Sheila L. Jackson: North Caddo 30th Class Reunion
“Came To Learn, Left To Grow, Back To Remember”
Greetings: Good Evening
I would like to thank the North Caddo High School of 1978 class committee for choosing me to speak at your 30th class reunion. I see many familiar faces here tonight, which I have had the pleasure of meeting through my husband, your classmate, Timothy Jackson. As the night progresses, I hope to get the opportunity to meet those that I do not know.
I feel so blessed and honored to be able to stand before you and to help celebrate your 30th class reunion with you. Many years have passed and I know that your minds have drifted back from time to time to the days when your life was simple and carefree. You may have often wondered what has become of your childhood friends since leaving high school.
Although many could not be here tonight for varies reason. You celebrate with the ones that are present and shed a tear for those that you have lost throughout the years. You may feel awkward at first, but when you start sharing your old high school stories—although some of them may not be exactly as you remembered— the feeling quickly vanishes.
You came to North Caddo High School, your final stage of Secondary Education with high expectations. All of those expectations were not geared towards learning, but meeting those of the opposite sex and waiting to experience those long awaited fantasies that you had about high school. Learning algebraic equations was not at the top of your to do list, but saving money to buy the latest outfit for a hot date and to purchase your favorite record.
Girls, you dressed to the nines in your mini-skirts, clogs, bell bottoms and hip huggers. While the boys wore shirts that were unbuttoned slightly to expose the fuzz on their chest that they swore were chest hairs. They would over splash themselves with Aqua Velva and Old Spice Cologne to impress the girls. Their Afros sit high and some wore their hair long and straight getting ready to go out and dance to the latest tunes.
Music such as:
1. “Shake and Dance” by Confunction
2. “We Will Rock You” by Queen
3. “Only The Good Die Young” by Billy Joel
4. “Always And Forever” by Heatwave,
5. “Boogie Shoes” by KC and The Sunshine Band
6. “Flash Light” by Parliament
7. “Three Times A Lady” by the Commodores
8. “Blame It On The Boogie” by the Jacksons were the songs that were topping the chart in 1978.
Music was the one thing that could bring everyone one together as one, although football and basketball games, dating, parties, and hanging out with friends should have been some of the most memorable times in High School. You also had to learn how to deal with many of the social issues that was taking place during your high school years. Schools were being integrated, and for the first time in many of your lives you had to learn more than Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. But how to get along with those that were different in color. And through learning how to get along with others, you formed lasting relationships with people that shared the same interest and goals as you.
Upon completion of your high school years many left home to go off to college, while others went straight to work. You were met with many of life challenges and learned that life will not cover up your mistakes as your parents and teachers once did. When you left the safety of your parent’s home and left to grow and explore and experience life on your own; you finally realized that when your parents said that money was tight, it was not that they didn’t want to give it to you, but that they simply did not have it give. You quickly learned who F.I.C.A and the IRS was, when you thought your employer made an error on your paycheck. Leaving the nest to spread your own wings at that point seemed like a bad idea or a nightmare that you prayed God would soon awake you from.
As you left to grow, many friendships that were formed in High School became distant. People in the real world seemed unkind and their friendships were contingent on conditions. No longer can you hang out with the boys are your girl friends, but you now have families to provide for and High School days are now just a memory.
You have now become your parents when you swore in High School that you would never be. Cliché’s that they used, you thought were crazy, you now find yourself saying them to your kids. Although 1978 were times of innocents and predators were unheard of. You now have had to learn how to raise your kids to watch their backs and not to trust anyone; when you were raised to trust adults.
The growing pains were hard, but through the grace of God you made it through 30 years of learning life’s up and down and quickly realized that no one gives you anything for free, but that you have to work hard if you were to make it in life. Now you see why your parents made you washed the dishes, take the trash out, and mowed the lawn to earn money, when they had it to give. You thought that God placed them in your life to make you miserable. But they were preparing you for the real world and wanted you to learn that if you wanted something in life that you had to earn it.
You are here tonight to remember all the friendships that were made over 30 years ago. Tonight is not the night to show off or try to impress each other with your accomplishments or material gain, but to remember lost friends and rejoice and reminisce of your high school days with those who remain.
Yes, life passes quickly. Your hair has grayed, your vision has slightly dimmed, and you feel aches and pains in parts of your body that you did not know exist. And maybe one day, time will come to claim your memory. But until that time comes, put aside old reveries, past hurts, broken friendships, and your prejudices and hang ups that once separated you as classmates, because life is short and people are passing away all too soon.
Too see your classmates, whether a familiar friend or someone that you sat by in class, but never had the chance to know personally. Tonight is the night that you finally get to know them, because this opportunity may never come again.
You came to your 30th high school reunion tonight to remember all the fun, the tears, the laughter, and pain that seem like only yesterday. You also came to see who’s Afro has become the new bald look and who’s straight hair has become the trend—better known as— the comb over. Who still have their own teeth, who still look the same, and the person that you are still trying to figure out who they are. And for the women, you will be checking out who still have their girlish figure that you wished you had in high school, who’s married, divorced, or never been married. But most of all, you came back to remember.