School: Greenwood H.S. Class of 1955 (60th Reunion - 2015)
Contact: Ed Behrens
----Source: Ed Behrens Scrapbook
GREENWOOD HIGH SCHOOL
COMMENTS BEFORE THE CLASS OF 1955’S 60TH REUNION BY ED BEHRENS
MAY 23, 2015
Brief Comments: “Generally speaking, he’s generally speaking” – so I promise to be brief.
I am pleased to have been asked to share some thoughts on this occasion as we reflect on the sixty years since our Class graduated from Greenwood High School in 1955. It is time for a celebration – but also a time to remember and to reflect.
First, we pay homage to the twelve of our classmates who passed before us – we remember them as classmates, individuals and friends. In missing them, we mark their passing as a measure of the passing of time – while hard to grasp it has been over half a century since Herb (Fabian) left us.
To also put time into perspective, this building that we all knew as Greenwood High School was long standing before any of us arrived in 1951; it was built in 1914 – thirty-seven years before we arrived. But it has been sixty years since we graduated.
So this building – this educational institution – has been around longer since we graduated than before we enrolled!
There were some over forty of us, as I recall. A number were “city” kids from Greenwood – but the majority perhaps were kids from farming communities and a network of small country schools – virtually all of which have since been closed (Willard, Braun Settlement, Hemlock, Longwood, Christie – and more – for some requiring hours long bus rides over graveled and graded country roads).
So we all came to learn, to participate, to have fun – and yes to mature – to take a measure of each other simply to get to know one’s self better. Importantly, the school’s job was to help prepare us for the future – so as we matured we also began to envision opportunity – but we also began to realistically sense potential restrictions, constraints and limitations to opportunity that are inherent to life.
But we did graduate and we did move on – and I believe the Greenwood High School educational experience and the advantages we accrued amongst ourselves by simply associating with each other have served us all well. Aside from the lessons learned in the classrooms, I know that I gained something else from this High School and this community that served me through the rest of my life. I suspect what I gained is true for the rest of my classmates, as well – and that was simply the mid-western values of our parents, our teachers and the community as a whole (e.g. integrity, honesty, self-reliance, a day’s pay for a day’s work). We all knew the standards by which we were expected to perform – and to contribute. Life was to have purpose – but living in the rural mid-west in the years following the War – we all know which War that was – we knew that times could be tough – and that people could fail despite their very own best efforts to succeed – or to simply try to make a go of it.
To simply make a go of it – or to have the opportunity to pursue greater dreams – we would all have to work for it. So when I think of my classmates, this is what I recognize. You all did the best you could – you all made an honest effort – and each of you in your own and individual ways made a difference.
I think our class is unique in the camaraderie and friendship that has sustained our relations for these now sixty-four years. I don’t recall cattiness, petty bickering, bullying, arrogance or destructive competition – just good kids – who still enjoy getting together when there is an opportunity to do so.
I simply want to thank my class, this school and this community for whatever opportunities that I have had the fortune to experience in life. I have often thought of you as individuals over the years and across the distance that mostly separated us throughout my adult life – but I often felt as if I were reaching back to remind myself of the principles that were so fundamental to this community. In short, I have wonderful memories and few regrets of this High School, of this town and of my high school years. I thank you all for what you were to me – a farm kid who simply happened to have had the good fortune to attend Greenwood High School!
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