Long ago, in a
galaxy far away…
Well, it wasn’t
really another galaxy, but looking back on it, it sure seems
1977 was a different
world. A world of disco, long hair and leisure suits. A world
before the Internet, bar scanners, cell phones, Wikipedia, TiVo
and Google, and even home computers, though they were on the
verge of coming – Apple was incorporated in 1977. Star Wars came
out right before we graduated. We tell our unbelieving kids that
we saw the original Star Wars. Heck, cable TV was a new-fangled
thing then, and video games hadn’t advanced much beyond Pong.
We lived comfortably
in that world. We embraced the world of the late seventies. We
immersed ourselves in the culture, clothes, television shows and
movies of that time. We were the class of 1977 and the world had
better sit up and take notice.
We were a maverick
class. We bucked long-standing traditions, most notably Pine
Tree’s graduation invitation, which had been the same for eons.
Not that we didn’t respect tradition, but we pushed for change.
The principal’s daughter was part of our class, so perhaps the
principal watched us a bit closer than other graduating classes.
We may have been
mavericks, but in many ways, we were much like other graduating
classes of the past and the future. We had our cliques – the
jocks, goat ropers, stoners, brainiacs, cheerleaders, loners and
so forth and so on.
"old" skating rink...Knock Three Times, baby!!
Looking back on
1977, I can still remember the exact layout of Pine Tree High
school the way it was then, and I bet all of you can, too. The
grassy little courtyard in front of the library and by the
cafeteria, where we hung out after lunch, suckers hanging out of
our mouths. The stairs that led down to the gym and P.E. The
two-story building that had the senior and junior lockers – Mr.
Noon’s class was at the top of the stairs. Ms. Lofton’s class
was on the lower floor, near the end. The student parking lot
was out the doors of this building.
The other building
had the sophomore lockers and the administrative offices. You
were likely to run into Mr. Bardwell, who’d greet you with a
And Family Living "fake" weddings...preparation, scare
tactic, or just good old fashioned torture? Only
the teachers knew for sure...
The year we were
seniors was the year Pine Tree’s football team went to the
quarterfinals. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that’s
still as far as any Pine Tree football team has gone in the
playoffs. That was the year that Jacksonville beat us with a
field goal in the final seconds, but then lost to Henderson and
Kilgore, allowing us to advance in the playoffs.
Our class wore all
the latest fashions and the guys had the long hair, unless you
were on Coach Ray’s basketball team. We wore the snap button
shirts, long bell-bottomed blue jeans and three piece suits. As
a short guy, I loved platform shoes – me and Mike Koesel both.
Girly-Girls, in the hot threads of the day...
I remember a lot of
people from that time and could probably name nearly all of them
if shown their senior picture without a name. We were a small
class, and even if we weren’t friends, everyone pretty much knew
who everyone was. Everyone was friendly and some friendships
even crossed the clique barriers.
There are so many
things to remember about being a part of the class of 1977 – I
could literally write a book about it all, and maybe someday I
Thirty years have
passed since that time, and we’ve all scattered, going in many
different directions. Some stayed in Longview. Some moved
thousands of miles away. Some got married. Some didn’t. Some
have children and even grandchildren. Some don’t have children.
We grew up and ended up in a wide variety of occupations.
Lawyers, engineers, teachers, doctors, homemakers – we have them
We’re all in our
late forties, staring fifty in the face. But we have a lot of
life yet to live. Who knows what the future will bring for us?
Whatever we may be
doing now, we have a common bond. That place, and that time,
belong to us. We’ll never forget all that we shared. We are Pine
Tree, the class of 1977.