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Good memories

Thursday, September 9, 2021
Good memories

It’s homecoming week, and in the community newspaper world, it means I’ve been strolling down my particular memory lane through honest-to-God newspaper clippings and yearbooks.

I went through seven yearbooks for this issue, and as I have the past two years, I check out the Homecoming issue from 50 years ago, just so I can remember more vividly this town that has changed so much.

I’m lucky I have historical records at my fingertips to supplement my memory.

Last week, though, Kevin Hamilton took a picture of a little girl, about six years old, who threw off a shoe while running on to the field with the famous Hawk Hooligans prior to the Iowa Park-Holliday game, and it ran in our paper.

An IPHS cheerleader and another woman were helping her, and the little girl was looking at the cheerleader like she was meeting the queen. And I get it. I identify with it. I love that picture, and lobbied for it to run front page if I remember right, but for strictly selfish reasons. It reminded me of myself at the very same age plus the little girl even had my hair. I think she is going to go very far in life, myself.

But that picture took me back.

Fifty years ago, I was six years old and being the youngest child of the community newspaper owners, I was the proud spectator at every Iowa Park Hawk football game for long past puberty.

Those early years though, Mom let me sit down in front of the cheerleaders because frankly, at that age I wanted to be what every other little girl wanted to be - a funny cheerleader.

Every Friday night, I sat in front of where the cheerleaders hung out and I shero-worshipped them with several other little six year old girls, all of us missing our front teeth and wearing our fake furtrimmed coats.

There was one cheerleader in particular I thought was the most beautiful girl I maybe had ever seen and her name was Beckie Powell. I watched her cheer every Friday night and no, I was not a stalker. She ended up being crowned homecoming queen 50 years ago, I found in the 1971 Homecoming Issue. I didn’t remember that.

What I do remember was toward the end of the season, for some reason she gave me a key chain - a rubber flower very popular in the early 70’s and I’m pretty sure I was looking at her just exactly the same way that little girl was looking at the cheerleader last week.

I felt noticed by someone I admired.

I talked to Beckie for the first time in 50 years a few months ago when her father passed away, I told her that story and finally thanked her. Anything that sticks with you that much for 50 years is either traumatic or joyful, and this was joyful. She didn’t remember it, and that was fine. I have a feeling that’s just the kind of person she is.

I hope I have occasionally made somebody’s day like that, and not even know it. It’s a good goal.

And, I hope the young heroes and sheroes of IPHS know how much they are admired by the little kids who just want to follow in those very cool footsteps.