Junior High meant a year in the Quonset Huts and teachers such as Mr. Mull, Mr. Baker, Mr. Hargrove, Mr. Eagleson, Ms. Fortner, Mr. Pisa, Ms. Bridges, Ms. Baith, Ms. Hall and others. Then it was on to high school.
Back in the day when I started high school, you had to buy your textbooks from a student that had used them the previous year. How many of you remember that? I still remember my folks taking me to buy my books from Jackie Franklin out at his house in the Montgomery area. It is funny how you sometimes remember the little things in life. Once you bought your books, it was common practice to write your name or whatever you wanted all over them. I wrote the slogan “State in 78” over the outside edges of the pages of my every book. You see, that was the slogan and the dream for myself and all of my teammates. I am speaking of dreaming of our basketball team making it to the state tournament.
As far as teachers go, I was blessed to have had some great ones. My freshman year, I had the late Ms. Marie Cunningham for English. Throughout high school, I also had Jim Wallace and Shelton Bowen for Algebra and Trigonometry, respectively. It was Mr. John Kiaser for Biology and Ms. Rebecca Cunningham for Chemistry. I still apologize to this day to Ms. Cunningham for my lack of attentiveness in her class. I could have done much better. For English, it was Ms. Cunningham, Ms. Wilkerson, Ms. Nancy Perkins, Ms. Karen Watkins and Ms. Jane Ellen Wilson. In Ms. Perkins’ class, we published the first edition of Echos of Trigg’s History. My assignment was to write on Ms. Lurline Humphries who I believe was Kentucky’s first woman sheriff. By the way, Ms. Humphries used to live in the house that now belongs to Cadiz resident Paul Fourshee. It is the beautiful, long brick house about four houses to the west of the cemetery. Next time you drive by there, take a good look at the size of both the front and back yards. I used to push mow that yard for $8. Ms. Humphries would also throw in a Moon Pie and an RC Cola about half way through.
While I am on English teachers, please allow me to use a separate paragraph for Ms. Jane Ellen Wilson. Though many feared her and her strict manor, I revered her. I still remember making a grade of 99 in her word power class. I simply loved her manner of teaching. I just “got what she was saying,” you might say.
For Social Studies, it was the legendary Bill Jones, for Psychology it was Wanda Meadows. Just the other day when cleaning out my classroom, I found a child study that I had done on Leslie Stroud back in 1976 when she was the tender age of eight. I was proud to present the current Mrs. Leslie Bridges with that document.
I also delved into a Bachelor Living class while in high school, which I think was taught my Ms. Southwick. I mean, who knows? It seemed to be a good backup plan if marriage didn’t come about.
Other teachers responsible for my Trigg County education were Mrs. Joyce Bozarth in Accounting, Glenn Whobrey in Business and Joe Jaggers in Health and Physical Education. The one regret that I have is that I didn’t take an FFA class. During high school and for the next 30 years after graduation, I spent a good portion of my summers hauling baled hay and working in tobacco. In agricultural classes, I could have been exposed to the legends James Ladd and Daniel Hale. Who knows? I might could even say, like a lot of Mr. Ladd’s former students, that I survived a couple of licks from his paddle. Those guys that say that sort of wear that statement like some sort of badge of honor and courage, which apparently it was. As a matter of fact, we need some of that back today, in my humble opinion.
The coaches I had mean just as much to me as the teachers. Men such as Jim Wallace, Buddy Sivills, George Radford and Gary Siegmund had a big impact on my life.
My sole and true purpose of writing about my journey through school was so I could mention the names of the many that shared the journey with me and guided me along that portion of life’s highway. Last but not least were my classmates, those slightly older and younger as well as the Class of 78. There were 157 in our graduating class, and I considered all of them my friends. Since I began this series of columns, I have bumped into many of them. I have crossed paths with Roger and Connie Kennedy, Pam Thomas Metts, Lisa Fuller Thomas, and I have talked to several others. As a matter of fact, this fall we will have a class reunion and celebrate the 35th anniversary of our graduation. For the last few decades, I remember seeing class reunion pictures in The Cadiz Record for classes celebrating their 35th reunions. I thought, “Man, those folks are getting quite old.” It sure is interesting on how my perspective has changed.
Hey, thanks for reading and being so supportive. I am looking forward to bringing you news from my Golfing for a Cure Tour which has started back up. See you next week.
OT: Oh if you were wondering, in the words of the immortal Tony the Tiger (Frosted Flakes) ... retirement is GRRRRREAT!!!!!
Enthusiasm Makes the Difference
Mike Wright is the former head coach of boys basketball and cross country at Trigg County High School. Emails concerning Coach’s Corner can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.