HIGH SCHOOL LETTER JACKETS
Isn’t it interesting what we are sometimes impressed with?
My 50th high school reunion was in May and over the past few months I have been in contact with former various classmates now scattered throughout the U.S. There were twenty-seven of us, and of that number, I think twenty-one of us were in school together all twelve grades.
I received an email from one of my classmates that I have not seen since graduating in 1960. She mentioned a guy she had a date with and commented that for the life of her, she could not figure out why she went out with him. Then she said something that struck a chord with me, and if you were in school in the late 50s’, her statement made perfect sense. “I guess I went out with him because I was impressed with his car and he had a letter jacket.” Excellent explanation; no further information needed.
Letter jackets and class rings were two big items during those high school years. Letter jackets were often presented at an athletic banquet or at an all school assembly. I remember receiving mine as if it was yesterday. That letter jacket meant more to me at that time in my life than if I was honored to receive a green jacket in the Butler Cabin at Augusta. Anything Billy Payne, the Master’s Chairman, might have done would not have matched the feeling I had upon receiving my high school athletic letter jacket. To a teenage boy his letter jacket was definitely “an instrument of influence.” I might add that generally you didn’t wear your jacket more than a day or so, as it would probably be worn by some pretty little cheerleader or one’s girl friend.
Sadly, like some other things from that time period that jacket lost its staying power, and certainly its power and influence would be dated. Today I wonder how many even know where their jacket is; maybe hanging in the back of one’s closet or in a box stuck in the attic, if kept at all.
Sometime back my good friend and classmate, Mike Brinkman, penned a little ode about letter jackets.
Years ago high school girls cared for wearing
A much too large jacket if bearing
Her guy’s high school letter
It made her feel better
But since “Women’s Lib” few are caring
January 3, 2011