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Jamestown Grads Share Memories on Facebook

In Local News, Opinion, Uncategorized on August 9, 2011 at 1:37 am

By Gery L. Deer

Deer In Headlines

 

As the school bell begins to ring, signaling the start of a brand new year, I was recently reminded of how fast time slips by and what we miss along the way. Not to mention what we forget about entirely.

One evening, not too long ago, I was lurking on Facebook when I noticed that aJamestown,Ohiopage to which I subscribe was being bombarded by messages. I rarely get a chance to spend more than a few minutes looking at any of this stuff, so, having some free time at the end of the day, I decided to look in on it.

Appropriately titled, “You Know You’re From Jamestown If,” the group page is usually full of nonsense or bad jokes about small town life. On this particular night, however, something more fun and positive was happening.

A group of graduates from the 1980’s were sharing their memories of Greeneview High Shool and growing up inJamestown. I was in the Greeneview class of ’85 and rarely think of my school days. But watching the flood of memories being shared on the chat page was not only fun and entertaining, it was touching as well. Looking back through the eyes of others was a fascinating exploration into perspective.

Memories of people and events long forgotten were being typed and posted as fast as people could think of them. Some things being discussed I didn’t remember at all, while others, the amazing food at our elementary school for example, were clearly visible in my mind.

You know you are fromJamestownif you remember walking to the Pizza Pantry after football games, or if you had a history teacher who hired a belly dancer, or a language teacher that gave A’s to the girls who wore dresses to class. You know you are fromJamestownif you had a shop instructor obsessed with, “Glue and screws,” or a band director who looked like Mr. Kotter.

InJamestown, probably elsewhere too, girls used to wrap their boyfriend’s class ring with yarn so they could wear it on their finger instead of on a chain around their neck. Do they even still do that or has the class ring exchange been replaced with the, “In a relationship with,” notation on Facebook?

Besides their school memories, some people also reminisced about whatJamestownwas like in those days. Before the Wickersham building collapsed and the fires of the early 90’s ravaged the downtown, and before the railroad left,Jamestownwas thriving and busy.

There were gas stations at each end of town, two ice cream stores, and two restaurants: The Grasshopper and Curley’s, where my mother worked. The Jamestown Pharmacy had a soda fountain and while you waited for your ice cream you could go get your favorite candy from the five and dime next door. Back then, you often had to wait for trains to pass by in order to get from one side of town to the other.

Some folks even spent an unusually long time talking about the one, full-time traffic light at the center of town. Though before long, someone promptly noted that there were actually two, reminding everyone that the other one just flashed yellow after school hours.

No doubt we all remember our childhoods in our own way and many posters lamented over easier times. One person commented, “Life back then was so simple.” Another classmate said, “Since graduation I’ve lived inCincinnati,Cleveland,Columbus,Philadelphia,Minneapolis, andEvansville…still the best memories are fromJamestown.” That sentiment was shared by many, including me. Even one of the teachers chimed in to say that he has nothing but wonderful memories about his years at Greeneview.

As the Class of 2012 heads into their finale, here’s a special hat tip to them from the Class of 1985 – and all the classes of Greeneview, and Jamestown High School (yes, there was a “Jamestown High School” at one time), Ross Township, Jefferson Township, and Silvercreek Township High Schools. The Statler Brothers once sang, “Things get complicated when you get past 18.” They couldn’t have been more correct. So thanks for the memories everyone. You made my night.

 

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown. Read more at http://www.deerinheadlines.com.

 

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