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"We lived clean lives" says the Class of 1940

6:36 PM, Oct 17, 2012   |    comments
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  • Yearbook photo of members of Douglas County High Class of 1940
  • Some members of Douglas County High Class of 1940
  • Douglas County High Class of 1940 reunion
  • Douglas County High Class of 1940 graduate Era Lambert Streetman
  • Douglas County High Class of 1940 graduate James Vandiver
  • Douglas County High Class of 1940 graduate Melvin Thompson
  • Douglas County High Class of 1940
  • Douglas County High Class of 1940 graduate J.D. Duren
  • Douglas County High Class of 1940 graduate Marolyn Albertson
    

DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. - Probably few people noticed a small group of senior citizens who shared lunch at a Douglasville restaurant Wednesday.

They are among the dwindling survivors of what Tom Brokaw called the "Greatest Generation".

They're also survivors of Douglas County High School's class of 1940 who were holding their 72nd reunion.

"We were the first class to go all 4 years after the new high school was built in 1937," graduate James Vandiver told 11 Alive News.

Back then they grew up in the country and they didn't have much thanks to the great depression.

"No one in the class was, I guess you'd say 'well off', so we were just fortunate to be in school," said classmate J.D. Duren.

Like most teenagers, they had fun, including sneaking into the off limits school auditorium to play the piano and dance.

"We'd slip in there and do that during lunch time," said Era Lambert Streetman.

"If we'd have got caught, we'd have probably been expelled," she chuckled.

Hitler's Nazi armies were conquering Europe the spring they graduated, but America wasn't involved just yet.

"I can't remember any of us feeling any fear about it; maybe the world was just smaller then," said Marolyn Albertson.

A year after they graduated, the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor finally dragged the United States into World War Two.

While many in the class of 1940 served, amazingly only one died in battle.

In fact, out of a class of 99, more than a third are still alive at the age of 89 or 90.

"We lived clean lives; that's it," said Era Lambert Streetman.

"I wouldn't smoke or nothing," said former basketball player Melvin Thompson.

"I was clean because I wanted to be a good athlete," he added.

"Maybe we just took care of ourselves or maybe we behaved," laughed Marolyn Albertson.

"Someone's been looking out for us," said James Vandiver, "but it was a great class, it really was, a great class."

And it still is.

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