Last weekend I attended my class reunion of 1957, along with the class of 1956 of Corbin High School at the Corbin Center.
Having graduated over 60 years ago it is obvious that we have some age on us.
Several of those attending came from out of town, as far away as Florida. It made me happy to hear over and over how much most of them like Corbin.
That is kinda expected from people who graduated many years ago no matter which school they graduated from. What the out of towners are mostly feeling are memories of the good times they experienced years ago when they were in school.
There is reason to still like Corbin, Williamsburg or wherever one went to school, but Corbin, like those other towns is not the same as it was back in the fifties.
I think we were very fortunate to grow up back then. The town was teenager friendly. We had a Youth Center, two downtown theaters, drug stores with lunch counters, drive-in restaurants and many other opportunities for young people to have fun.
So when I heard classmates exclaim, “I love Corbin” and “There is no other place like it,” I had a feeling they were remembering the good times, as the old TV show Happy Days would say, “When everybody knew your name.”
But I learned that one of our graduates, Raymond Pyles,showed how much he liked Corbin, in fact he loved it so much he sacrificed to stay here.
The story goes that when he was a junior in high school his family moved to Corbin from West Virginia.
His father heard that U.S. Steel had job openings and he came here seeking employment. But after six months living in Corbin, and still without a job, his father found work in Missouri and moved the family there.
However, Raymond had made friends and liked the town so much that he asked his father if he could remain living in Corbin. Permission was granted, but there were big challenges ahead for the soon to be senior at Corbin High School.
He had no relatives here, no place to live and needed a job to support himself. Determined, Raymond rented a room over Tom Smith’s grocery which was located across the street from the school. It cost him $15 a month.
Now he had to find income to pay the rent and support himself. You had better love the town and the school if you were willing to do what Raymond did.
He worked six days a week at Clovertop Bakery, going to work at 5 a.m. and working until school started. Then after school he worked at a laundry.
Most of us probably would have chosen to move with the family and taken the easier way through school.
Not Raymond. He fried the donuts, did the laundry and kept up with his studies.
Because Pyles, who now lives in Ohio, showed so much love for the town, Mayor Suzie Razmus made him a “Corbin Colonel” which was presented to him at the reunion.
Yes Raymond, we love it here!