2005 Class of 1960 Reunion


Welcome Address

Written and delivered by Bill Stubbs

A Bag of Tools by R. L. Sharpe

Isn’t it strange
That princes and kings,
And clowns that caper
In sawdust rings,
And common People
Like you and me
Are builders for eternity?

 Each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, A book of rules;
And each must make—
Ere life is flown—
A stumbling block
Or a steppingstone.

Welcome, Hamlet High School Red Rams, Class of 1960, and spouses and friends—to our 45th high school reunion!  “Ain’t” it funny how time slips away?  To me, it seems like only yesterday ... 45 years ... almost unbelievable. 
Last year, I had occasion to be in Hamlet and stopped at the Burger King down on the corner of Hamlet Avenue and highway 177.  I looked in amazement and almost with a tear in my eye.  The gymnasium is gone. The high school itself is gone, although the half circular front drive remains.  In my mind’s eye, I could still see those buildings.  I could still see our class sitting out on the wall between the home economics building and the main school building at lunchtime cavorting and having all the fun that we used to have.  I could still see the steps at the main entrance to Hamlet High and see ghostly images of classes of students and school organizations gathering there for school pictures.

The walls are torn down now; the high school, as we knew it, is physically gone.  But bricks and mortar do not a school make.  In my heart and mind, and perhaps yours too, Hamlet High School still exists and will exist in many important ways.

We grew up in Hamlet, the Hub of the Seaboard, in Hamlet High School, and to some extent at the Hub Grill.  Hamlet High in a very real way was the hub of our beginning.  We got our basic book learning education there, our “bag of tools.”  We got a lot of basic socialization skills there, how to treat others and to get along with others, our “book of rules.”  We got our basic cautions about “stumbling blocks” and our basic instruction in building “stepping stones” and “building for eternity.”

We, as a class, have radiated out from Hamlet High like spokes of a wheel radiate out from the hub of the wheel to the wheel’s rim.  For some of us, our spokes have remained physically close to Hamlet, the Hub.  For others of us, our spokes have radiated out farther, some to far away places.  But in our hearts and in our minds, no matter how far away from Hamlet we’ve traveled—like the spokes of a wheel, we remain united to the hub.  To me, that is our class—united through the years.  Perhaps far away in distance at times, yet permanently close in spirit and friendship. 

As a class, we are indebted…we’re indebted…

  • To our parents ….  They did a lot for us.  I wish right now we could thank them again.  Perhaps some of you still can.

As a class, we are indebted… we’re indebted…

  • To our teachers and our principal, Mr. W. L. Haltiwanger…. I never called him “Prong,”…not to his face.  They did a lot for us through their teaching, efforts, work, commitment, and love.  They had a real and significant impact upon our lives much of which went right by me, and I assume you, without registering on us as a significant contribution to our long-term well-being.  I wish that we could thank them properly now.

As a class, we are indebted… we’re indebted…

  • To our classmates….  We are indebted to each other in many ways for the impact that we have had on each other as we grew up together in the Hamlet Schools and at Hamlet High School.  We had innumerable contacts, indefinable influences, and genuine friendships that helped to shape us into the eventual adults that we became.   From this distant perspective forty-five years later, I, and perhaps all of us, know of its value.  Although we may have traveled far and much time may have passed, in our hearts and minds, Hamlet High and our classmates will always be a significant part of us—the Hub of our beginning.  And so, I say “thank you” to each of you from all of us. 

I want to thank each of you for being here at our reunion.  Your presence has enriched the entire reunion experience for all of us. 

I especially want to thank Roberta Walker Butler for her steadfast leadership over the years in keeping our class together and in organizing and orchestrating our class reunions.  Roberta, we really appreciate you.

I want to thank the other members of the Reunion Committee: 

Diana Holland Faust,
Yvonne Wilson Graham,
Brenda Harte Holt, and
Bert Russ

Thank you for your contributions in making this an outstanding reunion.

Red Rams and Friends, again we welcome you.  We hope that you had a wonderful time at the Seaboard Terminal last night and around the breakfast table this morning, as you had the opportunity to visit with classmates and rekindle old friendships.

A Bag of Tools by R. L. Sharpe

Isn’t it strange
That princes and kings,
And clowns that caper
In sawdust rings,
And common People
Like you and me
Are builders for eternity?

 Each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, A book of rules;
And each must make—
Ere life is flown—
A stumbling block
Or a steppingstone.

 


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This page added 12 August 2005  -  Last updated 09 September 2015