Reminiscing on fond memories from high school

Published 4:01 pm Tuesday, January 5, 2021

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Entering the ninth grade had a new meaning of friendship for many of us. As we sat on the bench and watched senior after senior enter the doors of the high school, there were not many that did not have a girlfriend and he was carrying her books. That is something that we had not seen before.  Jamie Weatherly, Kenneth (Big Lemon) Cratch, Henton Chesson and I watched and were startled by what we saw. There were many things that we had to get used to and that was just one. We still had Mr. Carl Smith to protect us from some of the experiences we were about to have.

This was a day in our lives that we had all been waiting for since we entered school. We were finally in high school but only a freshman. Situations in our life were about to change and change fast. No longer were we the “Kings of the Block”, we were low men on the totem pole. And we found this out fast. Oh, my friends from the neighborhood, Joey Stalls, Burger Drake and Phil Edwards had warned us about it but we never believed them. Heck, we did even have a girlfriend and carried our own books and proud of it too.

We were last to lunch, last to get called for recess, our rooms were on the eighth grade hall and to top that off, we dressed in the back of the fieldhouse where the JV football team’s locker room was located. I had never been last in anything in my life and was not used to it.  We were even lined up on the fence after the sophomores got their equipment and tapped on the shoulder to tell us we had made the team.  The same would follow for all sports because we were freshmen! Got a little tired of that and when Ralph Hodges got hurt one game, I got the call to go in but was not standing on the sideline, so Larry Walker went instead of me.  Next time, I was standing on the sideline when Coach Houston called for me. He taught me a valuable lesson and one that I carried throughout my career.

Mr. Smith did introduce me to a sophomore, Susan Roebuck, who I dated briefly and carried her books to her class then ran back to my hall in time for my class. I wanted to impress my classmates who did not have a girlfriend’s books to carry. I did not impress them at all. They knew how fast I ran just to get to class, and when class was over, ran back to get her books again. Susan was a sweetheart and one of the nicest people I ever knew. She graduated at the top of her class two years later.

Four years later when we were seniors, I never wanted a freshman to be ahead of my class. They were treated like all freshman classes before them. If only I had listened to Burger, Joey and Phil it would have been a little easier. But, I will never forget that first day of school sitting on the bench in the lobby and wishing my life away, along with Jamie, Big Lemon and Henton. We all made it and fifty four years later can joke about it now.

My lesson for the young people that are in high school today is to not wish your life away.  When you are in elementary school, you wish you were in middle school; while in middle school, you wish you were in high school, and then you wish you were in college.  Well young people, enjoy your years in school, for they are the best days that you might have. They were for me! 

They were the best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places, Washington, N.C.! The Original Washington!

— Harold Jr.

Harold Robinson Jr. is a native of Washington.