Saturday, October 8, 2011
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?
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.
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?