Sam and Elizabeth
A Great Friendship for Two Wonderful People
When I entered high school in the fall of 1963 I was just a backward kid and high school was a big deal. The campus seemed so large with buildings that had alphabetical names. My home room was in C building and it seemed the distance between the buildings for my next class was always on the other end of the main campus. By the time I hurried the concrete walks and darted into class, I was darn near winded and in a sweat.
That first year saw me taking college prep classes. We didn't have too many options and there was no getting out of Latin I. We had to have a foreign language and Latin and French were the only two offered by our county school system at the time. Our Latin class was overfilled; consequently, two separate classes were created. The teacher was Mrs. Elizabeth Rogers and my class was right after physical education a class taught by her husband, Neil. Mrs Rogers was a matronly lady and very nice to all of us.
I managed to pass that first year of Latin and it was only late in the class did I realize all the English grammar which I had difficulty was basically the same as our Latin. For our final exam in English we had to conjugate the verb to be. I aced that test much to the surprise of my English teacher.
As a sophomore only 13 of us took Latin II. I attempted to change my schedule to drop my Latin class and take Agriculture instead but I was denied. Mrs Rogers wouldn't hear of me dropping her class. She told me,"Out of all my students, you are one I cannot concede.Whether that was a compliment or just an attempt to make me feel better, it worked and I resigned myself to her class. The year went quickly and I learned much which has helped me in my life. Mrs Rogers husband, Neil became a school principal and she continued to teach Latin and U S History until her retirement.
Another individual was a man by the name of Sam. In those days, Sam was the football coach and also taught geography. Sam had gone to Mars Hill College where he played football. A tall man with crew cut blond hair, his presence commanded respect. Sam moved through the school system and worked in Administration until his retirement.
It has been over 40 years now since I met Sam and Elizabeth in my high school. Both are now up in years with Elizabeth being over age 90 now and Sam not far behind. A couple of years ago, I drove Elizabeth at her request through the area of the county where the students such as I came to high school. She told me it had been so long since she had been "down on the river." Our drive took the better part of the morning as we went through ever nook and cranny of Green River Township stopping in at the home of writer Robert Morgan's (Gap Creek, Boone) mother, Fannie whom Elizabeth had long been acquainted but had never visited. I was happy we could share this morning together.
Yesterday while in a shopping mall parking lot I had hurried to my truck with my wife and grandson's trying to beat the shower of rain that had just begun to fall. I buckled our youngest grand son into his car seat and started to the passenger side to buckle in our oldest grand son, when I encountered two folks hurrying along. I looked and couldn't believe my eyes, the two people were Sam and Elizabeth. They looked like a couple of teenagers, smiling from ear to ear. Recognizing them and not sure they would remember me, I introduced myself. Elizabeth commented," I'm filing in for Jenny (not her real name) who was Sam's wife who recently had passed.
Sam laughed and said, "We were just talking about you in Fatz's." The look of surprise on my face must have made Elizabeth feel the need to explain. "Yes.",she said." I was just telling Sam about our drive through the mill village and the area last summer." You could knocked me over with a feather. I can't begin to explain the joy it gave me to see these two former school teachers together, especially, in the twilight years of their life. They both seemed so renewed. Mrs Rogers husband Neil died many years ago and Sam's only within the past couple of years but they have found a friendship to be envied. The smiles and sparkle of their eyes tell a story for "inquiring minds" and those like me, whose imagination often goes awry. I for one am amazed and encouraged and maybe just a little jealous of their enthusiasm of living creating new memories and enjoying one another's company.