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Slidell High School
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So strange to look back on that senior portrait and not even hardly remember what I was thinking back then. I do remember that I was extremely proud of our class. I knew that we were going to go out and change the world. And we did. And all that hair! Geez.
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The class of ’67 financed putting up our official SHS Billboard at the front of our campus. When my senior year rolled around in 1969, Slidell High School was celebrating its 60th anniversary, so we proudly made the announcement on our new school billboard. Now Slidell High School has celebrated its centennial anniversary! Time really does just fly by.
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This is a picture of the Key Club officers that was made for our SAGA 1969 Yearbook. I am on the far right. For the life of me, however, I don’t have a clue why I had such a stern look on my face. I cannot remember if I was just trying to look “serious,” or if I actually was mad, or what.
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We celebrated our 50 year reunion in May 2019, just a year before COVID shut down the country. I produced a presentation for the event that friends can peruse to enjoy old SHS memories and our class staying in touch over the years. PDF available here.
University of Southern Mississippi
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I went off to college thinking I was going to be an oceanographer or nuclear physicist. I had had calculus already in high school, so I went into an advanced physics class. By the time of my senior year, I already had taken so many math classes that I was advised that if I took a few more, I could double-major in both physics and math, so I did. Not until later in that senior year did I respond to the call to full-time ministry.
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I knew the fraternity lifestyle, and was not going that route for college. Instead, I was active in the Baptist Campus Ministry program. Back in those days, that was the BSU (Baptist Student Union). Those were the days of bell-bottom pants, wide, gaudy ties, and dramatic Christian musicals, such as “Tell It Like It Is” and “Natural High.” I also was very active in the college department at Main Street Baptist Church.
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Jean was smart but full of common sense. She was real but never harsh. She was sweet but no pushover. She was spiritual but not feigned. She could converse insightfully about anything and everything. She was incredible. She was born almost nine months to the day after I was born, as if after I had been born, God had said, “Now, let us make this boy’s life mate,” and Jean was conceived.
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary
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I went straight from college graduation in May to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in August. I helped put myself through college and seminary by working with a private painting contractor in the summer months and during school breaks. My boss, William, taught me the painting trade, and along the way I discovered a love for fine furniture and refinishing fine woods. I still today cannot go through an upscale furniture store without long pauses to admire the woods and artwork of the inlay and finishes.
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When I started seminary in 1973, US troops withdrew from Vietnam to end that terrible war, Watergate Hearings began in congress, the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade, Egypt and Syria attacked Israel in the Yom Kippur War, Secretariat was the first winner of the Triple Crown in 25 years, Skylab was launched as the United States’ first space station, the Sears Tower opened in Chicago, “The Exorcist” and “Deliverance” were scaring movie-goers, Elton John was crooning “Crocodile Rock,” families were watching weekly TV episodes of “The Waltons,” the barcode was invented, the average cost of a new home was $32,500, and gas was $0.40/gallon.
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When I graduated with my PhD in 1981, NASA launched the first flight of the space shuttle Columbia, MS-DOS was released by Microsoft, IBM sold the first Personal Computer, Lady Diana Spencer married Charles, Prince of Wales, Ronald Reagan became president, the wreck of the Titanic was found, the first American test-tube baby was born, scientists identified the Aids virus, the term “Internet” was first mentioned, movie goers were being entertained by “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Chariots of Fire,” Olivia Newton-John was getting “Physical,” the average cost of a new home was $78,200, and gas was $1.25/gallon. I sent out 60 resumes for teaching positions and got not one response. I finally took a position as Baptist Campus minister at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. By a strange sequence of events that became a sermon I later preached in seminary chapel as a professor (“Keep Yourselves from Idols”). I finally wound up teaching as a professor back at my seminary alma mater seven years later.
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