This is the school house in which I spent 12 years learning my ABCs. The photo shows about 2/3s of the original building and off to the right is the attached gynmasium that was added when I was in the 6th grade. The place is Versailles, Indiana, a very small town with four buildings of note. One is on the square in the middle of town -- a limestone courthouse. Versailles is the county seat of Ripley County-- one of those dignified towns that build a courthouse to impress (although by any other standards it would be a small courthouse) set it on a grassy, well tree-ed square in the middle of town with the majority of the businesses around the square.
The other three buildings of note are at the west side on the same street with the school at the end of the street. The others are a very modest library and a Methodist church. All three are faced with white ceramic brick. All three exist because of a donation by the town's one self-made millionaire whose last name was Tyson. He was a founding partner of the Wallgren Drug Store chain. He's been gone a long time. (Personally, I'm very happen he had nothing to do with chickens.)
As a matter of fact, I've been gone a long time too. But I am on my way back tomorrow for a 6oth high school class reunion. There is a new school on the south side of town, and this building is now an assisted living facility. My class was the largest ever to graduate from this school, all 56 of us -- and that was a great jump in numbers from previous years because a one-room school in the wide-space-in-the-road town, Elrod, was closed and the students sent to Versailles. In the 5th grade our class swelled by a ten (if I remember correctly). Five-yaer reunions have been held for, I think, the past three decades. I've attended some of them. I was last here for the 50th reunion.
Of course there are not many of us left, if I count correctly, 16. I think ten will be at the reunion. We are aware this is a fragile time and fewer, probably, will be around in five years. So we will go to the general reunion dinner on Saturday night with other classes celebrating 5-year annivesaries, but we will gather for dinner Friday night and for brunch Sunday morning - to accommodate those who can do only two days. I think most of the survivors are relatively nearby but one woman lives near Houston and one man, the last I heard, lives most of the year in Arizona, another in Pennsyvania and here I am on Cape Cod.
I was talking with my poetry class yesterday and mentioned the trip. I do not talk about my age much although everyone knows we are all retirees. I flatter myself thinking people don't know how much over 70 I am, so when asked "which year?" I had a vanity-moment --but not a long one. I admitted it is the 60th and did not have to look hard to see that the math was obvious. Well, I started this blog with it's name to make myself accept the aging process. This weekend is certainly going to be an experience about all the years gone by.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!