As I stand by the side of the road and watch the bulldozers begin their work on the ruins of our beloved gymnasium, I am once again saddened to tears. We have lost an old friend and it seems we should be eulogizing it in some way. What do you say about an old friend whose life was taken by a senseless fire which destroyed it, trophies so hard won, annuals cherished by all? They may can take the material parts of you, dear gym, but they can never erase the memories.
We will never forget the time you stood quietly by and never once snickered as Cynthia Henry literally "lost her wig" during a basketball game.
Neither did we hear you laugh when Tim Gilliam played half a game with his shorts on backwards.
And you were faithful and never told each time Teddy Cole had to stay after school and would sneak out the window after everyone had left.
And you did not even flinch the night Marsha Godwin "dressed up" for the spook house, though all the rest of us ran for our lives.
As David Smith filled all the pencil sharpeners with black-eyed pear, we could feel your eyes upon us, but never once did you point in his direction. Although, someone remembers you might have given a chuckle as Mrs. Tommie Jo Shields tried to sharpen her pencil.
And Mrs. Edna Roach was always getting on to Richard Rust for leaning back in his chair though seemingly unaware of her own habit of doing the same. Did you ever teach her a lesson the day she was lecturing Richard about what would happen if he didn't quit leaning back, and she leaned back so far, SHE fell backwards with her feet sticking up over the desk!? However, true to form, she quickly composed herself and with her teacherly duties never failing, exclaimed, "Do not do as I do, do as I say!"
And were you ever gracious as you stood silently by and watched Mrs. Jestena Hunter wash out Maxine's mouth with soap for saying things you were too much of a gentleman to repeat.
And if you could, I know you would have helped Donna Glasscock Massey down the aisle with more grace when she was in the first grade. She was the bride in a "Tom Thumb" wedding, and sister Beverly and Mike Heflin were the train carriers, chocking her every step with the "bridle" of her gown!
And how you must have blushed as Theda Compton Lacy was having her basketball picture made with the rest of her 1939 teammates, supporting their new (and first-ever warm up uniforms) and Theda asked the photographer if he wanted them to take off their suits now!!! Quickly realizing her blooper, she explained she meant their warm-ups!
Yes, we will never forget the homecomings, the proms, the Halloween carnivals, the tournaments, the laughter, the joy, and tears of cheerleader try-outs, the wrestling matches, sports banquets, volleyball tournaments, and too many more things you "stood" for. But most of all you exhibited faithfulness. You were there when we needed you and through no fault of your own, you were hauled away yesterday, but you will always live on in our hearts! Dear Old Gym, we miss you!!!
(February 20, 1986, The Wolfe City Mirror)
Submitted by Sarah Swindell
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