News Tyrone Daily Herald Archives

Golden Eagles return to nest for Golden Reunion

The world was spread before them and they couldn’t wait to make their mark. One at a time, each of the 154 members of the Tyrone High School Class of 1958 approached the stage in the venerable Wilson Theater. Two score and ten years ago, they strode down the aisle of a shared past and nervously prepared to enter a world of separate and unknown futures. Now, 50 years later, they’re returning to the town that nurtured their youth and gave them their start.
The 50s were a decade of change marked with concern and uncertainty. The Korean conflict had come to an end only to be replaced by the “cold war,” the Middle East was unstable, nuclear testing of bigger bombs was common and exploration of space was in its genesis. In January of 1958, something called “Sputnik” returned to earth, the Vanguard 1 satellite and Explorer 3 were launched in March and another Sputnik took to the skies in May. Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states while space exploration continued in earnest. The world was getting bigger and this group of young people was about to take it on with vigor.
If the 50s was a formative decade, the 60s were a decade which moved this class from adolescent meandering to meaningful adult career paths. It was the decade of crises and instability requiring a few classmates to put careers on hold. The United States officially entered the Vietnam War in the early 60s and several in the class of 1958 found themselves in harm’s way a half a world away. Others were in National Guard units called up to quell disturbances in Mississippi as James Meredith entered the university or came to the aid of those who were attacked during the march on Selma. Incidents like the Cuban Missile crisis and the assassinations of JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr. added to the nation’s unrest.
But, the 60s were also a decade of hope and excitement. In 1962, John Glenn’s successful orbits in the Mercury capsule gave all of us pride in our accomplishments. In 1964 we got a glimpse of our future at the New York’s World Fair. In 1966, Luna 9 landed on the moon and by July 1969, Apollo safely carried men to the moon and back. The Eagle had landed! A new term, “PC” entered our lexicon and we’d never be the same.
Some of our classmates who maintained a family farm found it to be much more efficient with the aid of computers and GPS technology. Skills first introduced in a shop class were honed in an apprenticeship and finally supported by CAD (computer aided design) formed successful small businesses. Those who ventured into the field of education found it quite challenging trying to “keep up with the kids” as the PC became the new tool of learning. Nursing and medicine in general became more technologically rewarding especially with the advent of the first artificial heart in 1964. Even the delivery and sorting of mail got a technology boost with the advent of “ZIP” codes in 1963.
From Albright and Ayers, Dawson and Dean, Hamer and Harpster, Yothers and Zimmerman and all the others, each and every member of the class of 1958 was tossed into throws of a technological revolution. While not fully appreciated during the prior years, these students had been challenged, hone and prepared by dedicated teachers. The likes of Crawford, Nejako, MacDowell, Hitchens, Finnegan, Thomas, Campbell, Westley, Gorman, Mohne, Latshaw, Corbin, Hixon, Eberle and others all did their best to prepare them for the race. And run the race they did!
There may be a tear on a cheek or a smile on the lips as each remembers the good times and bad. Many will recall with special fondness the 25 classmates who competed with them in the technology revolution and for whom the race is over.
There may be a double take when entering or leaving Gardner’s this weekend. Those people aren’t strangers; they’re this class of Golden Eagles returning to their nest.