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Old school lessons from Lincoln High School

What stories they will tell.

The Lincoln Memorial High School Grand Reunion begins Wednesday, and Alvin McKinney, Clatha Reaves and Jean Murray Ellenwood can’t wait.

“See faces I haven’t seen in 40, 50 years,” said McKinney, Class of 1954.

“All the memories,” said Reaves, Class of 1964.

“Meet people I don’t know .... people I have something in common with,” said Ellenwood, Class of 1960.

What they share is the legacy of an institution central to the black community during segregation.

Though the high school closed in 1969, its heritage is alive, and that 40th anniversary will be celebrated for five days by hundreds of alums.

That’s a lot of stories.

Their old school upbringing will be fodder for many of them.

“Heard the expression, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’?” said McKinney, 74, a career soldier. “That was Lincoln and the neighborhood.”

A path one trod heedfully.

Trouble at school, warranting the teacher’s strap or a paddling, followed you to your front door.

Each will vouch for it.

“Definitely,” said Reaves, 64, a retired licensed practical nurse.

“If you did anything, you got it at school — and then you had to face the music at home.”

They didn’t have to wait until they got there, either.

The trip of trepidation often included a scolding or two along the way from folks on their block.

“If the neighbors chastised you, you had to listen. You better not talk back to an adult, either,” said Ellenwood, 67, a General Motors retiree. “If you did, they’d tell your parents.

“Then you got a double-beating.”

Ask McKinney.

“Mom got you and when daddy got home, he got you,” he said. “If you did something wrong, your parents knew it before you got home.”

It was an old-fashioned lesson and what they learned guided them for a lifetime.

“We knew how to respect people,” Ellenwood said.

“It was bred into you,” McKinney said.

Another reason to celebrate the Lincoln legacy.

“It strengthens my appreciation for it,” Reaves said.

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