Our oldest granddaughter, Macey, graduated from high school this weekend. We went to the ceremony Saturday morning. I made enough mental notes that I could write a really snarky commentary on the things that went on around us, and the people who were involved. And while I may do that for myself, I’m not going to post it here. It was too important an event to degrade in that way. Instead, I believe I’ll compose a “compare and contrast” post about today’s ceremony and the one in which I took part forty-nine years ago.
The first, obvious thing the two ceremonies had in common was that they took place in the high school gym. I’m pretty sure that is standard practice in Indiana county schools. After all, that is where the basketball games are played, and where there is generally the most seating close to where the action is.
Also, the ceremony begins with the playing of the National Anthem and students walking in to the strains of Elgar’s Pomp And Circumstance. Sometimes the order is reversed, Pomp and then the anthem. I honestly don’t remember which way it was in ’65. One difference I did notice was that when Macey’s class came in, they walked. Our class marched, starting with the left foot, bringing the right foot even with the left, then stepping out with the right foot, bringing the left foot even, and starting again with the left. I’m sure that march step has a name, but I don’t know what it is. I’m not sure how much time we put in practicing that step, but it sure seemed like a lot. Macey just had to walk. It doesn’t seem fair.
I looked around the gym, at the other people attending, and noticed that I was the only one wearing a sport coat. Most of the other men were wearing jeans, khakis or shorts with t-shirts or other short-sleeved shirts. There were a few wearing shirts and ties, but darned few. To be honest, while I wore the jacket to the ceremony, I soon took it off and sat there in my jeans and short-sleeved shirt. At my graduation, my dad was in the majority when he wore a suit. Ideas about proper attire have changed.
Macey’s ceremony had a lot more addresses than mine did. My school was smaller, and only had one valedictorian and one salutatorian. Macey’s class had four valedictorians and one salutatorian who spoke, and each of them was introduced by their best friend who had an outline they pretty much stuck to. Some adult gave a commencement address at our ceremony. Maybe it was the superintendent, or maybe it was someone who was a local celebrity. I just don’t remember; nor do I remember anything that was said…by anyone. I do remember that our valedictorian (I know who it was, but I’m not naming names) gave an address that was considered mildly rebellious. Hey, it was the sixties. Macey’s many speakers were not rebellious (I thought), but they did seem to go for the humor.
A few other thing that the two ceremonies had in common were that all of the student’s were happy to be graduating, all of the parents and grandparents were proud, almost everyone present believed that it was the best graduating class ever, and that they will never forget it. So why did most of us bring cameras? Oh, two other things: 1) most of the young kids attending got antsy after just a few minutes, and 2) bleacher seats never got softer as the addresses went on…and on.
Yes. I am proud of Macey. Part of me wishes she was still the little girl whom I pushed in the swing. Part of me is waiting for her to make an even bigger mark in her life than she has already.