Sunday, October 4, 2009


October 5, 2009

Making life grow

SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. — Unabashedly, this week’s column is written for the Class of 1961 from the high school in this village, then still a country town and its place of secondary instruction almost the way it was for the students’ parents, too, many of whom had the same teachers. You not of this ilk nevertheless may find symmetry and relevance and association, for all education in all communities in all ages share similar bent, no matter the age, the language, the ethnicity.

I write now of football season, part of our education, which for SVHS, especially the 1950s, was like a warm communal blanket that drew everyone back from the summer and got us going as classes. The spirit was infectious even if you didn’t give a hoot for football. The crisp air; shuffling the fallen leaves on the sidewalk jaunt to the game; getting in with a “G.O.” (General Organization, student governing body) discount pass; Sabrette hot dogs; hoping to see that girl or guy you had a crush on; meeting the girl or guy on the sly (often); the band and halftime; the first run of the bulls (players) onto the field and the great pride you felt being part of a community of like and emerging age.

This was school spirit that was not forced, that was not jingoistic, that was felt in the heart and on the goose-pimpled skin of growing teens who were just forming their lives, together and separately.

Time would come soon enough when the high school seniors would toss their caps, take off the gowns and leave the building door for the last time on many  separate paths, never again to be part of those high school football games, that time of coming closer without a word spoken.

No matter what high school you went to, no matter where or when or with whom, the ties that were forged still bind despite the inability, even in some cases the disinterest, to be part of that cohesion once more.

No, youth is not wasted on the young; it is part of the fertilizer that makes the rest of life grow.

Happy football season!

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