Every year I host the “Class Reunion of 1930-1938” at The Castle, and open the doors to everyone who might have walked the halls with my Father, Barker “Noble” Ledson. Dad was born on July 15, 1916 and passed away in 2004. We always try and do these reunions as close to his birthday as we can.
The group is getting smaller as each year goes on, as you can imagine. It always brings tears to my eyes as I look out over the crowd, seeing fewer of the people who helped develop the person I became. It was not just my father, but that whole era of people and their philosophy on life that influenced me.
This year Al Sloat, one of my dad’s best friends and also one of my best friends, was no longer at the party. I got to spend a lot of time with Al over the years, so it was a hard loss. Another dear friend of my father’s, Stanley Denner, was not able to attend the event so I went and saw him at his house. We reminisced over old times – when I used to bale hay on his ranch and had a childhood crush on his daughter. It is men like these two that made this country the awesome place it has been.
Every year another piece of me is gone.
I have to say that those men and women were the luckiest people that ever lived on this planet, because I believe those years were some of the best for the United States of America. It was just a different time, from the upbringing of children to the real common sense issues and the tightness of families. The fishing, the hunting, the small town atmosphere. That feeling of going next door and helping your neighbor and not charging them a dime. Everybody being there for each other, counting on each other. And I was fortunate enough to be raised in that world.
So I’ll keep things positive and will continue to hold the reunions, even if it gets down to just me and one other person sitting down over dinner, reminiscing about the good old days. And I’ll know that all the great men and women who used to walk the halls of Santa Rosa High School will be looking down at us, smiling.