Mary Ray Henslee

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Mary Ray
Mary Ray
Mary Ray
Mary Ray
Mary Ray's Grandson
Mary Ray's Grandson
Mary Ray Grandson
Mary Ray Grandson
Mary Ray's Son
Mary Ray's Son
Mary Ray's Grandson
Mary Ray's Grandson
Mary Ray's Daughter
Mary Ray's Daughter

50th Class Reunions are where oldies but goodies come together to shake their booties to oldies but goodies one last time before their booties give out and the best they can do to their favorite oldies but goodies are armchair aerobics. Some of our old dance moves may have already reached their expiration date. Visualize the Bunny Hop done by a bunch of people with loose fitting flesh if you dare. The Twist is definitely out, least one wants to risk dislocating something major like a hip perhaps. Jitterbug like it was 1961? I don’t think so!!

I believe growing up in a caring and supportive village does matter and I believe we were lucky enough to have grown up in such a village, i.e., a caring and supportive community, caring and supportive teachers, and an outstanding educational system compared to many today. Although each of our stations in life may now differ, I suspect we are all made out of the same cloth in many ways due to our early influences and experiences in common.

As for my station in life, it has always been pretty ordinary. I didn’t pursue a noteworthy career early on. Instead, like many women from our generation, I was a stay at home mom for a number of years before getting back into the workforce. Being a stay at home mom seemed to be a good choice at the time, but times have changed and so has my thinking on this subject, as well as on many other subjects. Although working while trying to raise a family can be extremely challenging, I now consider it a better choice and the one that my daughter has chosen.

Although I never held any particularly high profile job positions when I was working, I was fortunate enough to be hired by some high profile companies, where I gained invaluable experience and some lifelong friends. Over the years I ended up working for NASA, Mobil Oil, Snelling and Snelling Employment Agency and General Electric as a Receptionist, Secretary, Headhunter, and Office Administrator. Being in the right place at the right time back in 1962 made it possible for me to ride in a parade with the first 7 Astronauts, which was as we use to say “just the most” at the time to a small town girl like me just starting out.

As for my son and daughter, they have made me proud to be their mother ever since the day they were born. I couldn’t have asked them to grow up to be better, more successful people. My two grandsons seem to be following in their footsteps, so I can’t complain. One grandson is heavily involved with gymnastics and doing well in school at the age of 13. The other one just turned 21 and has what I consider to be a God given artistic talent, which I hope he is able to capitalize on somehow.

The pictures of my son and daughter were taken around the time that they were just getting started in life like we were 50 years ago. Pictures of my two grandsons are also included and then there is me just in case you don’t recognize the person in the remaining pictures.

Now that I’ve reached the age that I once thought was too old to learn new tricks, I find myself learning new tricks. Thank goodness we don’t ever stop evolving and discovering new things about ourselves. Right now I’m into writing. This being something that I never had a propensity for doing when I was younger, so who knows what other unknown knacks may surface given time. I wrote and posted a tribute to our troops poem on my website once, which a church in Fort Worth, Texas decided they wanted to use as a hand out at their 9/11 remembrance service in 2003. That request, along with my deep concern about the lack of critical thinking surrounding many of the important issues of our times prompted me to start writing poems about the events, behavior, lifestyles, and issues of our times. In essence, rhymes of the times. Writing is a great stress reliever and very self-satisfying so I will probably keep at it even if my poems never gain any outside recognition.

To answer a few of the questions posed to us by the Reunion Committee:

As to my favorite place in the whole wide world? Richland will always be right up there; what with all of the great memories it has left me of fun times and the best of friends.

As to my best advice for our grandchildren? I would advise them to start planning for their retirement the day that they graduate because one day before they know it they too will be saying: “I can’t believe it has been 50 years!”

Very Best Wishes to All!

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