It has been said that trouble comes in threes. Last week was no exception. Just as I had come to grips with an ailing bull and the loss of twin heifer calves, I received notice of an even more devastating loss. I learned that a friend of almost 70 years, Randy Jean Hays Rader, had passed away on March 12 in San Antonio after her fifth battle with cancer. Her passing comes all too soon after the loss of another good friend, Bobby Glenn Guest, and other members of our class who have gone on before. Saying goodbye to each has been hard, and with each passing we lose a little more of ourselves.
Randy and I, along with many other members of the Hamilton High School Class of 1961, spent an idyllic childhood in one of the most nurturing and supportive small towns anywhere. The motto of Hamilton, Texas, is “What a Hometown Should Be.” And it was, especially in those days after many of our parents came home from WWII and until we graduated from high school.
Our antics included a secret club in junior high school (No Boys Allowed!) that met upstairs in an unused room over Jordan Pharmacy. In seventh or eighth grade, Randy and I even conspired to trade boy friends (without their ever knowing it!). Later, in our high school years we also sneaked out of many a slumber party to paint “Seniors ’61” alongside similar messages from classes preceding ours. We played basketball and tennis, belonged to the pep squad, and cheered on the Bulldogs whenever and wherever they played.
It was a magical time in all our lives, and the magic didn’t end there. Members of our class as well as our smaller group of girlfriends have kept in touch over the years and have gotten together from time to time. Here are a couple of photos of Randy from a get-together several years ago.
I will continue to keep in touch with this amazing group of friends. We will gather to remember old times and to stay current on what has happened since, but Randy will be sorely missed when we do.