I started high school in the 9th grade, when I was 14, which seems pretty young when you think about it.
It wasn’t too young to see the attraction of girls, though I didn’t have that issue - at least not Monday through Friday at Catholic High School for Boys.
This year, my class of 1975 will celebrate our 40-year anniversary with a big reunion. I’ll hate to miss it, but the siren song (and KM) of the Gulf of Mexico is impossible to ignore.
Back in 1971, when our hundreds of unshaven faces were dropped off on Lee Avenue, and we marched tentatively into the building, we didn’t know what lie ahead or how our lives would change and take shape over the next four years. Most of it was for the better, I think.
That August, it’s probably safe to say was hot. And a hot reentry came when Apollo 15 returned to Earth that month, the fourth mission to land on the moon. It was becoming old hat.
Australia and New Zealand began pulling their troops out of Vietnam in ‘71; however, the most violent place on the planet seemed to be Ireland. But being a Protestant in a Catholic school didn’t worry me that much. In fact, I ran into my classmate Glen Bolick last week at the press convention, and he told me ours was the first class to come through CHS that had more Protestants than Catholics.1
Also, 1971 was the year they banned cigarette ads on TV and radio. It didn’t faze me, though, and I started smoking the next year – and have stopped many times since.
In January, the Colts, then from Baltimore, beat my Cowboys in Super Bowl V. Dallas linebacker Chuck Howley is still the only player from a losing Super Bowl team to be named MVP. He refused to accept it, saying it was meaningless to him after his team lost. To show how long ago it was, the Colt’s starting QB was Johnny Unitas.
In February of 1971, tornadoes killed 74 people in Mississippi, and Evel Knievel jumped over 19 cars in Ontario.
In June, President Nixon declared a war on drugs. This was the first time it was official. It was too late for Jim Morrison though, who was found dead the next month in his Paris bathtub. But an overdose was never the official cause.
A couple of novels that had an effect on me were published in ‘71. One was “The Betsy,” by Harold Robbins, which I didn’t read until four years later when I was a senior. It was confiscated by the guidance counselor who, after chastising me for bringing pornography into the school and recommending I look into a career in the military, put the novel in his briefcase. I wouldn’t classify it as porn, though.
The Betsy was actually the name of a new automobile, but Robbins had a reputation and the face of the blonde with her eyes shut, and smiling on the cover didn’t help. It was about a family-owned car manufacturer and the owners pinning their hopes on a new model named for the great-granddaughter of the firm’s founder. Okay, it was pretty steamy.
The other book from that year was “The Exorcist,” by William Peter Blatty. I would read it a few years later as well. But they didn’t mind at CHS, as good vs. evil will always have its place in parochial high schools.
Anyway, happy anniversary Rockets of 1975.
1 I had to check, and Glen is actually wrong on this. We had 162 in our graduating class, and less than 60 of us were Protestant.
Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at email@example.com.