Class of 1937

Cov­ing­ton High grads cel­e­brate 70th re­union

The Covington News - - EDUCATION - By Jenny Thompson

In 1937, The Great De­pres­sion had mired the United States in un­em­ploy­ment and poverty for al­most a decade, yet small-town life con­tin­ued as nor­mally as it could.

Cov­ing­ton High School — as it was called when the build­ing was lo­cated where the Cov­ing­ton Po­lice De­part­ment now sits — awarded 39 young men and women with their high school diplo­mas that year.

Many of the vi­brant, smil­ing­faced grad­u­ates have since passed away, but Wed­nes­day evening six of those grad­u­ates gath­ered to cel­e­brate their 70th class re­union and rem­i­nisce about the green­ness of their youths and the city.

“We didn’t have an album,” said class pres­i­dent Sam Jor­dan as he hov­ered over a scrap­book, “but The Cov­ing­ton News would print an in­sert with the grad­u­ates.”

Jor­dan’s class­mates voted him most likely to suc­ceed, most pop­u­lar boy, cutest boy, best na­tured boy, most de­pend­able boy and best all around boy.

His boy­ish wit has stayed in­tact through the years, ev­i­denced as he charmed his for­mer class­mates and their fam­i­lies with sto­ries of se­nior pranks and teenage fun.

Jor­dan re­called when a few boys bought a two-horse car­riage from a hard­ware store in town, dis­as­sem­bled it, hauled it to the roof of the high school and re­assem­bled it.

This prank was far less harm­less than the one that cleared the school. A male stu­dent de­cided it would be hu­mor­ous if he re­lieved him­self in one of the school’s heat­ing ducts — the stench was hor­ri­ble.

Jor­dan also re­mem­bered a beloved mo­tor­cy­cle on which he rode to school.

“I could ride all the way from Cov­ing­ton to Por­terdale stand­ing with my feet on the seat,” Jor­dan boasted.

Of course he didn’t do this when he drove class trea­surer and sec­re­tary, Doris Fincher— Doris Hitch­cock then— to school.

“Momma said ‘you were the last one of my girls I thought would ride a mo­tor­cy­cle,’” Fincher said.

Fincher said she has never driven be­cause she was in a car ac­ci­dent as a young girl.

She re­mem­bered so­cial­iz­ing at “pound par­ties,” so-called be­cause ev­ery­one brought a pound of some dish to some­one’s house and spread it on the ta­ble for ev­ery­one to en­joy.

“That was all you could af­ford back then,” Fincher said.

Be­cause the De­pres­sion had squeezed most fam­i­lies’ wal­lets dry, stu­dents didn’t par­tic­i­pate in clubs or hold dances.

“Iwasn’t in any clubs,” Fincher said. “Momma couldn’t af­ford to have me in any clubs — she did good just to send me to school.”

Many stu­dents, while not in school, worked part-time jobs to ease the fi­nan­cial strains on their fam­i­lies.

“I didn’t do much for fun back then be­cause I worked,” said JamesWil­liam Las­siter.

Las­siter worked af­ter school at a gro­cery store for $6 a week. He was lucky enough, how­ever, to drive him­self into town in a 1937 Ford.

Jor­dan de­liv­ered gro­ceries for the same store and de­scribed an eye-pop­ping mo­ment dur­ing one of his de­liv­er­ies. He claims dur- ing one de­liv­ery he knocked on the wrong door of a Por­terdale du­plex. Some­one inside said “come in,” and when he opened the door he dis­cov­ered a naked wo­man bathing in a wash tub — who quickly cov­ered her­self with a towel.

“She said, ‘Oh I though you were the in­sur­ance sales­man,’” Jor­dan said.

He jokes the in­ci­dent caused him to as­pire to be­come an in­sur­ance sales­man, but af­ter serv­ing in the Army Air Corps dur­ing World War II, he be­came a cor­po­rate en­gi­neer­ing di­rec­tor.

Voted most in­tel­lec­tual by his class­mates, Las­siter also served in the Army Air Corps af­ter grad­u­at­ing from high school. He was sta­tioned on the is­land of Guam when the Amer­i­can pi­lots dropped atomic bombs on Ja­pan in 1945.

Jor­dan was on Guam that day too, al­though he and Las­siter didn’t re­al­ize they had been de­ployed to the same lo­ca­tion un­til years later.

Las­siter stud­ied an­i­mal nu­tri­tion at the Univer­sity of Ge­or­gia then the Univer­sity of Illi­nois be­fore re­turn­ing to UGA to join the fac­ulty. He re­tired 26 years ago as a pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus, who had pre­sented more than 100 pa­pers and di­rected 12 in­di­vid­u­als ob­tain­ing their masters and two ob­tain­ing their doc­tor­ates.

Fincher, voted most de­pend­able girl, did what most young girls did af­ter their high school grad­u­a­tions.

“I grad­u­ated in May and I mar­ried in Au­gust,” Fincher said. She eloped — es­cap­ing with her groom all the way to Cony­ers.

The grad­u­ates all agreed that much has changed in Cov­ing­ton since 1937.

“It was a dry county back then,” Jor­dan said, “but it didn’t make no dif­fer­ence be­cause we didn’t drink like they do to­day.”

Jor­dan has a nick­name for Cov­ing­ton, de­scrib­ing its role in metropoli­tan sprawl.

“It’s the bed­room of At­lanta — that’s what I call it,” Jor­dan said.

Las­siter said what once was a sleepy lit­tle com­mu­nity has grown more than any­one his age ever ex­pected.

“Cov­ing­ton was a small town back in 1937, and now it’s a sub­urb of At­lanta— it’s just ex­ploded,” Las­siter said. “I can get lost in Cov­ing­ton now.”

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

To­gether again: Mem­bers of The Cov­ing­ton High School Class of 1937 gath­ered at Ap­ple­bee’s Wed­nes­day evening to cel­e­brate their 70th Class re­union. Class mem­bers in at­ten­dance were Doris Fincher, front left, Ma­bel Bone, William Las­siter, back left, Jewel Hitch­cock, Or­rin Bryan and Sam Jor­dan.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.