Dear EHS friends,
I thought I was going to see you at the reunion next month, but my plans have changed, partly due to the fact that my house sold faster than I expected, and I’m still in the moving mode, and partly due to some family doings later in October, for which I’ll need to be away, and I can’t do both. It sounds like the committee has done a great job to make it a fun reunion.
I have just now gotten around to reading some of your biographies. It is neat to find out “the rest of the story” of people we knew “back when”. I remember one of our first reunions, when several of our teachers attended, and they told me they had always thought of our class as very special out of all they had taught. As a teacher, I now know what an accolade that was. When I came to Emerson Jr. High in 1953, I had already attended nine schools, some of them in Enid, and some in schools in different OK towns, and in California. It was a pleasure and relief to get to stay in Enid for 31/2 years. What a wonderful time that was! I loved high school! Then my father got transferred by Champlin Oil to Chickasha, where I attended Okla. College for Women my freshman year. I dropped out for a year and a half and worked in Enid at Security Nat. Bank, where I learned I hate office machines and need to avoid them if at all possible. (The only subject in which I “earned” an F in was high school typing! My father said it was because I was into too many extra curricular activities. Go figure.) I struggle at the computer to this day, but it is worth the struggle. Grow or die, right?
When I returned to school, it was to (then) Central State College. I earned my degree in elementary ed., and was recruited before the end of my sr. year to teach in Jefferson County, CO. I had one yr. there before I married my college sweetheart, Richard Byler, and we moved to Junction City, Ks. where we both taught. We next lived in Greeley, Co., where our daughter Becky was born and Rich earned his master’s degree in Parks and Rec. Next move was to Flint, Mi. where son Brad was born, and then to Columbia, Mo. where we finally settled for six years, the longest I had ever lived in one place in my life! I taught in all those places, sometimes only as a substitute, while the kids were young. We had always wanted to return to Co., so when the opportunity arose for Rich to work for Foothills Parks and Recreation, in Lakewood, Co. we jumped at the chance, though we had loved our life in Columbia. I once told a Lakewood resident how much I loved seeing the mountains from every part of town, and she said, “Oh, you’ll get so used to it, you won’t even notice them”.. That has NEVER happened. I love looking at them and being in them in all seasons, though I don’t visit them as much in the winter these days. Richard and I divorced in 1980, but we have been very cooperative parents and still do a few family activities together during each year.
I taught various elementary grades in Jeffco for 20 years, earning my master’s along the way. It was a satisfying career, for the most part, but times have changed, and I am glad I could retire when I reached 60. I have so many good memories and friends here that this is truly my home. I lived for 32 years in the first house we bought here, in which we planned to live for just a few years. It suited me and my lifestyle very well, but I cannot keep the yard , etc. as I like it any more. I was lucky to sell it at this time, and I have just moved. (What a job!) Since retirement, I call myself a “dabbler”. I love volunteering, and have done too much to mention. My favorite thing right now is story telling (for which I am sometimes paid, so I can call myself a professional.) I also am active in our local history museum, and I give tours, paint faces and do other activities as needed. Of all my experiences, the most rewarding was being MOM during my kids’ growing years. I enjoyed (almost) every minute of it! Those years passed much too quickly. Both of my kids have settled in the vicinity. Becky is the mother of my ONLY grandchild, Zachary, of whom we are very proud and dote on him, as you can imagine. I love Derek, the son-in-law she has given me. Brad has not yet married, but we still have hopes. If you read the Rocky Mtn. News, you will see Brad’s byline in the sports section, especially when the Broncos play in town. (That is his second, part-time job. Keeps him too busy, but he likes it.)
Since retiring, I have had more time to travel farther than my usual destination, Oklahoma. Though I have been out of the country and continent, I most enjoy going to historic American places that I used to teach about. That is heaven for me!
I have a very nice man in my life. He loves to travel. We have had some health setbacks, but both doing well now, so want to do more while we can. For those of you who remember my family, here is a little update: My father Fred died in 1972. Mother Dorothy is still going strong at 88, in Edmond,OK. My brothers Terry and Hart live in Texas. Brad lives in Edmond near Mother, which has been good for all of us. They all have nice families and are doing well.
I’ll be thinking of you during the first weekend of October. Have a wonderful time! Let errr rrrrip! (I’m sure those ornery boys will try to mess it up to this day – but I’ll miss hearing them do it. 🙂 Hopefully, I’ll see everyone at the next reunion.
Kay Mason Byler
August 2017 update:
Hi, EHS friends! I’m sorry I won’t be at the reunion again this year. I do hope I can come next time and that we are all still here by then. I enjoy reading about you, except when the news is bad. My heart goes out to all who are having a rough time and the families of those who have died. We just don’t seem that old to me. And each one is a shock! Hopefully, most seem to have enjoyed good lives.
My life, like yours, is like one of those Bad news/Good news stories. I love all of Dennis’s old folks jokes, as they are so true and so funny! Due to COPD, I am now using oxygen 24/7 when at this (Denver) elevation and higher. Good news is that I am able to do most things that are important to me, and I am in good physical shape, due to my exercise regimen. I have been fighting to keep my teeth for many years, and two years ago, I had to have many pulled. My new teeth are pretty, but I still can’t eat very well. Good news is that I now weigh about what I weighed in the 9th grade! Recently, I started using hearing aids. Of course, the good news is that I can now almost understand most conversations on TV and movies. And I don’t say Huh? so much! But with all of these, you can imagine how much longer it takes for me to get ready to go somewhere! The good news is that I can still go on my own!
After many years of volunteering in various places, which I enjoyed immensely, I am cutting back, except for mostly social events, like my book club and activities here in the townhouse community and of course, fun with family and friends. I mostly travel to low elevation places, but we take many day trips into the mountains, which I still love!
My kids are doing well, and I now have TWO grandsons. One is 22 and one is 8. They are half brothers, and the young one is our miracle boy. So much fun! Wish I had many more, but so grateful for the two.
I’m very thankful for my mainly good life and the health and many blessings my loved ones and I enjoy. I have such good memories of EHS and you, and I hope you have a wonderful time together!
Best wishes always—–Kay (Mason) Byler