OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — They gathered in the school auditorium.
The standard guest list for every Christmas program, parents and grandparents, applies here too, many of them with cameras ready to roll.
Pre-K through 6th Grade each had a memorized song to sing. But sprinkled through this crowd, un-noticed by almost everyone else, were a handful of older ‘kids’ who remember fondly their own days at Edgemere Elementary.
“Those were unique years,” says Edgemere alum Ralph Thompson.
A small group of alumni gathered after the concert in what used to be the kindergarten room when they went to school here.
Judge Thompson, Jim Fentriss, Carol Lee Galbraith, and Ed and Kay Cook. They were here during and just after the years of WWII. Fentriss says, “I used to live right across the street in a duplex at 32nd and Walker. I didn’t have far to walk to school.”
Thompson explains, “Most kids didn’t move so the classmates who started kindergarten, almost all of us went through the 6th grade together.”
They’ve come back several times this year to celebrate Edgemere’s centennial, to walk the halls, and touch the Joan of Arc statue that stands in the main hallway.
“That white statue,” recalls Kay Cook. “I thought it was the biggest thing I’d ever seen in my life.”
District officials have tried but can’t get the dirt from Joan’s hands because so many kids have touched them over the years for luck.
The hands of children starting with current Pre-K kids in Beverly Asher’s class reach upward and backward through the years.
Carol Lee Galbraith says, “When I started in kindergarten and went clear through to the 6th grade I was sure that I was never going to get out of here. But coming back is very comforting.”
“The worst part, for me,” recalls Ed Cook, “was that I did not make the Junior Police.”
“My claim to fame, smiles Ed’s wife Kay, “I was the first girl Junior Police.”
They experience their first time leaving home, first time in a classroom, and on stage.
They make friends they’ll never forget.
These are the kinds of memories every school should carry.
To have a century’s worth under one roof is a good reason to sing.