They tell me the old gym is
gone. Moss alumni who graduated since the mid fifties will not understand
how some of us felt about that old rock Gymnasium. A sadness came over me
when I first read that they had demolished that old building and it has
not left me since. It is not unlike what people feel upon learning that a
dear friend or relative has passed on. Just seeing it from time to time or
being in it occasionally is not like "growing up" inside it or having some
of life's more important experiences occurring there.
I doubt the Moss campus has ever had a class room more
important to our education and personal development than was this lovable
and beautiful old pile of stone. Some of the things that happened to us
there were vitally important to the process of growing and maturing. Some
were just plain fun.
Some of the most fun times of my life were playing
basketball there. Joe Evans was our coach one year and he taught us to
behave like men. He would bench you immediately if you showed a temper or
complained about a referee's call. He taught us to welcome competing
players from Fairview, Spaulding, Atwood, Gerty, Stuart and other schools.
It was there that we learned to win with grace and lose with dignity. We
learned team work and to depend upon the other players to execute our
plan. It was a lot like life was to become for us.
Even more important were the times when, as first
graders, we stood before a crowd for the first time and recited a few
lines. With a hundred pairs of eyes staring at us, our voices high pitched
and our minds gone into shock, we did what we would have to do time and
again for the rest of our lives. We would stand and deliver. The second
time was easier, and the tenth time easier still yet. This, as much as
anything else we did, was an important part of preparing for life as an
All of the school programs, class plays, the literary
and fine arts meets, the music programs, solos, quartets, and choirs were
a preparation for life. It was the kind of preparation that enabled Jack
Woods to become an attorney, Ethyl Conley to become a teacher, Robert
Loftis to become a merchant and Jerry Summy to become a minister. Hundreds
of other success stories could be told. And they all started there inside
those old stone walls. It was an important preparation for what each of us
was to become. That is why that old building seems a little like home to
many of us. The demolition will hurt for a while because a part of us
still resides there. Our hearts and memories are there.
A few years ago, Sylvia and I went by Moss to see it
one more time. Not a soul was there in any of the buildings, but the old
gym was unlocked. We went inside. There was a basketball there on the
floor. The stage that had once been on the east side of the gym, was now
on the south end. The old coal stove by the front door was gone. Most of
the rest of the old place was the same. We picked up the ball and started
playing basketball. We talked about the things we had done in this
building, the games, one and three act plays and other programs. An hour
and a half later, we were still there, two sixty year old people, shooting
baskets and reliving the past. It was fun.
Being old probably has something to do with the sadness
we feel with the passing of this old gym. Memories become more important,
our past more real. We identify with things of our past that are as old as
we are, things that are an important part of our memories.
To those of you who are younger, I hope you can learn to care deeply about
many things, to respect and honor people and, yes, even things like old
buildings that are an important part of your past.
Sometimes. . . it's ok to feel sad.
Clayton Adair, Class of 1954 (Clayton attended Moss 1942-53 and
graduated from Holdenville - 1954)