oh you know, we did it to raise money for the Junior/Senior.
Me: [concentrating] Candy? Door to door? Friends and family? Was it chocolate?

Perhaps, she remembers better than I because she attends the reunions.

I only attended my 10th and 20th class reunions and then “meh.” I taught high school for a living. Why would I want to immerse myself back into the history of my own? I found it all too surreal. I dunno.


Stuck inside Darlene’s annual was a newspaper clipping from May 21, 1972, from the front section of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.
There in all its grainy, very grainy, glory was our claim to fame: a photo of us taken from a helicopter [?] over the Chattahoochee River by an AJC photographer.

Darlene and I, and six others -- Gloria, Jonathan, Pam, George, Brad, and Bill, participated in this relatively new phenomena known as the Chattahoochee Ramblin’ Raft Race that first began on Memorial Day weekend in 1968, apparently the brain child of a Georgia Tech student but later taken over by a local radio station, and continued annually for about 12 years until sensible, “green,” people shut it down. 


When I look at the entry in Wikipedia for this “event,” I am quite shocked at its description. I promise you that if it had that reputation at the time, well, my parents would never have allowed me to participate in it nor would they have given their backyard to the building of the "said"  raft for it.

Just sayin’.

In the spring of 1972, I was seventeen years old and just months away from going away to college. I knew I would miss my high school friends, of some, like Darlene, I had known all my life.

A group of us had heard about the Raft Race on the radio, and said, “That sounds like fun. Let’s build a raft! Let’s float down the river with other people we don’t’ know! Let’s get involved with something we know nothing about! We’re young. We’re smart! We can build a raft! Let’s build a raft! I’ve read Huck Finn.!!! I'm almost a high school graduate!!!!”

Or something like that….

So, I think that’s gonna be one of my next blogs -- the Chattahoochee Ramblin’ Raft Race, 1972.

I need time to look for pictures. Meanwhile, enjoy this one from the AJC.

ETA: Do you know which one I am?

*tee hee*


  1. It was so great to see you! Isn't it funny how we can remember things from thirty years ago, yet I can't remember where I dropped my keys thirty minutes ago!

    The Ramblin Raft Race of 72' what a blast! Do you remember the name we gave our raft? It was "Up Your Satisfaction". Seems there was some debate on "Satisfaction" or "Up Yours". So we just combined the names...

    I do remember we had to cough up a $100 deposit to put it in the water. They gave us a sticker that had to be attached to the raft. In order to get our deposit back we had to bring them the sticker. This was to ensure we got our junk out of the river. Well as I recall by the time we reached the end, we were all holding it together with our hands. We had long lost our "oars" and we were at the mercy of the river current. I have never been so tired.

    But what a time we all had!

  2. From Gary. Who can't comment. :(

    I read about your meeting with your friend and the HS yearbook.
    So funny. Three weeks ago I went with eleven of my H.S. buddies on a golf outing to middle Tennessee. Most of us took Friday off. I went up and stayed overnight in Chattanooga so we could leave early and get in 18 on Friday. We ended up playing 27 holes. That night we met up with the remaining guys and went to dinner. Then back to the cabins for "refreshments".
    I haven't seen a couple of these guys in twenty years. What was amazing, was that no one has changed. It was as if we had just left H.S. and were out without our parent's permission again.
    For you-not comment worthy.
    Lots of funny stories starting with "Remember when we . . ." Incidently, I hate to top you BUT, my friend Mark, whom I see several times a year is one day older than me. We were both in the hospital at the same time, then attended school together First grade through College. (I was in his wedding, he was in mine.) Anyway, it made me think of the many stupid, immature things we tried to do in school.
    Most of the guys graduated the year before me. The eve of the night before their graduation I somehow talked my parents into letting me go out with them to pull the Senior prank on the school.
    We knew a guy whose Father had a tire store, so we collected two truck loads of tires with the intention of putting them over the flagpole. So we're out, with all these tires and some huge ladder, driving to the school about 2:00 in the morning. We saw a giant red glow and immediately thought someone had torched the school.
    As we approached the area where the school was located (trying desperately to avoid the police), we discovered it wasn't the school but a nearby church on fire. In our twisted logic that meant no one would be watching the school!
    So off we went. Avoided the police and started unloading the tires. One large problem, however, we could not overcome. The ladder was too short and we were all too scared to climb, what now seemed to be, the tallest flagpole in America. So we started putting the tires in front of the doors of the school. Then we went down to the stadium and placed the hurdles on the center of the field to make the number "78". Just as we finished the blue lights came on and we scattered. A good amount of our time as teens, was spent avoiding detection and capture by the police. They never really did anything anyway. On this night we were a little more concerned due to the FIRE! We were afraid they were going to blame us so we used extreme measures to avoid capture. This included scattering in the dark and slipping under a chin link fence, doubling back and hiding in the wet kudzu for half an hour. Somehow we all escaped, made it back to the hidden trucks and sped away.
    A picture of the hurdles was taken the next day and is on the inside cover of that year's annual, (Yearbook).