Revisiting Warren Harding High School

By Don Browne, Harding Class of 1962


The following is a bitter-sweet remembrance of high school in the late fifties:

Whenever I see a rerun of the movie "Peggy Sue Got Married" (1986), starring Kathleen Turner and Nicolas Cage, I immediately think fondly of my high school days.

The premise of Francis Ford Coppola's picture was; What would you do if you could return to the past and relive your high school experience with the twenty or so years of "life knowledge" that you had accumulated after graduation?  What would you do differently?

But the premise that a thirty-seven year old woman could blend in with seventeen year old high school students was preposterous......right?

Thinking back to my high school days, there were always students that "looked" older than their chronological years.  They looked "larger-than-life" in certain ways...and larger in they usually excelled in sports too.

There were also students who looked "younger" than their chronological years. I was one.

The experience of looking thirteen years old when you were a high school senior was quite appalling, and I don't wish this experience on anyone.

The only advantage to looking five years younger was that you could see movies for "children's admission" long after your contemporaries were paying "adult admission".

But as one got older, this "time-warp" between perceived age and real age generally carried throughout your aging process. So it became a curious advantage in social settings.

Imagine...being perceived as ten or fifteen years younger than your "real" age!

On the other hand, the students who "looked" older than their years may have initially had an advantage when purchasing liquor or cigarettes, but their "older look" continued during the real aging process.

At a recent high school reunion, I met several people who were "older looking" as high school students, and they now looked ten to fifteen years older than their chronological years.

The experience was quite shocking.

So the moral of this story is: Play the hand you are dealt 'cause it always evens-out in the end.


From the memory of Don Browne (Harding Class of '62)

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