Amazing Class of ‘38
I’m not going to try to project into the future what the Seton Class of 2038 is going to be like. I am going to tell you something of the Class of 1938 of Fort Morgan High School. It is the Class that my mom is part of . Fort Morgan is 15 miles east of Wiggins and its most famous graduate is Glenn Miller. But collectively, I think the FMHS 38’ers are the most amazing class of all time.
Since the time of a Class Reunion, I think their 50th, but perhaps earlier, the 38’ers have written greetings to each other by means of sending a letter to class member Nelle Green of Temple City, California, who then puts the collection of letters into a booklet which she sends to each classmate who wrote her. In addition, each year Nelle puts together a separate booklet of articles from the Fort Morgan Times and other bits of news that she thinks the Class might be interested in reading.
We have just experienced another January 22nd and The March for Life which primarily calls to mind the lives of our brothers and sisters in the womb, who are at one end of the life chain. Since most of us won’t live into our 100’s, the Class of ’38 represents the other end of the life chain – the members range from 90 to 93 years of age. Sixteen of them wrote greetings this year (there were about 70 in the graduating class), and here are “clips” from the letters. I think the letters show such a great spirit within these wonderful people. It is a treat every year to read them with Mom.
- Can you believe our age? Amazing the years we have lived. When we look at our kids we know we have to be this age. Growing old has advantages and, of course, some disadvantages. Will we make it to 100 or do we want to?
- It seems that some have given up driving. I am not looking forward to that and glad that so far it doesn’t bother me.
- Can you believe that it has been 73 years ago that we graduated from high school? It would be great if we could have one more reunion, but that might be asking too much or shall we try?
- You may recall that my wife died in a car accident in 1996. She would have turned 90 on Thanksgiving Day. My youngest daughter and her husband live with me and their kids live nearby. So we will be especially remembering my wife and giving thanks to our heavenly Father for her on that day. She was a wonderful wife and good mother to my kids. I am so grateful for the many years we had together.
- We are certainly the remnants of a long bygone generation. Remember the miracle of streamline passenger trains and how we used to drive west to the end of the pavement – about 5 miles – in an open Ford? Quite a lot of things may have been better in our day, we like to think. We try to keep up. In fact, I am thinking of learning to touch type. Have to keep up with progress you know.
- I was in and out of the hospital 4 times this year. Nothing serious, just Old Age I guess. I am doing good now.
- I’ve had a good year so far – I haven’t fallen and haven’t been to Urgent Care. The only one left out of my 7 siblings, my brother, (just 95) passed away in February and my sister (92) also passed away in February. I’m still fortunate enough to be living alone with my doggie. One of my neighbors has a golf cart and she takes the dog and me for a ride around the park almost every day…we love it!
- [from a hand-written letter] Well, this is the fourth try writing so that I can read it and not dotted with correction fluid. So here goes once again. Here at the assisted living residence we have new meal times which necessitates getting up by 6 a.m. I had to get up at that time when I was teaching, but never imagined I’d be doing this at my present age.
- In spite of Nell’s plea for a letter in October and not November I didn’t make it! The computer refused to help. First it came partly unplugged so that the keyboard would not work. Then I had to send my glasses in to have them reprogrammed. They are not back yet, therefore I can hardly read the print now. I am still working on my photo-scrap books. I have one for each year since 1965. I got behind after the new century came along, so I am catching up.
- I didn’t want to walk down the aisle [at granddaughter’s wedding] with my walker, so my Therapist suggested a cane and lots of practice. I went down every day to have what we called our “Wedding Walk”. At the wedding, my grandson gave me his arm and, with the cane, which was decorated with lace and bows by friends, our “Walk” went well.
- Today’s mail brought me my E-ticket for my holiday trip to Denver and several issues of the Times. Sometimes I think they must come by Pony Express because they’re always about a week late!
- I have decided not to undergo radiation or chemo to treat the lung cancer. I want to focus on enjoying my life without the difficult side effects those treatments can bring. I feel pretty good most days, and still enjoy reading, television, shopping and visiting with family and friends.
- Our oldest granddaughter will be married in April. That is something much more pleasant to look forward to than income tax. As we’ve always said – we lived in the best of times. Life seemed so simple.
- [one classmate has this yearly salutation]: Dear Nelle and any other ’38 survivors,
[The daughter of a classmate wrote to tell of the day of her father’s death – here it is in summary] The timeline of the day we determined….We found the morning paper on the kitchen table and Daddy had finished the cross word puzzle (so we knew he was ok that morning). Two days earlier he told me that he had a lunch date on Monday with a woman he had recently met. She was also 90 years old. He said he didn’t know whether she was going to cook something German for him, or whether they were going out to eat. (It would have been their second date.) It has been determined that he was just leaving in the car to go for their date. After Dad passed that milestone of his 90th birthday, I really thought he would be one of those rare individuals that might make it to 100. He had been soooo very healthy, was still golfing two or three times a week. His social life was more active than mine. I was so proud of him.
In the news booklet there were articles on some famous people who died in 2011. David Nelson, oldest son of Ozzie and Harriet; Jack LaLanne, the fitness guru that I remember watching on television as a youngster, died at the age of 96; and Bill Keane, creator of the “Family Circus” cartoon. There were articles on the Shuttle Atlantis, a picture of a Rose Bowl float, and something on Lucille Ball among many other tidbits. The booklet ended with one of Mom’s favorite poems: “The Duel” sometimes better known by its first line: “The gingham dog and the calico cat”.
I hope you have enjoyed these excerpts from the ‘38’ers letters. They increase my admiration and love for them and their remarkable generation.
Jezu, ufam Tobie.