Tyler Alumni Reminisce
SISTERSVILLE – Tyler County High School’ alumni gathered Saturday to share stories and reminisce about the good old days. There was a parade through Middlebourne that featured a pirate among other attractions who marched through downtown streets. Later, alumni put on their Sunday’ best to greet classmates who have transcended time to become brothers and sisters.
Dawn (Crooks) Brown, class of 91′, remembers her Red Raider days well.
“I will start out saying my fondest memories are how you could walk down the hall and pretty much talk to anyone,” she said. “We were all friends. You had those few, but upper classmen were in your class. You knew everyone. The halls were small and you couldn’t help but to bump shoulders in the gym hall.”
Cathy (Patterson) Post, class of ’71, recalls being a twirling and turning majorette.
“My most fondly remembered times were in the Red Raider marching band as a majorette and featured twirler,” she said.
Long ago, Post had the thrill of being on the field as part on an alumni marching band.
“Several years back we did an Alumni Band,” she said. “Many alumni participated in this, and the thrill was back again as we took the field for a half time show. This I would do again in a heartbeat, even at my age.”
Cafeteria life, then and maybe now, was a key ingredient to getting through the day.
“Lunch could be bought out of vending machines and be eaten outside on the bleachers with friend. There were no assigned seats,” Brown said.
Teachers shape lives, some more than others. Who wouldn’t want to have teachers like Gabe (Kaplan) Kotter managing the Sweathogs, Robin Williams from the movie “Dead Poets Society” or Mr. Hand from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” rather than that droning teacher from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” who kept saying, “Bueller, Bueller, Bueller…” Maybe have the “White Shadow” aka Ken Howard (RIP) as a basketball coach. Try getting that show’s theme song out of your head.
Brown said her favorite teacher was Bob Allen, who taught horticulture.
“All the teachers were great influences, but would have to say Mr. Allen was my favorite,” she said. “He trusted me and my abilities to lead in the class and had lots of responsibility in doing so. That really helped out later in life with my self confidence level.”
Post had two favorite teachers from high school: Audra Brewer for biology and Ruth Moore for Home Economics.
“At an early age, my dream was to be a nurse, so biology had a special appeal to me,” she said. “Sadly, the farthest I got was National Registered EMT-A and so, I ran on our Tyler County Squads. Of which, I was still proud to do because this permitted me to help people of the community that I grew up in.”
Back in the day, Home Economics’ courses taught the basics of everyday living, really survival.
“I don’t even know if that class is still the same or even offered, but I learned to sew and cook, which in turn taught me how to run a household and came in very handy after graduation as my parents wouldn’t hear of me joining the Navy with the war in Vietnam going on,” Post said.
Speaking of Vietnam, Post lost a classmate – Gary Wayne Weekley – who was killed April 4, 1970.
Vietnam veterans, family and the community honored Weekley’s memory by naming a bridge after him. Members of 101st Airborne Division Bravo Company shared their experiences about Weekley, a U.S. Army Corporal, during a solemn ceremony in July at Tyler Consolidated High School. A Gold Star flag was presented to the Weekley family by Post, American Legion Auxiliary Fourth District President.
“I had lost a school mate, Gary Weekly in the war, which brought all of us to realization that we are not immortal as most young people feel at that point in their lives,” she said.
Brad Paisley has a song “Letter to Me” about, well, writing a letter back to his teenage self at 17-years-old. Amazing song with a great video that features familiar scenes for many growing up in the Ohio Valley.
“If I could have told my younger self something, it would be not to let others lead you be happy and enjoy being in high school,” Brown said. “It goes by way to fast and before you know it. Life happens and you can’t go back.”
That is unless you know Doc Brown and drive a special Delorean, but that’s a story for another day.
Post said if she could somehow speak to her teenage self, she would give quality advice.
“If I could write a letter to younger self, I would have not changed much in high school except maybe pay closer attention in class, stayed closer to my classmates and used my determination to pursue my dreams,” she said. “But then I wouldn’t have had the family I have now or maybe not have been living here in this great little town to take care of my parents when they really needed me.”
Post was a product of the late 60s and 70s. Watergate rocked the nation and the Vietnam War was winding down. Music, well, some of that music, is still played on the radio. Indeed, the Rolling Stones’ song “Paint it Black” is played at football games by the TCHS marching band. Maybe no one owns pet rocks anymore, but they were still better than today’s invisible Pokemon characters. Clothes then were hit or miss and very colorful to say the least. Of course kids knew how to pull their bell bottom jeans up, so that’s saying something.
Since the 60s/70s rocked – not that the 80s/90s didn’t – Post gets the last word.
“Being an Alumnus of Tyler County High School is the best,” she said. “I’ve had to opportunity to be president of the association twice. Our reunions every five years are awesome. This year we had 22 plus spouses in attendance. Our classmate Cathy Jo Cline Fletcher opened her home to us for this event and it was wonderful seeing everyone again, we have already lost several in our graduating class and we miss them badly, however, we are already planning on another get together for the 50th. We are still making memories TOGETHER!”