Recently, I had the pleasant but slightly surreal experience of a Zoom meeting with my class from Ottawa Hills High School. The event was organized by a woman who married (later in life) a fellow classmate. More than 25 of our class of 96 people participated, which was a great turnout. Twenty-one of our classmates have already passed on, some in the prime of life.
Of course, all of us remaining are now around 75 years old. I had not seen many of them since graduation in 1963, so I found myself searching for facial features that would help me visualize what they looked like back then. Who is behind those glasses and grey hair? The women were somewhat easier to recognize, probably because I knew them better. I found myself wondering what everyone had done with their lives. I know there are two physicians, a couple of authors and one who has lived on Channel Islands, UK for most of her life and another who lives in British Columbia. Only one is a fellow Texan and he lives near Houston.
The Village of Ottawa Hills is completely surrounded by the City of Toledo. It has its own police department and school system with an elementary school and middle school connected to the high school building. It is a rather affluent community, although the neighborhood our family lived in was not that upscale. All five kids in our family attended Ottawa Hills schools from kindergarten through high school and got an excellent education.
What do I remember about high school? I recall many of my teachers, who gave me such a good grounding before college. In the center hall, outside the gym, a green arrowhead was imbedded in the mosaic floor. Only seniors were allow to tread there and if an underclassman was caught stepping on it, they had to scrub the arrowhead with a toothbrush. One of my classmates, now gone, regularly flouted the rules by wearing jeans to school. After being disciplined a number of times, he showed up in a tuxedo. The boys in our class then wore suits and ties to school in a show of solidarity.
I had attended our 25th class reunion and then our 43rd. The odd year was because the football stadium was being dedicated to a beloved football coach. Crowds of his former players, including my three brothers, came out to honor him wearing their jerseys. Although I had not kept in close touch with many of my classmates, I know there is a group of alums still living in the Toledo vicinity who get together frequently. Some people have kindly responded to this blog or to my Facebook posts.
Life goes on, and I suppose our numbers will dwindle in the coming years, but it was lovely to see those I passed in the hall each day, the guys from the football and basketball teams and girls on the field hockey team. I wish all of them continued good health and happiness in the coming years.
I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.