lthough the speech Pat Brackey delivered at the Marceline High School Alumni Banquet last Saturday evening began and ended with something akin to “It’s a Wonderful Life,” just about everything in between was a roast of the Class of 1993.
Although the speech Pat Brackey delivered at the Marceline High School Alumni Banquet last Saturday evening began and ended with something akin to “It’s a Wonderful Life,” just about everything in between was a roast of the Class of 1993.
Like George Bailey, Coach Brackey had to go to a place populated by folks whose early lives had unfolded without his influence to understand how different his life would have been without them. He explained from the podium at the Walsworth Community Center Saturday: “Preparing this speech brought me into contact with the older, wiser members of the Class of 1963; it wasn’t until then that I finally started to realize I had become a small part of a very big thing.” And Brackey didn’t realize, until he moved to Marceline 23 years ago, that he had initially happened upon Disney’s boyhood home in 1977 when he was serving in the U.S. Navy on an aircraft carrier. He explained to the capacity crowd at Saturday’s MHS Alumni Banquet, “On each cruise the ship would provide a cruise book, and sure enough, the one I still possess is a product of the Walsworth Publishing Company. Little did my family know, the Marceline, Missouri we had never heard of in an address for a publisher of a cruise book would become the dream community we would spend the rest of our lives in.”
Although Coach Brackey reserved the roast for the Class of 1993—the alumni who had been some of his first students at R-5 20 years earlier, and had invited him to speak at this year’s Alumni Banquet—he began by ‘browning’ the Class of ‘63: “I went to the hallowed halls of Marceline High School to dust off the Marcello [yearbook] for the Class of ‘63. They had to be pretty bad, because although I found Marcello's from classes before and after 1963, I couldn’t find a single copy of the 1963 Marcello. I concluded that it was probably the school’s way of getting rid of a bunch of bad memories.”
But in all sincerity, Brackey cherishes the friendships he has cultivated with alumni from the MHS Class of ‘63 over the past 23 years. He fondly recalls Mr. and Mrs. Harry Porter; they were his next-door neighbors and Harry had the distinction of having served on the R-5 School Board.
And then there was Kay Fisher, his son-in-law’s grandmother, and Wilma Byrd, the R-5 employee who prepared meals the old-fashioned way, “in a time when school cooks actually cooked.”
Coach Brackey recalled Black Rage football enthusiasts Shane Cavanah and Bill Toops, as well as Bill’s wife, Judy, who along with Mary Catherine Lichtenberg were “the angels on Brackey’s shoulders” in the high school front office.
And although he couldn’t dwell at any great length on many of his memories of the athletic exploits of MHS Class of ‘63 alumni, Coach Brackey recounted the time when the opposing basketball team boasted a ‘stud’ who was expected to dominate the scoring. Unfortunately for them, Marceline High had a ‘stud’ of its own, Joe Cupp, who scored 40 points in the first half.