by CAROL McEWEN, for the Sun Gazette
Aah, fall! My favorite season. The days get cooler after a scorching summer, and I love those beautiful leaf colors: candy-apple red and Lucille Ball orange.
My favorite fall memory is one probably unknown to anybody under 60 and possibly forgotten by many of us over 60: the smell of burning leaves. I can’t describe it. As they say, “You had to be there,” and it was wonderful that we were.
Also, at least once each fall, there would be a hayride with a bonfire and weenie roast afterward. That’s where I got my taste for black hotdogs and blacker marshmallows.
In high school, weren’t those fall Friday nights the best? The many home football games were opportunities to “see and be seen,” plus cheer along with the other kids. The cheerleaders wore their letter sweaters, and using pom-poms, led us in the fight song and other rallying cries: “Give me an F! Give me an I!” . . .
But the crowning event of fall was Homecoming, a triple-threat affair. First, we usually got excused from at least one class on Friday afternoon for a pep rally to cheer the team on to victory. The players stood in a semi-circle on the gym floor, wearing their letter jackets, while the coach gave a rousing speech.
Next came the Homecoming Parade, with a float built by each class. I remember our junior class float theme: “Don’t Drag-on, FIGHT!” After many nights of stuffing white paper napkins into chicken wire, we had produced a large dragon. We thought it the cleverest idea we’d ever heard, and it WAS.
No parade was complete without the marching band. My childhood pal Cheryl marched, wearing her snappy majorette uniform and twirling a flag. After the parade her big white boots caused us to ask, “How old are you, Trigger?” And she’d paw the ground with a booted foot, the subject of great hilarity.
Halftime at the football game brought the crowning of the Homecoming Queen surrounded by her court. Escorted on the field by her boyfriend and wearing a ruffled, floor-length gown, she was crowned by the principal. The rest of us girls looked on in envy, wishing we could be that pretty and popular.
After the game came the Homecoming Dance, for those lucky enough to be invited. It caused plenty of angst among the girls, not only about whether we’d be invited, but what we’d WEAR, important issues at the time.
We Old Schoolers, and many like us, learned to enjoy every season!
Reach Carol McEwen at firstname.lastname@example.org.