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Columbus High School Memories 1967 to 1970

CHS Memories 1967-1970

Columbus High School (CHS) was my home away from home from the fall of 1967 until I graduated in June of 1970. Lord knows I spent enough time in that old building for it to qualify as a second home...On page 20 of the 1968 CHS Yearbook, it says "students spend an average of 35 hours a week in school. Using books occupies much of this time."  I wonder what percentage "daydreaming" would have come in at...With 2400-2500 students attending CHS, there's talk of a second high school that will open in 1971 (page 22), and on page 25, someone unbeknownst to me scribbled in a pencil mustache on Duane Anthony's upper lip. 1968 fashion? "Long hair" for boys (huh!), girl's headbands shaped like buckles, chain belts for the girls, wide watch bands and black and white saddle shoes...there are two photos of Maija Meijers stuck between pages 30 and 31. The pics were taken by me in Bloomington Indiana a few years later..."Social Studies Teachers Try to Prepare Pupils for the World" is the caption on page 41, as well as mention of a new course called "Family Living," which, I guess, was supposed to enlighten us all in ways to get along with our parents. That's a pretty difficult task for any teenager...Two thousand and four yearbooks were sold in 1968 at a price of $4.00 each...the Columbus Bulldogs scored a whopping 123 points in their 1967/1968 season opener against Bloomington. I wonder if that record has ever been broken...the Gymnasts won state, beginning a tradition for a number of years...Two captions: the first on pages 124 & 125 says "Ballads, psychedelic rock, soul music express the emotions and self-searching of our times." With the release of the Beatles' SGT Pepper album in the summer of 1967, popular music began to change in our 1967/1968 school year. Whereas songs like "The Ballad of the Green Berets" and "Hanky Panky" were topping the Billboard charts a year earlier, 1967/68 found us listening to the Monkees "Pleasant Valley Sunday,"  Scott McKenzie's "San Francisco," and Janis Ian's "Society's Child," which may have fueled that self-searching for some 1968 CHS graduates. But, at the age of 15 and only a sophomore, there was very little "self-searching" I practiced at this time. That would come along later in my junior and senior years... The other headline: "While hippies sit-in and soldiers fight, seniors prepare to meet challenges of the adult world" on pages 126 &127. The only place I had ever seen a "hippie" was on tv and NONE on the streets of Columbus Indiana...Being a sophomore, I guess I could relate to a few of the headlines in the sophomore section of the 1968 Yearbook: "Drivers Licenses mean privileges, responsibilities, unlicensed few await magic sixteenth birthday" and "Our motto: Study Study Study--but not too hard..." My 1967/68 school year at CHS began with the foundation of many new friendships, and ended with those new bonds strengthening and growing.  It also began and ended with me contemplating the question where do I fit in to the overall scheme of life at CHS. Although those bonds of friendship would grow as the CHS years passed, I would only question more and more where I fit in as the days went by...

The 1969 CHS yearbook seemed to take a more introspect look at life, as compared to the 1968 Yearbook. "As the generation of leaves, so is that of men" by Homer and "Knowledge is a comfortable and necessary retreat and shelter for us in an advanced age"...and "if we do not plant it while young, we live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths; in feelings not figures on a dial" by PJ Bailey and "I am alone with the beating of my heart" by Lui Chi, filled the opening pages of this Yearbook. This was called the "Kaleidoscope," and seems very fitting as I glance back upon both the pictures and those times...I was now a junior. I had taken Driver's Ed, with Bruno Milakovic as my driving intructor during the summer, and, what had seemed like had taken forever, finally joined the ranks of the "driving privileged." I discovered the illustrated world of Ray Bradbury and, with such lines as

    "Fire exploded over summer night lawns. You saw sparkling faces of uncles and aunts. Skyrockets fell up in the brown shining eyes of cousins on the porch, and the cold charred sticks thumped down in dry meadows far away," 

at the age of 16, I was convinced that I wanted to become a writer. I was still hanging out with my friends on the weekends and cruising 25th Street, but as 1969 grew into April and May, I found myself spending more time by myself, writing on a park bench at Donner Park, or toiling over words in my bedroom. That "self-searching" enigma had finally come to visit...Another influence on my writing at this time was Paul Simon from the folk duo Simon and Garfunkel. To this day, I believe Paul Simon to be one of the finest writers that ever put verse to music...On page 41 of the 1969 Yearbook, there is a caption from one of Simon and Garfunkel's songs, "Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you." It's from their Bookends album. I played that album until I wore the grooves off the record. Mr. Duane Anthony just happens to be on the same page, but no one penciled in a mustache on his lip in this picture...FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING was initiated during the 1968/69 school year. You went to school at 8:00, 8:57, or 9:54 and got out at 12:43, 1:40, 2:37, or 3:34. Mr. Addleman was the man with this plan, and it helped our terribly overcrowded situation out a great deal...The male students' hair possibly crept down a little more over the ears than in the previous year, thus creating the caption "Deans get uptight over students' hair and clothes," but in comparing the 1968 Yearbook pictures to these, you can't see much of a difference. Ah, those rules and disciplinary measures of 1968/1969, and how they've changed...The Big Blue Band members sold 1 1/2 tons of fruitcake to raise funds for expenses. That works out to be about a pound and a half a student...The Columbus Bulldog basketball team didn't break 100 this year, but came close at 95 against Southport...the Gymnasts however, capture another State Championship with no mention of school being let out for the day as Judson Earne had promised if the Bulldog basketball team won State...780 Seniors graduated from CHS on June 3, 1969...It was our turn, speaking here of the Junior Class, to receive our class rings...One of the captions in the Junior class section says "Dirndl skirts, ruffly blouses and vests are worn with textured hose," however, not much of that fashion statement is seen in our class pictures...As the 1968/1969 school year came to a close, confusion moved in with me and decided to stay awhile. The future was getting closer. Current events unpacked its bags in my room, leaving me the task of putting everything away with very little knowledge of where things went. Not quite an adult, not quite a kid. Somewhere in between those two worlds with both pulling and tugging at my shirtsleeves, June of 1969 came and went, taking me along for the ride...

A few weeks before the 1969/1970 school year began, Jack Fitzpatrick, Steve Streit, Alan Everroad and I went to Canada. We began talking about the trip months before that 1969 August (I believe at this point in time that the trip was Jack's idea) and saved what money we could until we all had enough (it was agreed that each of us would take a minimum of $100). On the Saturday we were scheduled to leave, Streit suddenly and without warning changed his mind and didn't want to go. With Jack's car loaded up, we drove over to Streit's house, and after much arm twisting and badgering from the three of us, he finally agreed to go. He packed his bag, threw it in the trunk, and we took off. Just outside of Columbus, Streit yells out, "Jack! Pull in to this gas station!" Jack stopped the car, Streit jumps out and runs over to the phone booth. He pulls out a dime and deposits it in the pay phone. He finishes his conversation and walks back to the car with a big smile on his face. "What was that all about?" I enquired. Streit smiles bigger and says, "I had to call my boss and tell him I wouldn't be into work next week." We all broke out laughing. Ah, the life and responsiblities of a seventeen year old...The trip was great. Alan brought along his dad's credit card, which we used for our hotel rooms. Four guys in one room...was there any other way to go? We took Jack's Ford and 4 8-track tapes: Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends, The Doors first album, and Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced. Even to this day, when I hear the long version of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, I still wait for that "click" in the middle of the song where the 8-track changes tracks...We made it as far as London Ontario and  spent most of our time hanging out in the Holiday Inn swimming pool and sightseeing. We went to a place called Winterland one night and saw a band called Led Zeppelin. After London, we headed on to Niagra Falls. Alan and I visited Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and had our picture taken with Richard Nixon. We heard about an outdoor event called Woodstock and talked about going, but Alan had lost his wallet somewhere between Madame Tussaud's and where we stood on the street talking about it. In the long run, money won out: we were almost broke and decided not to go.  After a brief stop in Pennsylvania to visit some of Alan's relatives, we headed home...On page 19 of the 1970 Yearbook there's this caption: "Expanding--by crossing borders, changing cultures in a matter of hours--then being rewarded by a greater appreciation of individualism." Those words did a great job of summing up my feelings of our vacation that August in 1969, and as strange as it might sound, brought some kind of simple understanding inside me...Fashion statement? Check out the picture at the bottom of page 31, and this all important caption on page 73: DEANS ALLOW GIRLS TO WEAR CULOTTES! Page 39 says that our class was the largest graduating class at CHS at 732 students. I counted 765 senior photos, but 768 sticks in my mind as the correct number, for some reason. If you recall what I mentioned earlier about the 1969 graduating class, that number was 780, so I'm confused about this...The Bulldog basketball team reached Hinkle Fieldhouse again, but were defeated by Muncie Central and our Gymnasts won State for the 4th consecutive time...Another caption on the minds of all boys at this time on pages 144, 145: "Senior Boys Cross Their Fingers As Tricky Dicky Alters Draft Into Lottery." I would be lucky for two years more...We donned our cap and gowns and made our ways in cars and on foot, with parents and relatives, amidst a drizzly overcast evening on June 2, 1970, one last time to CHS. We sat in the gymnasium and waited as our names were called to walk across the stage and accept our diplomas. Our high school years now nothing more than memories. College was on my future agenda, and I would finish out that summer working at Standard Grocery on Washington Street, hanging out with my buddies on weekends, and looking forward to a new beginning at Indiana University in Bloomington. Those bonds of friendship with my high school friends carried looking back all those years ago, there would never be friends again that were as tight as in those days of innocence...

The CHS class of 1970 pics begin on the next page. Click the button below to begin your journey or you can use the Search box on the welcome page...

12/6/94 rough

some snapshot memory
proof i was young once
hangs on my wall
four cool dudes from 1969
and a road trip to canada
sometimes at night
i can feel that front seat and
steering wheel in my hands
and its late
everyone asleep
jack riding shotgun
streit and everroad in the back
i listen to the hum of the tires
bathed in intermittent mercury vapor with
headlights clinging to the road ahead
give me a light draper and jack wakes up
asks where are we as i hand him
a book of matches and light one myself
and tell him i dont know
windows halfway down
it tastes august on the breeze
jacks profile briefly illuminated
flickers of an orange glow
a halloween eye in the night
it was jacks ford and
he was stretched out
in the front seat
everroad snores
jack chuckles
we both crack up
it was the laugh
it was that laugh
some mental snapshot
in the flash of the road light
one brief second
some splash it made
for it to come in so strong now
i dont know
we're four puzzle pieces
interlocking into one another
pressed and cut out
in four separate designs
i think of all the pictures
and this but one of them
and they all lock into the other
forming the bond
that holds us all together
after all these years
suns up crawling
jacks crapped out
its everroads turn
he crawls awake
in rhythm with the sun
i gotta stop for gas and
get something to drink and
the puzzle picture goes on forever

© david sechrest 1994

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