In looking forward to 2005, I instinctively reflect on my years growing up in Glenville. Recently, as President of the Glenville High School Alumni Association, I've given more thought to those years and specifically my years at Glenville High School. The past three years that I've attended our reunion have added to my thoughts of years ago and growing up in Glenville. Many things I don't recall but I do recall the flavor of the years. It was sweet. It was simple. It was innocent. It was exciting. It was also boring at times. But it was all part of growing up in small town America, small town West Virginia, the small town of Glenville.
In the last few years, I have spoken with many former residents of Glenville and former students of Glenville High School. The majority of the remembrances about Glenville are happy and pleasant. But not all of them. From what I gather in talking with others, it seems that I missed some of what was going on in Glenville slightly beneath the surface of everyday life. For example, one alumnus told me that the thought of returning to Glenville was too painful, relating a little about their dark experiences involved in growing up in Glenville. I went to school with this student and was unaware of any such unhappiness and pain in school or in their personal life. Others have spoken to me about various occurrences over the years in Glenville that were kept quiet, all of which I was unaware of. When I said growing up in Glenville was sweet, simple, innocent, exciting and boring, maybe I was putting the most favorable light on my recollections. Maybe it wasn't all of that. I do tend to remember the good and forget the not-so-pleasant things. I believe it is a defense mechanism that many of us use to one extent or the other in dealing with experiences we'd like to forget. It might also be the acceptance of the premise that some things are best forgotten leaving only the lessons learned remembered.
In the past three years I've observed that many GHS alumni presently living in Glenville and in the surrounding areas have chosen not to attend the reunion. In contrast, I've observed that many former GHS alumni who plan far in advance for the reunion, travel many hundreds of miles to be in attendance each year. I've also heard many reunion attendees bemoan the absence of our local alumni, unable to understand their reluctance to travel a few miles to participate in the camaraderie and fellowship at the reunion dinner.
There are many reasons that human beings seek association and fellowship. Our association stirs and refreshes the many good selective memories of growing up in Glenville and of attending the Glenville schools. I think we would all like to maintain and renew friendships, make new ones and reminisce about "the good old days," selectively remembering and emphasizing the good and pleasant memories of the past, and enjoying the moment. This is what I would like for everyone to get from attending the annual Glenville High School Alumni events. I will do my part in contacting and encouraging our local alumni to join us. The active alumni association members will also continue to reach out and encourage all our alumni and friends to attend the annual reunions and will respect their decision if they choose not to do so.
Our association is also involved in assisting high school seniors in their efforts to continue their education. The Glenville High School Alumni Association's scholarship efforts are commendable! Our association is interested in providing educational assistance to help our young men and women achieve their potential.
Since I am responsible for maintaining the Glenville High School Alumni website I would like to personally encourage everyone to visit the site. I would also solicit articles, stories, pictures and other recollections that we can put on the site for the enjoyment of all alumni. Don't forget to let all your alumni friends know about our website and give them the address so they too can enjoy it. Just in case you would like to forward this letter to them, I will include the website address of www.glenvillehighschool.com .
Finally, I wish the very best to you and your families in the year ahead. Your ideas and suggestions are very important to us and we actively encourage your input. Thank you for supporting the Glenville High School Alumni Association and for attending the reunions. The reunion dinner will be held this year at the Lockard/Waco Farm on Alice Road. Click on the Lockard Farm for directions, a map, and photos. You will be notified by a mailing later this spring of all the reunion details. I look forward to hearing from all of you and hope to see many of you at our reunion activities on June 24-25, 2005!
John D. Gainer '68