June 71 years ago our Daddy graduated from High School as one of a class of 36 (well, it was a petty small number and I am probably off a bit). If I remember correctly, about 8 members or honorary members have survived. Each year they meet at the Golden Corral in our home town on a certain day and Daddy was joined by two of the surviving members. I’ll call them “Miss L and Miss S.” Here in the south you are permitted to call elders by their first name if you add a “miss” in front of it, whether married or not.
Miss L is a tall, perfectly groomed lady, still vital and involved. She
told a story about a gator – she remembers when a group of men in a Model T
Ford brought a gator back to her house. For some reason they had been out
poking a stick at a gator and he grabbed the stick and wouldn’t let go.
They drug the gator back to the car and lifted the stick and he climbed up
on the running board to keep hold of the stick. Some intelligent member of the gene pool lifted the gator’s hindquarters up on the running board and the men drove back into town with the gator propped up on the side of the car.
Everyone came out of the house to look at the idiot men and their gator and
then went in to eat supper. The gator wandered off to find the nearest lake
or pond…never to be seen again.
Miss S, is a tiny, petite woman and no slouch in the fashion department. She and her rolling walker did a good job hitting the buffet at the restaurant. Not to be topped, she pulled up a gator story out of her childhood. Apparently she found a baby gator, brought him into the house and bathed him in the tub, dried him off and put him in her bed, then pulled up the covers. Mom came to find out what she was doing (it must have been one of those mom moments…) to find her small daughter patting the covers over this LIVE gator!
One of the tourist hotels in town (Its was a popular resort for the yankees) had a small “zoo” with a gator pen and she and mom took the baby gator down to the pen and turned it loose with the big gators…
They also talked about going to a local drug store with a soda fountain and
ordering a “glop”. You would pull up to the drug store, and someone would
come out to take your order. A Glop was an ice cream sundae, two scoops
with chocolate sauce served in a tiny coca-cola glass (Miss L held her
hands up with her fingers about 3 inches apart). All this for a NICKEL!
I remember Daddy telling us about going to town to get a “dope,” their term
for coca-cola…and about the neighbor that grew poppies each year to make
medicine for her family. She sure couldn’t do that today!
I love these stories and respect that these are people that graduated from a small school, survived wars, economic downturns, built successes and overcame failures. It is an honor to celebrate each year with them.