Tim Horan

The school mascot during my middle school-aged years was a Spartan.

“The mighty, mighty Spartans” so went the school song.

The school colors were purple and white.

While memories about the former Garfield Elementary School surfaced when the renovated building was opened to the public last month, the photograph of the Abilene High School in Tuesday’s newspaper also jarred flashbacks for me.

Even though I sometimes feel like I attended that high school back in the 1950s, I actually wandered those halls when it was the Abilene Junior High.

Kinda makes one start singing “Memories.”

Many of the recollections of those two years at the school that was once located on Buckeye Avenue aren’t the fondest.

• Navigating the two-story building on the first day of school. (They didn’t have Meet the Teacher Day or Orientation Day back then.)

• Being thrown into classrooms with students I didn’t know, but being happy to at least find the right classroom.

• Forgetting my locker combination. (If I was able to actually find the locker.)

• Signed paddles hanging on the walls in most classrooms, even in the office of the girls’ PE teacher. (She may have hit the hardest.)

• Getting weekly grade slips, and naturally failing in English. (By failing two classes, one was not allowed to suit up for sports the next game so I was motivated to keep the grades up.)

• Being told over and over that I was “going to work with my hands.” (Probably because of that English grade and yes, I still struggle with grammar.)

• Getting sent home for wearing bellbottom pants. (They weren’t even jeans.)

• Detention.

• Fights across the street off school grounds. (They were usually broken up by Coach Gil Green.)

• Sweating indoors when the temperature topped 90 degrees and just a box fan was in a window if the window would open far enough. (But walking through the rain or snow each day at noon for lunch at Garfield.)

• Tipping the scales at 100 pounds which was not an asset when I was on the football field.

• Walking to the City Building to play basketball games because the court at the junior high was too small. (How in blazes did the high school team play on that court? The movie Hoosiers was based on a true story of high school basketball in 1954.)

• Attempting to sing in Mr. Gerald Laudermilk’s music class. (I wasn’t much better with the recorder, which we called a flute-a-phone.)

There were some good times, mostly not related to the three Rs.

• Maybe football wasn’t so fun, but basketball and golf were a blast. (Yes, they had golf in junior high. I found my junior high sports letter with several medals still attached.)

• Managing to not cut off a finger in Mr. George Missimer’s shop class. (Yes, I was working with my hands.)

• Gym class where we were exposed to other sports like wrestling and boxing.

• Not getting paddled by Mr. Missimer. (But then he was the golf coach and I think the paddles were mainly just to scare the students into behaving.)

• Sock hops. (Then getting harassed by other boys for apparently dancing with the wrong coed.)

• Having three Tims sitting together in class. (We didn’t confuse the teacher on purpose. Honestly.)

• Meeting a cute girl with long hair with big blue eyes. (Though I was too shy to say hello right away.)

I hope the kids this week are making lots of good memories right now in spite of the unusual routines and guidelines for 2020.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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