|1927 Graduation Class, St. Paul's School|
Susan Elizabeth Flemming, my grandmother, was born on August 23, 1909, in Birmingham, Alabama. She was the second child of eight born to Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955) and Pearl Alphonsine Horst (1884-1961). Susie and her family were members of Our Lady of Sorrow's Catholic Church, located in Homewood, and had attended Our Lady of Sorrow's School up until the middle of her senior year. At some point that year Susie found out that the boys in her class were being allowed to graduate early, as they would need to prepare for college - the girls were not allowed to do the same. Susie left school that day, walked home, and told her parents to enroll her in another school as she would not go back to Our Lady of Sorrows again. And she didn't. She was enrolled at St. Paul's School, where she graduated in May 1927.
In March of 1977 Susie and the others in the 1927 Graduation Class held a 50th High School Reunion in Birmingham. They had 100% of the graduation class in attendance, as well as both of their teachers from that year. Quite a feat, 50 years later. Their pictures, from 1927 and 1977, as well as a write-up of the gathering appeared in The Birmingham News.
|Updated 1927 Graduation Class|
[from The Birmingham News, March 4, 1977; page 24]
"'We were at the Alabama Theatre that night. They shut the projector off and announced that he'd done it. Lindbergh had flown across the ocean and landed in Paris. I never will forget that.
'Come to think of it, it's probably the only important thing I do remember from that time.'
'That time' was May, 1927. Graduation month.
Mrs. Huber O'Donnell, who was Susan Flemming then, was recalling it this week while getting ready for weekend visitors. The entire graduating class - 10 of them, counting herself - of St. Paul's School from 50 years ago.
The reunion has been in the planning stages since October. The actual 50th anniversary of graduation won't be until May, but as Mrs. O'Donnell explains, tongue-in-cheek, ' We're all still alive and in good shape now, but we didn't want to press our luck.'
Five of the class members have scattered to addresses all the way from Florida to Maine, but the others still live here - as do two of their teachers who joined the festivities, Sister Mary Francesca, still at St. Paul's and Winifred Gallagher, the first lay teacher in the diocese.
|St. Paul's School|
'From what I understand, all of us are still in good health,' Mrs. O'Donnell says, 'But I imagine most are like me, they wake up with a new ache or pain every morning.'
When it comes to replaying memories of the day-to-day life of a high schooler in 1927, Mrs. O'Donnell finds she comes up lacking.
'After 50 years, there's not much left,' she says, 'Lindberg's (sic) the only big thing. All the rest is just . . .'
'I remember riding streetcars, and I remember that Lucile and Mary Quinlan lived over the mountain then - their families had for a long time.'
'But nothing really important.'
She has a high school yearbook, which was ready for some heavy thumbing when the old friends got together.
Their class picture is in it.
Of it, Mrs. O'Donnell only shakes her head and says:
'Look at us. Aren't we floozies!'"
|"Pro Deo. Pro Patria. Initium Sapientiae Est Timor Domini. Prov. IX.10"|
"For God. For Country. The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom"