- Last Updated on 09:31 AM 10/09/13
- BY Doug Ford
If the walls of the former Halifax County High School could talk, they would tell the stories of multitudes of graduating classes and countless graduates who went out into the big, bad world to find fame and fortune.
A number of them made their way back home recently to celebrate the Class of 1973.
In 1973, Halifax County had one fast food restaurant, the streets through the then-City of South Boston were two-way, and the five-and-dime stores were faintly removed from the era where they actually were five-and-dime stores.
There were no cell phones or faxes, rather we talked on land-line telephones and party lines.
Homecoming parades, Veteran’s Day parades and Christmas parades competed with the processions of mag-wheeled, jacked-up Chevy Novas cruising the downtown streets on Friday and Saturday evenings.
No doubt some were headed to secret, hidden drag strips off a lonely county road, reminiscent of a James Dean movie.
A first class stamp cost .08 cents in 1973, and a gallon of gas was 40 cents, up from 36 cents the year before.
A number of drive-ins still had the venerable car-hops, who came to your window to take your order, bringing you a clip to hang on your car window to support your food tray.
Autumn, as it does today, meant high school football, the fair and Halloween, although back then one could smell the aroma of cured tobacco from a myriad of warehouses.
Winters meant anxiously waiting by the radio on cold winter mornings for the announcement, “There will be no school today in South Boston and Halifax County.”
Spring meant senior privileges for the Class of 1973, including sitting outside at the picnic tables during lunch and other freedoms not enjoyed by underclassmen and looking forward to college.
Summer meant idle days at swimming pools and anyplace we could gather without being hassled.
Some of us would jump off the Banister River Bridge, others would venture into the “low grounds” at night to pass around a cheap bottle of wine.
We’ve all changed a little since that time, my classmates of the Class of 1973.
We’re engineers, bankers, rocket scientists, state troopers, teachers, writers, accountants, entrepreneurs, government officials, business owners and plant managers, among a number of other different occupations, in addition to being husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, grandmas and granddads.
We came from as close as across town and as far away as New York City to South Boston to reminisce about the “good old days.”
There were a few receding hairlines, a few gray hairs but very few expanded waistlines, present company excluded.
There were too many of us for many in-depth conversations, rather we picked out our buddies for minute-by-minute updates before moving on to the next classmate.
When it was over, we went our separate ways with an exchange of email addresses and cell phone numbers and a promise to look each other up.
Life for all of us is coming full circle.