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  • Bill Chastain

Forty Years Removed From Plant High

Four decades have passed since I graduated from Plant High.

Four freaking decades.

Henry_B._Plant_High_School,_exterior_and_flagpole Henry B. Plant High School

When exactly that grand occasion occurred escapes me. I’d look for the date on my diploma, but that has escaped me as well. So let’s just say Plant High’s Class of 1975 walked across the Curtis Hixon Hall stage in late May or early June. I do remember the ceremony took place in the middle of Beach Week. Talk about a buzz kill.

Yes, there were those in the Class of ’75 — at least the ones without political agendas — who inhaled.

Not to diminish the accomplishments of classmates who did serious and important things — gazing back through the haze, I believe a kid from Ferg’s physics class discovered uranium or some shit — the class, as a whole, took indifference to a heightened level. Though I do recall a stand against a local TV station when Three Stooges episodes featuring Shemp were shown rather than one’s with Curly. Talk about an uproar.

A classmate drew up a petition to ban Shemp and everyone rallied around the cause by signing. Classes before us burned draft cards and fought to advance civil rights. We worried about re-runs. Alas, the passionate masses lost interest in the station’s programming long before anybody burned down the library or took over the principal’s office. Most simply changed the channel.

Silly stuff. Then again, when are you going to be silly if you can’t be silly in high school?

Preparatory classes for SATs and ACTs were no doubt available. I just don’t remember a lot of concern about their importance. Somewhere along the way the rules changed. High school is now serious business.

Looking in the rear-view mirror, I’m happy my time “‘Neath the pines of Palma Ceia” took place when it did.

Damn, 40 years goes by in a hurry, doesn’t it?

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