BPI Class of 1962 50th Reunion

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Hi Guys,

It is truly interesting what a journey of 50 years lets you witness. I find that many memories are foggy clouds while some others are as vivid as if they happened yesterday. I would like to review with you the ones I remember from Poly. Oh, and by the way, my name is spelled wrong in the yearbook.

small_Ring.jpgThe first day we attended Poly, we had an assembly and at that time the principal said, "You picked Poly, we did not pick you. So this is how it is gonna be."  He then listed the rule set.

My mother saved all my report cards so that is how I have them. I was both blessed and cursed. I had enough natural smarts to get Bs and Cs at Poly without working, but I did not posses the work ethic to get As. Consequently, all my best intentions of completing the "A" course fell by the way side and I dropped back to the "B" course. In reflection, it is interesting the positive and negative connotations those courses of study had. The "B" course was still harder than academic pursuits at other high schools in Baltimore. The result of the change of courses was that I had to take some of the same classes twice. This resulted in my one unique academic achievement at Poly, aside from graduating: a 100 on the Plain Geometry exam. I remember being told no one gets a 100 on a Poly exam, although I bet that a number of individuals in the "A" course probably did. But lazy people like me, no.

One of the few things that survived all these years is a class schedule from N9. I had forgotten that we had instructors with no room of their own; they were floaters. Our yearbook has a memorial to Mr. John, who taught algebra and logic. He also tried to teach us to think, a significant task for boys at this age. I can still remember him saying, "Do not buy the gold-plated ink well thinking it is solid gold." Think through things; don't be conned.

At Poly, we got to spend a whole semester with Mr. Globe Valve. We got to know the most intimate details about how he was constructed and how he worked. In fact, mechanical drawing was a regular part of our academic life. Part of that experience is a phrase that has always bounced back and forth in my head, "Machines print--people letter."

During my time at Poly, I was very conscientious about eating lunch every day. I remember that one of the joys of that lunch was sticky rolls. I can still visualize the cafeteria personnel bringing out the large aluminum trays with the freshly baked rolls. One wanted to get there early to select the best of the lot. I also remember that the dietitian became concerned that the nutrition of her charges was being compromised by these rolls. She stopped making them and the sales of the cafeteria suffered so badly she had to bring them back. I am sure that during that time they were not offered the food truck out back did just fine.

It is time for me to clear my soul. In one of my sections there was a natural cut-up by the name of Willing. He was always getting into mischief. That semester was during a presidential election, Kennedy if I remember correctly. You may also remember that the ceilings in our classrooms were about 50' high (that may be an exaggeration but they were high). I had a bright idea. I took a bumper sticker, removed the adhesive protective layer, balanced it on a window stick, and stuck it to the ceiling.

I believe it was a math class and when the instructor came in and began teaching he paused for reflection and looked up to see the sticker on the ceiling. He shouted "Willing!" and accused him of doing the deed. I never owned up to it. Sorry Bill.

Do you remember how the "Big Man On Campus" wore a 20-inch slide rule at his side? No 10-inch rule for him. What's a slide rule?

All these years, I did keep some of the projects I made in pattern shop. I read a couple of years ago that the pattern shop had been ended at Poly and it gave me cause for a little sorrow. In the great philosophy of "All things come to an end", I can understand it even though it is an unhappy event. It reminds me of the things we did that advancements in technology have ended a need for. Are the drafting tables still there? How many times did the property around Poly get surveyed? Is anybody still running coal-fired steam engines?

Additionally, can you imagine any high school having the shops we had? No little furnaces to heat steel hexagonal rods red hot and make chisels, no crucibles to pour molten aluminum from, no machine shops with lathes you can get your tie caught in. It is a different world now.

P.S. It was disappointing to discover at the reunion that Bill Willing was among the class mates who passed away.