PARIS- I take special delight wearing my cowboy boots from Paris (Texas) to Paris (France). Did you know there is a Woodrow Wilson Avenue/Rue just at the Place d’ Alma, under which Princess Diana died?

The celebration of the end of the century, or fin de siecle, and/or the millennium is in full swing. A count-down clock is on La tour Effiel (the tower). C’est magnifique!

I learned a little French when I took first year Spanish from Paul Allen, who sometimes forgot which class he was teaching (he taught both). And I’m a bit jealous of the current Wildcats, for whom a European tour is no big deal. Spanish teacher Betty Parrett and French teacher Monty Holoman alternate taking groups. As for those of my era, we’ll always have San Antonio.

As the zeros roll onto the clock of time at the end of this month — for us baby boomers make that an atomic clock — you and I will be thinking about many things.  It’s easier in the city of light where the cumulative work of countless generations is manifest. As I look at the tower, built in 1888, three years after my paternal grandparents were born, I think about those who are no longer with us. I’m grateful to have known and loved someone who came from the 1800s. My maternal grandparents were both born in 1898. And they all lived in Paris, Texas.

The Aggies call it muster, where they recall the names of those who have gone. We at Woodrow, having filled 70 years of this century with memories, have also lost many we have loved and cherished. Just last year I had mentioned Junie (Jessie Bond ) Richardson ’44, whose effusive affection for Woodrow extended to her car bumper, where she had pasted a “WOODROW: enough said” sticker. When we were working on the 70th celebration someone mentioned, “Junie would have loved this.” That is when I learned that she had passed shortly after I talked to her. In my notes I see she had said, “It’s scary how many of my class are going”

Another shock was when we lost Dr. Lance Bircher ’83, last summer. The star of “Where’s Charlie,” that year’s musical, and a football player, too. He was married to Rynelle Harrington, who was attending Woodrow when I lived a couple of doors down on Westlake. He is truly missed by many. The huge crowd of Wildcats overwhelmed the funeral home. I had never seen anything like it.

When that clock strikes midnight, I hope our reflections will turn to the future, but our memories remain: remember the Woodrow credo, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; out of it are the issues of life.” Timeless and timely advice for the new century and millennium.

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