Most of the time, it was on a brisk fall morning that warmed as the parade progressed. The excitement and anticipation sounded with the police sirens and chirpings that announced the oncoming parade. The streets spilled over with excited children and anxious adults, but we could always see that parade well, and most importantly, we could always get candy thrown to us. After the parade, we would always stay downtown to do a little shopping, then eat lunch somewhere and make a day of it. East Central’s Homecoming was almost a holiday for us.
In high school, our band was one of three or four bands in the parade. Of course, Ada represented well with the band, Couganns (the drill team), and the cheerleaders. There was no reason for Ada High to have a homecoming. I remember the topic of our lack of homecoming coming up one time. No one had an answer for why we didn’t have one, and no one seemed to care.
Now I am a high school teacher. Each of the three schools I have taught at has a homecoming. Homecoming week is fun, but I don’t get the reason for the homecoming court or those terrible, ugly mums wormed pin to their shirts. And as far as the dance is concerned, I think that might be a Disney Channel creation. Only one school I taught at had a homecoming dance, and it was right after the game and very casual. These homecoming events are generally for the students. I have not been to many where actual alumni were involved. They only alumni who come to these high school homecoming events are people in the community who come to the games anyway, college students whose siblings are somehow involved, and recent high school graduates.
And did I mention those atrocious homecoming mums? In all the years I have attended ECU’s Homecoming parade, I never once saw one of those hideous things. This is something else about homecoming I do not get.
Today we attended ECU’s homecoming parade, and for the first time “homecoming” meant something to me. My husband’s fraternity had a meeting before the parade, so I called up one of my sorority sisters (whose husband is also a Phi Tau). We drove to Hastings, just like we did in the college days. Then we walked in front of the dorms and the old lounges just like we did over 25 years ago. I felt like I was 20 again and going with my sisters and our fraternity partners to man our float that we spent hours pomping!
I saw many people from my past including my high school classmates, children of my classmates, sorority sisters (or sister- I really enjoyed hanging out with you, Dawn), and several former students. While I go to Ada several times throughout the year (my parents still live there), I usually don’t see very many people I know. This particular trip was definitely a homecoming.
All this talk of homecoming makes me think of the 80’s novelty song by Julie Brown “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun”. In light of recent school shootings and last week’s tragic parade crash, I suppose it’s not appropriate, but it is funny.