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Class of ‘58 graduate reflects on Havana High School reunion

By John E. Woodbery, Havana High Class of 1958

What would have become of me had I not lived to see where my pathways led after leaving Havana High School on that fateful day in June 1958?

Twenty-four of us left those hallowed halls having not a realistic clue as to what lay ahead of us — and those wonderful old buildings we all shared are by the passage of time and circumstances no longer with us.

For some, it meant college, and even graduate school, with careers, families and the sharing of our talents in the communities in which we later chose to live.

For those and the others, it led to productive lives of one kind or the other to provide for spouses; raise our replacements for the next generation; and for all the experience of the existential that our varied lives would bring.

For a few, some earlier than others, we had to say goodbye in absentia to those whose expectations were not realized or cut terribly short by the vicissitudes of life’s unanticipated troubles or premature or eventual death.

But for even those, we hold fond memories of the times, joys and struggles we shared.

But for those who remain and are here this night fellowshipping with each other in the nostalgia that the memories of those days together have brought us, we share them in a way that was usually experienced in the best and the worst in the expectation beyond what the actual experience turned out to be.

To the organizers and providers of this platform for the expression of such fond memories shared here tonight, we thank you from the abundance that our hearts are able to speak and trust that what we have gained from having originated here was rather than a disappointment, a pleasurable memory of the seasons and times.

Thinking back on it, we recognize that every time has its place and every place has its time.

The Havana High School Class of 1958 and all those that preceded and followed it were products of and lived in both that time and place.

Without speaking for the rest of you who shared those experiences, I, for one, accept both the time and place as what the fates had in store and am thankful for it.

Join with me fellow reunioners on this April 21, 2018 in the celebration of the life ordained for us by God and what we have experienced in that blessing ever since.

John E. Woodbery’s life story began in Havana in 1940. After high school, he worked in shade tobacco growing before, after marrying a Seattle girl, he and his wife moved to Washington state. He returned to Florida for his law degree from Stetson University in 1974 and practiced law in Tallahassee until 1978. He and his wife presently live in Monroe, Washington and at 77 years of age he has a law practice in civil and criminal litigation. His other endeavor is writing novels of which there are three, all of which are available on Amazon and concern this area to some degree. His second book, “Two Tomb Covers,” tells the story of shade tobacco growing in Gadsden County as well as the area’s civil war history.