In the past few days, I have seen six classmates I graduated with in 1965 from Ludowici High School. It always is good to see old friends and classmates and catch up on each other’s lives.
Just Tuesday, I saw Pat Downs at Walmart in Hinesville. I used to see her often when she worked in the Liberty County Tax Assessor’s Office and I worked across the park in city hall. We’re both retired now. We had a good chat in the few minutes each of us had to spare. Doesn’t it seem that we are always in a hurry?
On my way home to Glennville, I thought about Pat. We started school together in the first grade and continued until graduation. Pat was a quiet person and still is.
She was the one who you wanted to be on your team if you needed to get something accomplished. I remember her working in the concession stand at the basketball games almost every time we had a home game when she was a senior. She always helped construct and decorate the class floats for the homecoming parades. If there was work to be done, Pat always was willing to do more than her part. She also was an honor roll student.
Her mother was a very nice lady who baked goodies for class parties in grammar school. She was a widow and had to work hard to take care of her children. She worked in one of the Ludowici grocery stores that my parents shopped at for many years and was always very pleasant to all the customers.
But the thing that always comes to mind when I think of Pat took place in the winter after Christmas when we were in the fifth grade. Pat brought two navy blue jackets to school. Her mother told her to give them to me and my younger sister, who was the same age as Pat’s younger sister. The jackets were thickly lined and quilted inside. They zipped up and had a buckle, also. The jacket fit me perfectly. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the coats. The girls had received new coats for Christmas and wanted to share their old ones with someone who needed them. We wore those jackets for at least two years, and then passed them on down to our two younger sisters.
I have had many jackets and coats since then, but I never have had one that I liked, appreciated and needed more than the little navy jacket that Pat gave me. It was the best and warmest coat I had ever owned.
She may not even remember the jacket, but I’ll bet that gift was appreciated more than any gift she has ever given to anyone since. Thanks again, Pat, for helping keep two little girls warm in the bitter winter of 1958.