Ever since I saw this picture Wayne Esmay posted on facebook, I have been thinking about that last year of high school in Murdo. This picture was taken when we took a senior trip to Pierre to visit the capital.
Looking at my fellow classmates in this photograph, I feel all the years between now and then disappear. They were all such an important part of my life. Many of them had been in my class since first grade. I felt a certain sense of closeness to all of them. We had a great class. We sometimes got mad at each other, but I believe we all genuinely cared for one another. We helped each other get through some of the angst that goes along with being a teenager.
The fact that this picture was taken during a senior trip, means nothing to me. I barely remember the day, but there are other things about the kids in the picture that I recall very clearly. I remember Jimmy Aske wearing his letter jacket all the time. Jimmy was one of our basketball stars and a super nice guy. He was a country kid, so he always had a car. It’s amazing that in our one hour off at noon, we could go home, eat, and still have time to ride around with Jimmy. His sweet mom worked at Super Value. I don’t think I ever told Jimmy that my cousin Valerie and I chased his family’s milk cows all over with our horses.
Danny Koester, Eddie Jackson, and Ron Kinsley are standing with Jimmy. I helped Danny paint his car, purple. I remember being at the show one night talking to Danny and a couple of other kids when his little brother, Freddie, said he had to go to the bathroom. Danny was busy talking and offhandedly said, “Just go in the corner.” Freddie did, which caused some excitement in the showhouse.
Eddie, standing next to Danny, was always a very committed student and athlete. While on the basketball court, or when playing football or running track, he concentrated on his sport, but he usually had a smile on his face any other time…just like he does in this picture. Eddie and I reconnected at the 2016 reunion and have become good friends. Ron, next to Eddie, was on the quiet side. He was a dedicated teammate and well thought of by his classmates. I’m sure Dick Bradley must be standing to the left of them. I remember Dick’s dry sense of humor and quick wit. Dennis Chambliss is the guy with his hand on his jacket. It looks like I might be talking to him. I’m standing close to the wall next to Mrs. Esmay, who is the lady in the red dress. Dennis was our center and also played the coronet in the band. His sister played saxophone which is what I played. The Chambliss family were all really good people. (I’m sure they still are.) I know the Sanderson’s sure do think a lot of their younger brother, Curt.
You can barely see Josephine Jost. She is standing against the building and holding her coat. I have written a lot about my escapades with Josephine. I would recognize that hairdo anywhere. She was the instigator of a lot of fun times. She was much more daring than I was, but Marlene Rada, who is probably standing next to Josephine, tempered things enough so that I could have some fun pushing the limits a little.
Elaine Magnuson, in the red, was my best friend in the fourth grade. I also wrote about her in my young Murdo Girl blogs. She excelled at everything she did in high school…band (clarinet), chorus, and scholastics. She was also a majorette. Doreen Iversen is the blond to the right of Elaine. I wrote about her family inviting me to go to Arizona with them when we were seniors. Doreen had several little brothers and sisters and she was like a little mother to them. Her dad, Dale drove us all to her mom’s parent’s home where we met Delores who had gone ahead of us. We went to see Monument Valley, where John Wayne’s westerns were made and Nogales. It was my first time in Mexico. I remember buying all kinds of cheap little trinkets and little bottles of champagne.
Don Edwards, is sitting on the wall. A finer character you will never meet. He was always in trouble with the teachers, but they all adored him. Don is the only classmate I have been in constant touch with since graduation. He was then, and is now, a great guy. My brother, Billy, refers to him as, “The best friend I never had.” Billy hangs out with Don when they’re both at the reunions and even went to Yankton to see Don before he sold Murdo’s (his restaurant).
Vicki Esmay is standing to the right of me. I don’t think I have seen her since graduation. We were both in the twelve year club. She was always a sweetheart and had a great family. Her grandmother, Mrs. Sandy, was our first grade teacher. Vicki and I were cheerleaders together several times through the years. I hope we meet up again one of these days.
There were twenty-seven kids in our graduating class….I remember all of you. I don’t have my senior yearbook so I can’t show a picture of everyone, but you know who you are 🙂 and if you have a copy of our ten year reunion picture, I wish you would post it. Maybe Ella Elrod has one.
I love this photo, and to me it captures something very special. I loved my class, my school, and everything that went with it. Graduation was traumatic for me. I’m sure it’s a little bit unsettling for most kids, but I probably should have gotten some help.
Maybe growing up in Murdo was just like growing up in any other small town
…or maybe not.