I began my school career in a one-room, country schoolhouse. It was 1955. But in the fall of '56, everybody moved into the modern new building at the top of Main Street. Back then, Wilsonville had two grocery stores and Marguerite Wilson drove a gorgeous pink-and-black Chrysler New Yorker. Times were good. A young and very attractive Mrs. Rice taught us six-year-olds good manners, among other things.
Over the course of the following 50 years our struggling little town eventually lost the battle to keep its school open.
In more recent years the building was sold to local citizens who respected and cared for it, but even more recently it has passed, under questionable circumstances, into the hands of four individuals, who quite interestingly, have formed a limited liability corporation.
I define an LLC, in my simple layman's terms, as a legal arrangement whereby one owner might be guilty individually of malpractice, indiscretion, or even bad manners, yet be legally protected because the corporation is the owner, not the individuals which comprise it. Kinda like sharing your umbrella in a rainstorm with three of your friends. Everybody still gets soaked, but nobody gets blamed.
Memorial Day weekend 2006, I made the 700-mile round trip from Omaha to our annual class reunion, only to find we had been denied entry into the building by the band of new owners. By one count, 150 people crowded into the fire station for a fine meal, some music, and several hours of pleasant conversation with old friends.
Regardless of the circumstances, I hope other Gazette readers also spent a little time this way renewing old friendships.
After sharing so many years and experiences, why not make the effort to sit down with the good people who helped you get through it all. A lot of wonderful memories were made back then when things were a lot less complicated. You don't have to tell everybody you care. Your participation does that for you.
Yes, it would have been nice to visit the old school again. I missed not being able to admire the Class of '68 hanging in its place on the wall. For some of us, there may never be another opportunity to do that. Yet, while I don't have any fond memories of the fire barn, I am grateful for the 150 reminders that a building isn't worth much compared to the love and compassion which good people bring into it. Nobody can take that from us.
Thank you, everybody, for making it a really nice day for me.