Richie and Me, Part 9
BY CARTER E. ANTHONY
Richie and I were good students. He and I were about the same grade-wise and we had a lot of classes together. Unfortunately, we didn’t always try our hardest.
We made our best grades through the ninth grade and then we got our drivers’ licenses. I suspect Mrs. Hartley warned Richie about trouble in school because she would be one of the first to hear about it.
I tried not to get into trouble because I knew I would get “that look” from my dad. We surely had our times in school but we were not troublemakers.
In fact, there were few troublemakers in Greenville High School (GHS). We had grown up under the roofs of parents who had endured the Depression and whose dads had served in World War II.
There were few excesses in our lives. Almost all of us had after school jobs, Saturday or all-weekend jobs to make our own spending money. Few of us had any excess time to get into trouble and we were by and large happy kids.
In our senior year of 1963, we were offered the opportunity to go on a student exchange trip to Port Washington, Wis.
Our great principal, Mr. Guy Walton, our classmate Linda Walton’s dad, learned about high school exchange programs across the United States and with the cooperation of the senior teachers made us a date with Port Washington.
Mrs. Margaret Walburn, our social studies/economics teacher and one of our all-time favorite and best teachers, volunteered to be our chaperone. We were to go in March and the Port Washington seniors were to come to Greenville in April.
While it was a great experience for us, it’s obvious the Port Washington seniors got the better deal. April in Alabama, springtime and even a trip to the beach!
Port Washington is 50 miles north of Milwaukee on Lake Michigan which was frozen over as far as we could see in March. It is an old German settlement. We looked forward to learning their German culture and eating their German food.
Twenty-six GHS seniors left on the train one Friday afternoon bound for Chicago with a change to the train for Milwaukee where a bus waited to take them to Port Washington. They saw snow out of the train’s windows about half way to Chicago and it only got deeper farther north.
On Saturday afternoon, Ronnie Owen, Eddie Newton, Dave Whetstone and I boarded the train bound for Port Washington. Greenville had been in the state basketball tournament Friday afternoon and we couldn’t go with the rest of the class.
Unfortunately, we lost the game but we were on our way the next day. Coach Allen laughingly suggested we might not have tried our hardest but for Eddie, Dave and me, it would have only affected our checking out the other team’s cheerleaders.
It was the first time we had been on a train, especially overnight, and it was a great trip for just the four of us.
During the night the train passed over several rivers. After the third time, Eddie told us we had just passed over the Ohio River. Ronnie said, “Newton that’s the third time you have told us and there’s only one Ohio River. Go to sleep.”
Eddie was really excited about the trip. We had to change trains in Chicago and had a little time before the next one, so we took a little walk into the city.
We were almost blown off of one of the bridges by the 40 miles per hour Chicago wind. Welcome to Chicago!
On the way to Milwaukee our train passed the Great Lakes Naval Training Center which was covered in snow. Bennett McBride, who had graduated from GHS several years before us went directly into the Navy and was sent to Great Lakes.
My first thought was sympathy for Bennett and my second thought was, “I don’t want to go there.”
From Great Lakes, Bennett was assigned to a crew building a nuclear submarine upon which he served his country admirably and got to see some of the world.
Bennett picked a great way to learn a trade at someone else’s expense. Upon discharge, I believe Bennett was a professional electrician.
Next, more about Port Washington.
Loved reading about your class adventures.
Thanks Trelle. These little stories about a special friendship have been fun to write.