Relive your '57 Graduation Day

The Harding Class of 1957 graduated on May 30, 1957.  Do you ever wish you could relive that day and what would that look like.  Well, if you decided to skip school that day so you could get ready for the big evening you would probably sleep in a little late and wake up hearing Grady Cole and then Arthur Godfrey on WBT radio.  After you get up and turn on the TV you could watch Strike it Rich.  If you were into soap operas you could spend most of the morning watching Love of Life, Search for Tomorrow and The Guiding Light.


Remembering that the Charlotte Observer is probably on your front porch you fetch it and scan the headlines where you see that there was a national fear of radioactive fallout, Billy Graham was holding a three week crusade at Madison Square Garden, and Treasury Secretary, George Humphry resigned.  In the local section you read that the North Carolina Legislature killed a bill that would have allowed dog racing in the state.  Also, they passed a bill requiring all car owners to carry Auto Liability Insurance.  Scanning the sports section you see that the Charlotte Hornets are in 2nd place in the South Atlantic League, better known as the Sally League. Finally, turning to the Comics you check out "Snuffy Smith", "Long Sam", "Dondi", "Smilin' Jack", and "Brenda Starr".


As you start thinking about what you would wear to Graduation you probably check the weather where you would learn from Clyde McLean that the high will be 83 degrees and there’s a chance of scattered showers.  Can’t have that.


If you were considering buying some new clothes for the event you would scan the ads and learn that the boys could get two pairs of cord slacks for $11 at Efirds and the girls could get a new pair of heels for $11, also at Efirds.


Maybe you were starting to think about the graduation gifts you might receive.  Wishful thinking, but you did notice that a new 2 door Packard from the C. W. Upchurch Studebaker-Packard dealership could be had for $1,776.  But its a Packard!


To make the day pass a little faster you decide to take the Duke Power bus to the square and check out movies.  Since there were six movie theatres within about two blocks of the square you should have plenty of choices.  As you remember, there’s the Tryon, the Broadway, and the Imperial all on South Tryon. Then there’s the Carolina on North Tryon, the State on East Trade, and the Charlotte on West Trade.  As you walk by the theatres you see that ‘Batchelor Party’ with Don Murray is playing at the Imperial, and ‘Buster Keaton’ with Peter Lorre and Rhonda  Fleming at the Carolina.  The marquee at the Tryon reads ‘C Girl Overexposed’.  Whoa’ don’t know about that one.  None seem particularly worth the price of admission so you decide to stop in Tanner’s for a hot dog with a small free pack of peanuts and fresh squeezed orange juice. A better fit for your allowance.


The boys probaly decide to go by the Charlotte Trouser Company to be measured for a new pair of tailor-mades and the girls stop by Parker-Gardner to listen to the new #1 hit, “All Shook Up” by Elvis Presley, just out on the new 45 rpm format.  


As the afternoon starts to drag out you catch the bus back home to start preparing for the big event for which you have waited at least twelve years. The  graduation is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. at the Park Center, way too close to Central.  You have heard that the commencement address will be deliverd by John Paul Lucas.  Who is he anyway?  (VP of Public Relations at Duke Power Co., yawn!).


That evening, wearing your rented cap and gown you try to remember that ‘tassle’ thing.  Which side should it be on? and when do you switch it?  Just more added pressure.  You file in as ‘Pomp and Cirumstance’ is played and you listen politely to John Paul Lucas but you will never remember a word he said or any advice that he gave.  Then 147 of you walk across the stage, trying not to stumble, shake Mr. Hawkins hand for the first and last time, and suddenly its over.  Now what?