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Carol Perkins: Thoughts after studying MCHS Class of '64 picture

A column on the way things were, and aging, prompted by an emotional look at a framed picture of her Metcalfe County High School graduating class of 1964 and by the Diane Sawyer interview with Hillary Clinton. In the class photo, saw faces of classmates who were gone: 'Although we have not lost as many as some of the classes surrounding ours, each one was emotional because each one was a character in my life's story. School was like a story to me.' and in Diane Sawyer she saw how a beautiful young woman had become an even more attractive one over the years. Next earlier Carol Perkins column Carol Perkins: Grannies just wanta have fun, Posted June 7, 2014
Carol Perkins column, which most often runs on Sundays, is posted today because it fits so well with the topic on today's 'Susan & Carol Unscripted' on FM 99.1: Old Edmonton.

By Carol Perkins

The other day one of my former students came into my store (Main Street Screenprinting in Edmonton) and studied the huge picture of my graduating class on my back wall. Each of us girls was draped in black robes and the guys in black coats and ties. This picture once graced the walls of the high school but when the building became a middle school, framed pictures were given away and I was lucky to get this one. She was very complimentary of my picture. I never really liked it because I guess I thought I was plain. Don't we all at that age? I could certainly see others much better looking than I was.

School was like a story to me

After she left, I went back to study the group carefully. Although we have not lost as many as some of the classes surrounding ours, each one was emotional because each one was a character in my life's story. School was like a story to me. Most things are. Every grade and every teacher memorable. Each classroom imbedded. The smells constant. Even some of the projects are yellowed in boxes in my mother's attic. As I looked at that picture, I wondered what happened to that young girl. To all those young girls. To all those young men. Fifty years has happened.

Diane Sawyer looks even better now

Which brings me circling around to this topic: age. As Guy and I watched the Diane Sawyer interview with Hillary Clinton and the flashbacks to her younger years, I commented that I think she looks better now than she did then. Age has not hurt her. When Diane asked Hillary about running for president and if age would be a factor, Hillary said "NO." I agreed with her. At sixty nine, she (or any woman or man) would have the wisdom that younger adults don't have.

"Yes, that's true, but she would also not think as clearly. You may not want to admit it, but none of us think like we once did." Guy said. He tells me one too many times that I don't think like I used to. So what?

"Speak for yourself," I said.

Sometimes people think things to death

I may not think in detail like I once did, but I don't care. Sometimes people think things to death and take the pleasure out of life. I may not remember to take a check to the bank, but it will wait. I may forget to return a call, but I'll get to it. I may forget to buy butter when I went after butter, but no one will die without butter.

Thinking too much can be tiresome. For instance, going on vacation once required excessive planning and weeks of ironing and packing and making lists to get ready to go. Not so now. We planned a vacation (cruise) one week and went the next. I don't mind packing wrinkled clothes. Most places furnish irons. If I forget something, I can either buy it (a toothbrush) or I don't need it. Age brings the freedom of not over planning events. Usually the end results will be the same as if I had planned for weeks.

She and friends can carry on two or three conversations at one time

Aside: Certainly far from staying on one topic, I may be getting a little squirrely. My friends and I can carry on two or three conversations at a time and never get lost. We have mastered this ability through sixty plus years of being friends. We didn't have as much to talk about when we were the girls in the picture with the black drapes and the bouffant hairdos.

Fifty years has happened to a group of us who graduated in 1964. Age means nothing until I look at the girl in the picture and then I look into the mirror. Hillary, who is my age, may look better now than then, but I would not mind being that girl in the picture just one more time. However, she was very quiet and somewhat reserved. I'm not sure who I am now and who she was then would recognize each other. I think I might find her boring, so I'll stick with this me. - Carol Perkins

This story was posted on 2014-06-10 07:14:24
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