I spent this past weekend in Loudonville, Ohio, to meet some dear friends at a winery Saturday night. We were going to hear another friend and his band perform some classics from when I was in high school back in 1975-1978. Yes I’m that old.
I’ve passed through Loudonville many times over the years but had never actually spent any time in the village. Small town Ohio is definitely the post card you’ll find there. Quaint little main street with just a few blocks of homes meandering off both sides.
For dinner Friday night I stopped in at the Mohican Tavern and very glad I did. The bartender, Abby, recommended their Friday night special which was lake perch with sides of creamy cole slaw and red potatoes. I thoroughly enjoyed the meal but what really made it special was the Little Kings Cream Ale I drank with the it. You see Friday night is also Old School beer night. Which brings me back to 1978.
I am a proud member of the 1978 graduating class of Coshocton High School. As such I and a number of my classmates were ‘lucky enough’ to have developed at an early age an appreciation for the better beers. And for me those better beers were the cream ales bottled by Little Kings and Genesee. Not your average better beers right?
For the most part, my high school years were fun years. I know not everyone enjoyed their time in high school and believe me there were days I greatly disliked it but over all I have very fond memories from back then.
Life long friendships formed. Friday and Saturday nights hanging out at the Pond. Choir practices and performances where I was ‘ lucky enough ‘ to wear a bright pink shirt in show choir. Passing Calculus II my senior year only by the grace and kindness of Mr. Miller. So many experiences and people I will always cherish.
But back to this past Friday night. Seated next to me at the Mohican was Brian. A local guy that works at a lumber company as an inspector. As we both enjoyed our perch and beer, his choice was old school Strohs, we talked about usual tavern topics which included;
Cleveland sports teams. Who still bottled old school beers. Which trees were best to find morel mushrooms around. And high school. And not too much to my surprise, Brian was a proud graduate of Youngstown Ursuline High School and the class of, you guessed it, 1978.
After dinner and another Little King, I said thanks to Abby for the nice meal, told Brian I really enjoyed sharing a meal with him and talking about old times, and headed up Main Street for some dessert at a little ice cream place I had read about on Trip Advisor. Stela’s Ice Cream Shoppe.
When I opened Stela’s door I stepped back in time to my high school years. The smells, the decor, the feel of the shoppe all reminded me of going to a few of my favorite places in Coshocton and Roscoe Village as a teenager.
Syck’s bakery on Main Street to get the best milk shake in town with a cheese burger. JJ Newberry’s food counter with my mom for lunch on Saturdays. And Capitan Nye’s Ice Cream Parlor in Roscoe for a double dip of rocky road. All precious memories that will be with me always. Really good stuff.
Next year, 2018, will bring the 40th reunion of the CHS class of 1978. Incredibly hard to believe it’s been 40 years as so many of us still look just like we did back then. At least in my mind’s eye we do. I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone and hearing how life has treated each of us.
How many of us are grandparents now and how many grandkids we have. Did we do with our lives what we wrote we would do in our 1978 Tomahawk year books. Are we still working and more importantly when the heck are we retiring. And who of our class we’ve lost since our last reunion.
If I’ve learned nothing else over these past 40 years I’ve learned that life will lead us where it wants to. If we’ve achieved some of our post high school goals that’s a wonderful thing. But I think most of us would say that in the unexpected experiences is where our lives became meaningful. Both the joys and sorrows that came to us without planning or warning. Those were the times that have really shaped each of us into the person we were meant to be. Who we are.
These past few years have been rough for many of us with unwanted sorrows. The death of a spouse. The death of a friend and classmate. The death of a parent or sibling. And perhaps the worse, the death of a child. If you have experienced any of these my heart aches for, no, my heart aches with you.
But many of us have also experienced great joys. The birth of a grandchild. A new love in our life. The marriage of a son or daughter. Reaching retirement.
For me I have realized that my life, although not what I had necessarily planned it to be, has been and continues to be a journey where I am blessed with unconditional love, beautiful friendships, and life experiences that have made me who I am. And for that I am thankful.
So next year, the CHS class of 78 will raise an old school beer or two to who we were, who we are, who we’ve lost, and to who we will yet become.
Cheers my friends!