Monday, May 28, 2012

Most Likely & Graduation 1967

Graduation May 1967

Yesterday, May 26th, 2012 was the annual Chelsea, Oklahoma Alumni Celebration and Banquet and also 45 years since my class passed through those ivory green high school graduation doors.  My thoughts turn to reflections of those blissful hopeful days not so long ago.  Life was much simpler then. Boys were boys and girls were girls and opposites married, the way I feel the Creator intended. Now that being said this isn’t a sermon, but just a remembrance of the way it was and what I liked about it.

That last year of high school in the fall, our senior class elected the “Ten Most Likely”. The categories included:
“Best Athlete“: Ruth Schwaesdall & Robert Garis, deceased 2 years now after teaching Pharmacy at the University of Nebraska. Rob was short like me, about 5’4”, but a phenomenal football player in high school. We both went to college at Oklahoma State. He was a frat rat (in a fraternity) and I was a GDI, but when he needed a date that first year, he would often give me a call. After that destiny called and we went our own way.
“Best Figure & Physique”: Janice Cowan & Tom Rue, needless to say, not me.
“Most Active”: Jack Stinnett, also deceased 2 years, retired as a pipe fitter, and Barbara Axley, a nightclub singer and comedian for several years in Oklahoma so I heard.
"Most Humorous": Jack Stinnett & Barbara Axley, incidentally I was runner up in this category.
"Most Dependable": Ronda Hunt & George Baker. George also lives here in Southcentral Alaska since 1976 and has adopted several children through the state.
"Best Citizen": Ronda Hunt & Robert Garis
"Best All-Around": Ann Jennings & Mike Morrison
"Best Dressed":  Roy Best & Patty & Becky Sears, twins and daughter of our high school science teacher that my boyfriend Wayne once tried to punch in the face, another story for another memoir. In this category I again was runner up, only  because I learned to sew.
"Best Personalities":  Patsy Carmack & Leon Bible: 

Last but not least “Most Likely to Succeed“:   Mary Phillips (me) & John Hunt.  Rhonda (“best citizen and most dependable”) and John Hunt got married while still in high school but eventually divorced. John went into tribal law in Tulsa and was quite successful and approximately 10 years ago retired to Hawaii with his second wife and family of many years. I moved to Alaska in ‘78, became a a Jack of all trades, master of none and am still quite happy here since it is rarely hot. Now I know most of my classmates must think John is the greater success since he wound up living in Hawaii but I have to say living in Hawaii is my worse nightmare. I don‘t even want to visit there. The only thing of interest In Hawaii is the fond memories of my old “most likely to succeed” classmate John who help me get my high school nickname, Mickey, long before he got married. When I found out the other “most likely to succeed” John in Hawaii was going to forgo the reunion this year I decided that I would skip it too. Especially since one could not bring their spouse unless it is their 50 reunion. Fortunately this archaic rule was changed by a vote of 155 for to 58 opposed last night. Maybe now  Joe and I will go next year when my first serious ex boyfriend Wayne Treadway that happens to live in Sitka, Alaska,  (800 miles south of Anchorage) has his 45th reunion. I want to find out once and for all, why he took a swing at our Mr. Science teacher other than to get kicked out of school for a week to hunt and fish.

With graduation in 1967 came awards and accolades. I was Salutatorian, an academic title given, in the United States, Philippines, and Canada, to the second highest graduate of the entire graduating class, all 59 of us. The class started out with 69 of us, but due to unforeseen pregnancies before the days of birth control it dwindled down to 59. We were Chelsea‘s largest graduating class at that time. It was a disappointment not to be Valedictorian but I realized the person that was, took no classes that were not easy As and had moved into Chelsea during her senior year. It seemed she, as many other young women classmates, aspired to be nothing more than a secretary and housewife. This was another worse case senario, like that of living in Hawaii. Eventually I discovered not everyone wants a college education as bad as I did then; and as my Mom, Bobbie Jean use to say it, would be a boring world if we were all alike.

Me, Becky Sears & Valdictorian without her rope?

Dr.  Frank Hester presenting me my diploma.

Wayne and my Aunt Bootsie at my graduation.

As class Salutatorian I was requested to participate in the commencement and give a speech. The best part of my speech was that it was short, a page and a half double spaced. I still have 3 type written copies of it that traveled across country with me in 1979, 12 years later. Part of that speech from 45 years ago follows below.

“As you all know before long we shall be out of school, away from home and before a critical and appraising audience--the world. The pen still behind our ear, the ink stains on our fingers, and innocence in our eyes we shall find ourselves surrounded by a vast amount of different ideas and morals. Then will come the trial. But the goals that you hold high in your mind and the morals that you believe in--this you should build your life by, live by, and this you will become.
There is one last thing I’d like to add to my speech; it is a saying that I feel holds some excellent advice. “yesterday is already a dream, tomorrow is only a vision; but today, well lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and tomorrow a vision of hope.” (May 1967)


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bucket List Updated, May 7, 2012

This week I’ve cleaned the house in preparation for our upcoming Mother of Mother’s Day Garage Sales, that in years past was an annual tradition. While doing so I discovered a wall hanging purchased in the mid 1990s. It is a framed poster of Life‘s Little Instructions. After some thought I discovered it was as good a bucket list as any, listing much of what I want to do or how I want to live my life before I die.

The poster’s title “Life‘s Little Instructions“ is from the book by H. Jackson Brown published in 1994 when I was a mere 46 years old. Today I read and typed the poster in the downstairs bathroom where I finally managed to hang it yesterday. I type at my old record typing speed, since it isn’t with one finger texting. That being said, I hope to eventually have the bathroom remodeled to be elderly friend with a walk in shower. Nevertheless, I am amazed how close the following instructions hit home and are definitely something to aspire for in life.

“-Every so often push your luck.
-Never underestimate the power of a kind word or deed.
- Never give up on anybody, miracles happen every day. (We found out recently our estranged adopted son still visits the dentist we took him to 9 years ago.)
-Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
-Learn to listen. (My last psychology class at UAA in 2005, I asked the instructor what was the most important advice he could give future counselors and psychologists and his answer was “be a good listener”.)
-Think big thoughts, but relish small pleasures.
-Don’t expect others to listen to your advice and ignore your example.
-Opportunity sometimes knocks very softly
-Leave everything a little better than you found it. (Especially in the kitchen and bathroom.)
-Don’t forget: a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated. (Amen!)
-Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them. (They may slip away before you have another chance.)
-Treat everyone you like you want to be treated. (easier said than done.)
-Make new friends but cherish the old ones.
-Don’t use time or words carelessly; neither can retrieved.
-Judge your success by the degree that you’re enjoying peace, health and love. (without one’s health we have nothing.)
-Smile a lot: Its cost nothing and is beyond price.”

This is the easy bucket list, but then there are other bucket lists like the one forwarded from a dear friend that I wish I had the skill of Will Rogers to counter, but since I don’t I’ll simply start by saying I disagree.

“Obama: Gone!” Sure if there was just somebody better to replace him. I like Obama, because he doesn‘t mess around on his wife and he seems to be raising his kids well. He’s not perfect, but who is? Not been one president yet.

“Borders: Closed!”? Way too late, should have closed the borders before Columbus, the first invader.

“Congress: Obey it's own laws“; I have no problem with this.

“Language: English only“; I think everyone should speak the Native American language for the area residents that lived in their area before the country was invaded by the Europeans. English is our country’s second language, or maybe third in the southwest after Spanish.

“Culture: Constitution, and the Bill of Rights!” That means freedom or religion, whether we like the religions or not. No state religion.

“Drug Free: Mandatory Drug Screening before Welfare!“ Mandatory drug screening for Congress first and people intending to breed as in reproduce. Licensing for reproduction to prove you have the wherewithal to care for a child, both mentally and financially. There use to be no licenses to drive and now we need one to even own a dog or catch a fish. Isn’t having a child more important?

“NO freebies to: Non-Citizens!” Let’s all try to be a little more Christian and help those who cannot help themselves. WWJD, meaning “What would Jesus do?” Say you’re a Speck, scram?

“We the people are coming!” Yes and let us pray they are Christian like and treat others as they would have done unto them.

“Only 86% will send this on. Should be a 100%. What will you do?
Please send it on if only to one person!”

Well I have done better than one person and I thank you memoir group members, face bookers and readers for listening.

p.s. This is one good country when we can all disagree and still see our what clear to respect one another’s differences of opinions. But it is a sad day in American when this is not the case. May the Creator help us live up to our potential, despite our differences.

p.s.s. Recently I read that elite universities such as Harvard and MIT are going to offer FREE online courses. Before I kick the bucket I would like to get another Bachelor’s degree in Math and perhaps a Masters or even a Doctor’s in Psychology. Last but not least I hope to write that memoir about “Chasing the Evil Tiger.”

Mary Alta Buckingham - Memoir - Bucket List Update