By Bill Derby
I was going through my junior and senior high school annuals looking for photos and information on the late Coach Kermit Tipton.
Soon it will be 50 years ago I graduated high school but reading through some of the short notes and autographs we asked our friends to pen brought back many fun memories. Although it is particularly sad to note a few classmates who wrote their silly notes on my annual pages are now gone. It’s amazing to read what people said about you during those formative and sometimes immature years.
I had actually forgotten all the trouble I had been in during my high school days, mostly from not studying hard enough and goofing off, nothing serious and typical of our age group.
“Raising hell” must have been a past time back in those days because I have many inscriptions that contain those words… “Good luck to a real hell raiser!” I wasn’t sure why anyone would write that description of me but I must have left an impression on a few of my classmates. Shooting squirt guns in the hallways, throwing spit wads, sneaking off campus for lunch or stealing a few bales of hay for the Jr. Civitan Club hayrides could have been considered ‘raisin hell’ I suppose.
Other inscriptions read…
“Good luck for you are going to need it in English next year!” (Truer words were never spoken)
“Dear Bill, I will never, ever forget all the good times you and Kay and I’ve had in English. We have really given Miss Jones a rough time.” (This indicates I was going to have a rough time in my senior English class)
“Don’t ever forget our great 4th period sociology class (ugh!)” (I never recall ever having attended a sociology class).
“Good Luck to a real hell raiser! Keep up the good work and never be good. Love and Kisses, Pete” (My basketball friend, the late Pete Peterson)
“To the best friend a girl could ever want. Thank you for listening to my silly troubles for the past three years….” (A very nice friend who now lives in the Ridges and was once a blond.)
“Good Luck with your band and may you make a lot of money.” (That never happened but we are still trying.)
“I really don’t know what to say…I’m sorta’ at a loss for words.” (Well, I’d say so too. A girlfriend who dumped me.)
“Boy, our sociology class with the good Kermit Tipton sure was ‘hard’ wasn’t it? If you and Tommy hadn’t talked so much—what would coach have had to fuss about?” (I guess that proves I did take sociology and talked too much.)
“We sure have had some good times together during the football, basketball season on the Gordon Gridiron. Also you are a pretty good lover too. I would dare to say that you rank in the top 50 lovers of Science Hill. Your buddy, James Bond (007)” (Well, at least someone recognized my high school intellect. This was an inscription by Joe Cowell now living in Nashville who has done very well and even married a blond.)
“Well, its been a long hard road for both of us. They say old friends are always the best friends. Best of everything in later life!” (We are still friends and for sure, old)
I did remember one event noted in my senior annual by a daring partner. During Science Hill’s high school basketball tournament in Morristown about five of us were late getting to the game. We looked in the gym and there were no seats left in the bleachers. Someone came up with the idea of pretending one of us was blind and might be offered seats on the front row. Tony Martin volunteered to put on dark sunglasses and become sightless. We found an old cane in the trunk of the car.
I grabbed Tony’s arm. Carl Young grabbed the other arm. Tony put on the glasses and started bouncing the cane in front of him. We walked into the game with people looking at us escorting a young blind student to the basketball game. It was all we could do not to burst out laughing. Students cleared the front bleacher seats for us to sit down. Tony watched the game with sunglasses on.
Stupid kids we were.