Homecoming brings back memories

Published 3:50 pm Monday, October 10, 2005

By By Janet Little Cooper
Homecoming means to return to one's home.
The fall month of October is full of homecomings in both churches and schools. Being a retired preachers kid, I have been to my share of church homecomings. I always loved the excitement associated with homecoming at our church. I especially love going to homecomings at churches my father pastored in my youth. I am able for one day at least to return home.
The spirit is so sweet and enjoyable at homecoming. Rushes of memorable moments flood your mind and heart at homecoming. Old and new faces alike come together to rekindle old memories and share new beginnings. And as any good Southern Baptist knows, the food is always in plenty and taste great! My dad gets some of the best pictures from homecoming. It is the perfect time to get a shot of everyone and their mama, literally! One dear friend always stood outside the front door of our church and videoed everyone as they left the building.
Homecomings at school were fun as well. I was in the homecoming court in the day where the girls wore Sunday dresses and not formal gowns. We saved the gowns for prom! The other day, while waiting to do an interview, I watched high school girls shopping for formal gowns. In my ignorance, I asked them if it was already time for prom! Imagine my shock when they said, "No, homecoming." My how times have changed and I'm only 37 – I think!
Homecoming week was always full of anticipation as classmates worked together to make banners for the big game and decorate for the dance. The dress up days allowed us to go crazy for a short time while showing our school spirit and pride.
Schools today do more for homecoming than we did in the 80's. We never had a parade or made homecoming floats to be displayed at the game. I've heard many stories from students who participate in their class float. Wow, the memories they will hold! Homecoming at schools has grown with the years. One local school involved the entire high school unit by including them all in a homecoming competition. The juniors and seniors competed with each other to see who could collect the most firewood for a school-wide bonfire. Then the freshmen and sophomores competed to see who could move all their wood onto the bonfire first. More memories – the things that make homecomings special. Those students will no doubt return 20 years later and stand with a smile as they watch the festivities, remembering when they were there 20 years earlier.
Homecoming holds yet another tradition for students today that didn't happen in my day – rolling! Or in other words, the process of rolling entire toilet paper rolls through people's trees, shrubs, power lines, porches, swings and vehicles. Actual school campuses even fall prey to homecoming week rolling be it at the hands of its own students or those of a rival school. I have to admit that I actually drove the get-away car for a group of kids last weekend on a mission of rolling peers homes. after Northview's homecoming game. I only drove because my partners in crime were too young to drive. My 13-year-old and his fellow football teammates tend to be very persuasive. Just in case you live in Florida and your house was rolled on the night of Northview's homecoming, don't blame me right away. You would not believe the number of vehicles I passed that were up to the same thing! But, if your yard was rolled and if you know my son Austin and his teammates, Blake, Taurus and Kadaris chances are good that it was I! For future reference if you ever find yourself in that situation, be sure to use two-ply Charmin. It works the best. The cheap stuff doesn't hold up as well under the night air!
My son will play his first homecoming football game next week. Of course, only being in middle school, it will probably not mean much to him. It will be just another game for now, but hopefully, in years to come, he will have the opportunity to return to his middle school for another homecoming game. At that point, he will remember his first homecoming and the feeling of pride he felt when he walked out on the field in his uniform. And for a moment he will be able to return home as well.
Janet Little Cooper is lifestyles reporter for the Atmore Advance. Her column appears weekly.

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