Graduation mementos stir heartwarming memories


On May 26, the day of my birthday, I received a package in the mail from my foster sister, Cindy Wilkerson Richey, all the way from Mississippi.

When I opened it, I was surprised to find an old Austin High School graduation tassel from 1977, the year we graduated together.

Inside the package was a note: “In 1977, on the day we graduated, you asked me to keep this for you because you said you would lose it. So I’ve kept it all these years, and I’m giving it back to you now … 39 years later. Love, Cindy.”

It’s odd the little things we remember in life, as I do remember asking her to keep it.

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It was a very neat gift for sure on my 57th birthday and one that touched my heart.

Three days later, my wife, Sandy, and I were invited to the home of Dale and Kathy Crafton in Hanover for a cookout.

For those of you who don’t know, Dale was my high school basketball coach and to this day is someone I remain extremely close to. I was also very close to Dale’s first wife, Christie Crawford Crafton, who passed away in 1995 from cancer.

At the cookout, Dale told me he had something for me and pulled it out — oddly, another graduation tassel. This was one from Scottsburg’s 1971 graduating class and was worn by Christie on graduation day. He said he wanted me to have it.

Again, and for the second time in three days, an old graduation tassel had touched my heart. Dale had no idea that just three days earlier I had received another tassel. He thought that was really cool.

After all, how many times does one receive an old graduation tassel as a gift? If you think about it, how often would someone receive two of them in three days?

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