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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Granite High School

In this morning's paper there was an article about Granite High School’s 100th, and last, graduation ceremony. The first graduation was in 1909 and the last was held last night, June 5, 2009. The newspaper article brought back a flood of memories for me; memories about high school and memories about my life. I went to Granite, my father went to Granite and my Grandfather went to Granite. My father left high school early for World War II. My older and younger sisters went to nearby Olympus High School but I, went to Granite. Granite Students fought in World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam. Gulf War I and now Gulf War II. The history of the 20th Century was the history of Granite High School.

I graduated 38 years ago. My, it does not seem that long ago. I seems like it was just a few years ago. The memories, the sounds, the images are still vivid in my mind.

I entered Granite as a 15 year old not knowing many people as most of my junior high friends went to Olympus High School. I went to Granite after being recruited by the head basketball coach. After I agreed to go to Granite but before sophomore year started, he took a job elsewhere. So here I was at a huge school, with a big student body, not knowing many people and the primary reason for me going to Granite was gone with the coach.

When I started, I was nervous as to how I would fit in and wondered if I would be able to find my classes on a campus with several different buildings each two to four stories high; more like a college campus than a tradition high school campus. The S building, the M building, the L Building, the Auditorium, the Gym, the Craft House and one or two others. I had classes in each building. Back then, there were three different gyms in two different buildings.

In my sophomore year I learned not to step on the beautiful Granite High School Seal which was made of colored tiles and located on the floor in the middle of the main hall of the S Building. Even the school’s bad boys avoided stepping on the Seal; allegedly, the punishment for doing so, was having to scrub the Seal with a tooth brush. I never saw anyone scrubbing the seal, but in my three years of high school I never saw anyone stepping on this symbol.

Granite is where I learned teamwork with my football and basketball teammates. I learned how to win and how to lose. Through my participation in student government, Granite is where I learned about leadership, responsibility, dealing with others, and treating others with respect and as equals. Through my participation in choir I learned I would not be asked to sing any solo’s in life.

I learned to drive a car at Granite. I bought my first and second cars while I attended high school. I loved my cars, especially my second car, a “throwup green” Dodge Challenger with a raised hood, big tires, and a Hurst four speed transmission. I remember the day I installed my first eight track cassette player in this chariot. After installation, the first tape I played was a Credence Clearwater Revival album. Gas was 29 cents a gallon. My car was not just transportation, it made me an adult, it gave me freedom, and it provided me with entertainment. If I had nothing to do, I went for ride. In November of 1970, I gave Utah Symphony Director Maurice Abravanel, a ride home in my throwup green Challenger after a Veterans Day concert rehearsal of combined high school choirs and the Utah Symphony. How exciting for me to take this world famous conductor home in my car.

The greatest high school athlete I ever saw went to Granite. Golden Richards was my friend and my hero. I was about 13 when I first met Golden and he always treated me with kindness. He was the star in football, basketball, and track. He played tennis. I was a sophomore when he was a senior but I used to watch him play when I was still in junior high school. Years later I watched in person as Golden played wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys in a Super Bowl in New Orleans.

I made friends at Granite whom I thought would always be my dearest friends, but through the years they slipped away to build their own lives, careers and families. I have lost track of most of them but they are still part of the fabric of my life.

My high school girlfriend was a Granite High Cheerleader for three years. She became my first wife, the mother of my son and to this day, my cherished friend.

I left Granite as an 18 year old with a plan to be a lawyer, worrying about college and my lottery draft number. This was 1971, the Vietnam War was still being fought and a low lottery number meant I would be drafted into a war that I opposed. As it turned out, my lottery number was high, I attended college and law school, and I have practiced law for 32 years. The path of my life, and what I have become, was in large part set in motion at Granite High School.

Demographics change, buildings become worn out and schools close. We grow older and life events hectically move us from matter to matter. But when I close my eyes and remember, I can still feel the rush of students in the halls between classes, I can see the football stands filled with fans for night games and I can hear the "Song of the G",

“When sights and sounds of the campus
Fade in the long busy years,
Yet will return in our memories
Echoes of old songs and cheers.
You of the field, track and diamond,
Fighters for clean victory,
You who love the fair, square sport,
You'll hear the song of the "G"
Go it, Granite! Go it, Granite!
Hear the battle cry;
Go it, Granite! Go it, Granite!
Yours 'till we die.
She will remember, you'll not forget her.
Though you are still far away.
She is calling, calling to you ever.
Honor the grand old "G."

As for me I will indeed remember.

5 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the memories of Granite. I, too, have been reading of the closure. It made me feel very sad. Our class is having it's 40th reunion this summer, although I'll not be there. I'll always honor the grand old "G". Debbie

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Bud, your comments of Granite brought back lots of memories for me. Hope you will be there on June 4th for the Reunion. I didn't know you were a new guy on the block when you started at Granite. Take care, Claudia Jardine Bridge

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Bud this was a fabulous essay. Where was it when we needed it for the Harvest Magazine. I've been looking for you and we are looking forward to seeing you at the reunion in June. Please plan to come. Lorrie Belcher
    PS I'm jealous about Maurice, what a special experience.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bud, great to hear from the President himself.
    Great essay. Thanks for the memories of Granite.
    I've been pass her a few times and she's looking
    good for her age. I wish I could say the same for
    me. Anyway, hope to see you June 4th for the 40th. My draft number was 7. And that's always
    been my lucky number. It's great to hear from
    dear friends.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Colleen Berrett LuckJune 19, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    I was directed to your blog through the Granite website, and I'm glad I came! Your pictures are beautiful, and your writing brings back many memories of Granite. You were looked up to at Granite as a studentbody officer and all around great guy, and we certainly pegged you right! Congratulations on obtaining your dreams! I think we've all done a good job creating our lives, even though we look lots older! Our souls twinkled through our eyes and that's what counts!

    ReplyDelete