Yesterday was an interesting juxtaposition of years of my life.  I was working on my 50th high school reunion in the morning and received emails out of the blue from the guy who was our senior class president and another who was Mr. Edison that year.  It’s Edison Week, the week Thomas A. Edison High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma celebrates the namesake’s birthday with a week of celebrations, culminating today in the awarding of the next Mr. and Miss Edison, along with class superlatives.

Yesterday afternoon, I was at Edison for several hours to watch one of my grandsons in guy cheerleading, a fun tradition of Edison Week.  I hadn’t thought about any of this until last night while I was watching videos of the day with him.  When I go in the doors of Edison, I immediately feel at home.  The halls look smaller, but I can go back and picture the kids, in their various cliques, grouped around the front hall, waiting for the bell to ring, as they were back in my day.  The outside has some changes structurally and there aren’t motorcycles out front as much as cars, which is a change.  We didn’t have too many kids with cars back in my day.  The girls aren’t wearing hoop skirts either!


We didn’t have drugs, but we had the smoke hole.  We had more dances and they may have been more fun since kids don’t really date or dance the way we did.  There were downsides to that, too, for those who didn’t have dates.  Today’s kids are more group oriented when they go out, but that can be a good thing.  How can they possibly afford to take someone to a movie or out to dinner?  Nobody goes on Coke dates anymore.  There are dance classes, but few take them.  They can learn the latest from YouTube.


But, when I started really looking back, there are so many things that are basically the same.  We decorated the halls of the school…


…just as they do today.  This picture is a great illustration of the teenage boy’s brain as he improvises a way to hang a banner by balancing on a 2 inch brick when standing on a chair on a table didn’t work.  There were ladders close by, by the way.


The school has fewer students today, but they have more cheerleaders.  Here are the cheerleaders in 1963…


Today, they do intricate routines, way beyond 2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate.  The gymnastics are incredible.


Face it.  The kids are much more fit than we were, especially the girls.  It’s a different kind of training, different kind of body toning than we knew.  Even our biggest, strongest athletes couldn’t match the bodies I saw yesterday.  Or the jumps, leaps and throws.  I’m not sure that girls today could even relate to the quaint, which is a kind word for those hideous outfits we purchased at Sears and had our names monogrammed on, gym suits we wore.  Jumping jacks and sit ups were pretty much our exercises, although we did get to do some modern dancing, play a few basketball and softball games, and swim.  Swimming was awful because we didn’t have blow dryers and you had to walk around all day with your hair in a scarf.  I guess you could wear rollers to class – ha!


Edison Week really hasn’t changed much.  We had a gridiron show and I found pictures of our version of guy cheerleaders, 50 years ago.  These were the football players and the other jocks.  The guys have gotten more creative through the years with intricate routines that are SO teen age boy in their enthusiasm and silliness.  I have film of my son’s guy cheerleading group.



Here is my grandson’s sophomore class guy cheerleading group…


One of my sons-in-law was Mr. Edison, way back in 1990.  It’s a shock to my kids that Nostalgia Day this year was a look back at the 90s, with the kids wearing the styles of that era.  My kids are cringing and I’m smiling and trying to remember what they wore.  What the heck did I wear way back then, by the way?  It’s so far back…  Yesterday was Luau Day with all the school dressed for the islands.  We had some Hawaiian skits and my kids had luaus, too.  It’s always a good party theme.

One of the nice things about living where you grew up is seeing the continuity of life and viewing the changes through different generations.  My parents were from other places, so I felt no connection with where they went to school.  My kids and grandkids are walking the same halls in high school that their father (for part of junior high) and I did.  Yesterday, I got to share in their youth and it was refreshing to be surrounded by all that energy and excitement.  I loved the cheers and screams and laughter…mostly, I loved that I got to breathe in some of that rarified air that goes with all that can be good with teenagers.

I watched with pride as the kids said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang the National Anthem.  That hasn’t changed.


Mostly, I guess that what I wish for the next generation is that they continue the traditions, making them their own.  I do wish they had sung “Hail, Hail to Edison” for me.  Just for old times sake…but, yesterday wasn’t about me…it was about them.  My past and our future!