Fond memories of time in LaGrange
Published 7:32 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2017
We may travel the world throughout our lives, but there are places that stay forever in our heart. These special places bring warmth to our soul, a smile to our face, and memories that evoke great comfort and joy.
I can pass a Dairy Queen anywhere and instantly recall the times I drove with pals around the Brazier in LaGrange to find other friends and boys. Usually, it was a bunch of us piled in my white ‘62 Ford Fairlane that had no power steering. I still have strong arms because of that car.
Every time I try a ring on my right hand and look at its slightly larger knuckle as well as a crooked little finger, I think of Miss Carpenter and soccer. Miss Carpenter was our young P.E. teacher at LaGrange High. She knew I loved sports, but when she decided one semester that we should play soccer I decided that was not for me.
The good news was that I fell the first day, cracked a bone in my right hand and that was the end of my soccer career. I would forever have a crooked finger and a large knuckle, but I felt the sport Gods had smiled upon me. Miss Carpenter probably felt otherwise.
Every time I see someone sleeping in a noisy, crowded area, I think of my buddy, Jo. She had eight brothers and sisters and her house was always a boisterous, happy place. I saw her fall asleep one day while kids yelled and ran around her. She was 17, upside down in the chair, and oblivious to all the chaos. I was amazed! I still get a chuckle when I recall that picture in my mind.
I watched the college basketball championship game this year. It was great, but I still believe the very best game was the one I watched at the Georgia Tech gymnasium when our 1965 LaGrange High basketball team won the state championship. I screamed so much that my voice was gone for days. When my granddaughter spends the night with friends, I remember sleep overs with my girlfriends. We laughed till we hurt and talked until the wee hours of morning. I can still see their fresh faces and hear their giggles. I recall their parents and siblings, their trials and triumphs.
On June 4, 1965, a band of friends walked across a stage and graduated from high school. On that day, I am sure none of us every dreamed that we might not see each other again in the years that were to follow. I am sure that we never thought that war, accidents or sickness would prevent any of us from seeing a future.
Life would prove the opposite, of course, and we lost some wonderful folks in the years following 1965. Those that lived did so not without sadness, joy, perseverance and prayer.
Fifty-two years have passed in a heartbeat. I lived in LaGrange a relatively short time, but still carry her with me daily.
When I travel back to check in with this paper that carries my words, I pass the church where I married, the house where I lived, the high school where I dreamed, the college that inspired me to write, and the Brazier where I wish I could still find my friends.
I walk down the streets of town and can still see the Mansour family greeting their loyal customers when one walked through the door. I look around corners hoping to see a face I know to chat about a memory. I pass the bank that gave me my first job, and remember the great employees that were so patient with the new hire.
I drive around to find the places that brought me happiness and lasting memories and realize there are not enough hours or days.
I recently watched my granddaughter play in a soccer game. I found myself jumping up and down on the sidelines. After it was over I asked Avery why she liked the game.
“It’s fun, Grandma!” she replied, gazing at me questionably.
I looked at my right hand and then responded, “Yes, it is Avery, yes, it is.”
A memory had just taken me home.
Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former resident and writer who currently resides in Roswell. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org