The Boys Are Back

Small Town, Big Talents

By Pat Walch

Growing up in a small town like Meridian in the 1950s was probably the best start anyone could have in life: the perfect atmosphere to create memories and friends that would last a lifetime. But that was what a small town was about. We knew everybody, every kid in school—and everybody’s parents knew ours. Meridian’s population in 1950 was barely more than two thousand, and its city limits extended about a mile. If you crossed Cherry Lane on the north side or Franklin Road to the south, you were in the “country.” The grade school and high school were smack in the middle of that mile, a couple of blocks apart. As “city” kids, we walked to school and roamed that whole mile in all directions. Many of us attended all twelve grades together.

My best high school memories are from art class when I was a freshman in 1956-‘57 at Meridian High. The studio was isolated above the gymnasium entrance, and it seems to me that the familiar phrase, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” might easily have been coined almost sixty years ago in that classroom. Our teacher, Vi Leighton, recognized her students’ need to develop their own talents rather than conforming to her standards or to those of our peers. Made up of a mixture of grades nine to twelve, we were freelancers, doing our own thing, which might range from cartoons to landscape oils to water colors. There were no real assignments, and no segregation: freshmen sat next to seniors, beginners beside experts. We helped and encouraged each other, played pranks on the teacher and students alike, slipped out to the dark stairway to sneak an occasional kiss. Our teacher took it all in stride and most of the time got even with those she knew deserved it. These days, I love being able to change the color of things with a swish of the cursor at my computer, but it definitely lacks the fun and motivation of working alongside talented upper classmen like Theodore J. “Ted” Smith, J. L. “Jerry” Snodgrass, and William “Bill” Rockhold.

This content is available for purchase. Please select from available options.
Register & Purchase  Purchase Only

 

4 Responses to The Boys Are Back

  1. Margie Brunn - Reply

    November 6, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    I really enjoyed reading your article, Pat. Especially touched to see Daddy’s name mentioned. I just called & ordered a copy of the magazine. It totally took me down memory lane. Thank you. 🙂

  2. Darwin Berheim - Reply

    November 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    Ted sent me the article really enjoyed brought back a lot of memories of Dairy Bar we spent a lot of time their.

  3. Saundra Boice Bennett - Reply

    November 6, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Oh the mories this stirred up. Meridian on the 50’s was great. I remember the Volunteer Firemrn racing for the firehose when the whistle blew at the creamery. First one there got to drive. With my dad’s drugstore being in the heart of Meridian there was lots to see. Snake dances pep rallies, trips to Clydrs was almost mandatory!! & no day was complete with out a trip to Olive’s cafe & the Dairy Bar. Life was good. I have such good memories of the classmates & the halls of MHS!!!

  4. M Terry McMorrow - Reply

    November 6, 2017 at 3:30 pm

    Loved Meridian in those days. Graduated in 1956

Leave a Comment