02 November 2015

Good Books, Better Friends

by Susan Rogers Cooper

Last weekend was my 50th high school reunion. No need to do the math – I was only eight when I graduated. Child prodigy, you know. I went to R.L. Turner High School in Carrollton, Texas. Back in those days, Carrollton was a small town and we could catch a Greyhound Bus for a Saturday outing to Big D. Now it's one of Dallas's biggest bedroom communities – and for some reason seems a lot closer. And having been gone from there since 1971, I no longer knew my way around. I stayed with a friend I've had since the eight grade, Elaine Rigs, now Edgington. Elaine was recently released from a long stint in physical rehab and is temporarily assigned to a wheelchair. And as she had to give me directions where ever we went, we delighted in telling people that I was pushing her around and she was telling me where to go. I hope some of them got it. Our hysterical laughter may have given them a clue.

It was great seeing people I hadn't seen in so many years. Like Eddie Russell (alphabetically behind me in line for graduation) who thought I was moving too slowly so picked me up by the elbows and carried me through the ceremony. Or Duffy Oyster who copied every word I wrote in Mr. Hebert's World History class. I was always surpirsed Duffy managed to pass the class. Or Bertha Moses (now Bert), voted most intellegent of our graduating class, who's now a professional poker player. But it was my friend Elaine who was my main event. We may only talk on the phone once or twice a year, but we can always start the conversation where we'd left off the call before.

What really took my breath away last weekend, though, was when Elaine handed me a book. It was an old copy of A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith, and inside, on the flyleaf page was written: “Susan Rogers, Room 203, Binnion Hall, East Texas State University.” Elaine had borrowed that book our freshman year in college and decided to give it back fifty years later. I will cherish that book for another fifty years, if I'm able. Or maybe just twenty.

4 comments:

Barb Goffman said...

Something about autumn always makes me feel homey, and your story fits right in. Thanks for sharing it, Susan. Very nice.

Leigh Lundin said...

Good story and good friends, Susan. Glad you got your book back!

sf said...

Your math made me grin! I plan to use that.

Jan Grape said...

Finally, had a chance to read your story today. Been a crazy day and will be even crazier tomorrow but wanted to let you know I really enjoyed reading about your reunion. You were a smarter gal. I was 10 before I graduated. I should have made notes however, not sure I remember the names of fellow students. Since I was actually 17 when I graduated I blame that on teenage brain dead fog. Good job.