LaGrange is calling me back home
Published 7:21 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2017
Even though LaGrange is not my original home, she welcomed me with open arms in 1962. LaGrange flew into my heart when I was 15 and is still with me today.
I will travel back there for a mini high school reunion in two weeks. I will smile as I pass the fountain and remember how magical it seemed the night I first saw it as my family drove into town.
I will look at where Mansour’s once stood proudly on the square and see daddy walking through the doors to buy a new sport coat and another hat from Mr. George.
The Bank of America is still the new Citizens and Southern to me. I can see Dot, Reba, Linda, and all the girls that I worked with, giving me a baby shower on the top floor one spring afternoon in 1970.
When I pass the First Methodist church, I will recall MYF meetings on Sunday nights and a Sunday afternoon in December when I walked down its aisle to be married.
I will gaze to the hill as I travel down Broad to the college where an English Professor, Dr. Freeman, pleaded, “Please Lynn, keep writing; finish your story.”
I still can hear Roy Orbison as he sang, in person, at a fraternity dance and remember laughing with him afterwards.
I can visualize my friends’ smiles as they gathered in the student center listening to the juke box playing the Mamas and Pappas’ “Monday, Monday” every Monday.
As I turn right to go out Country Club Drive, I will wave to Sally’s house that is still yellow wishing she was still there. When I go to LaGrange, I always pass my old house that mama built and stop.
I gaze at the windows and see myself running down the hall to grab the ringing phone. I can hear the clinking of the pool balls on the table downstairs. I smell brownies in the oven and shoe polish as Dad shined his shoes. LaGrange High School will be my next stop. The finest folks in the world walked out those doors into the future in 1965.
At least that is what our class thinks. But the truth is, there truly was magic that came from that class. People that I had the privilege to know worked their way to finery in so many ways. How could they become more outstanding than they already were?
One became a Country Music Hall of Fame songwriter.
However, my eyes only see him toting his guitar down our school halls while holding his girlfriend’s hand.
One made millions and became a philanthropist, but he was always worth a million as my friend. One became a pediatric nurse and cared for sick children all her life. I know her as my biology partner and my best friend. One became an owner of a large business in Atlanta with his brothers. I see him as just plain old large in my heart.
Others became teachers, preachers, bankers, businessmen and women, doctors, leaders, writers, caregivers, artists and yet, all reached to the sky.
Most became great parents and grandparents, husbands and wives. Many call LaGrange their home of the past, present, and future. LaGrange was a short stop for me. Sometimes in life, it is the quality and not the quantity of time that can alter our journey. I am not sure where I would be today without the place our family called home for eight years. Where would I be if Mrs. Smith and Miss Owen had not believed in the student that didn’t believe in herself?
Where would I be today if the bank had not given me my first job? Where would my faith be if I had not fallen to my knees on the altar of the Methodist church?
Where would I be today without the girl that lived in the yellow house, or the Professor who I promised I would finish the story? Where would I be without the support and love of the class of 1965?
In two weeks I will sit beside my LHS classmates and listen to the songwriter sing his famous tunes on a Friday evening at the college that encouraged me. I will study the faces of those friends and see them not for what they became but for who they are and will forever be to me.
I have visited and lived in other states, seen other countries and called many towns my home.
However, it is LaGrange that is always calling me back to its open arms and to the magical fountain on the square. It is LaGrange that summoned me back to write and finish the story.
Lynn Walker Gendusa is a former resident and writer who currently resides in Roswell. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.