The following email was provided to The Dagger by a reader:
“My sister and I were raised in front of the high school. For 50 years and more we treasured living there. It was our playground. We rode our bikes, go cart that our grandfather built for us, walked and ran the track, played ball. and also went sledding. On Saturday night the 25th we parked in our drive, me up with some friends, had cocktails on the patio, and reminisced about the fun we had living there. We watched the crowds of grads of the different years lining up at the entrance-waiting as if it were the first day of school.
A little after 7pm our group of friends started that walk down to the school -the one only my sister and I knew so well. we got inside the crowded hall-saw some classmates and checked in.-We got our tickets and walked down the hall to the cafeteria. As our party rounded the corner I looked over to the front door and who was there but Bob Garbacik, our vice principal in the early 70’s. Standing there with his arms crossed watching the crowds. and at that moment I was back in 72 and was waiting for him to yell over the crowded hall “Ryan-straighten up!”
My sister and I knew Mr Garbacik for many years because he had rented an apt from my grandparents next to where we had lived. He and I talked about the years gone by.
Our group then had a great dinner and went to the gym where we listened to a great band. We talked to old friends and reminisced. Around 9:30 we headed back to the house and again it was a walk my sister and I only knew. Everyone stayed there and talked about all the fun and sad times that were spent in and outside of the walls of the old school our many friends we had then and now.
Our mom Dorothy Loomis Ryan was born and raised on that corner of Kenmore Avenue and watched the scholl being built on the old farm grounds. She also watched us graduate from there and would have loved to attend but she passed in January 09. Thanks to all who made that night possible-It was a great time!
Bob Ryan and Lori Ryan-Raab”
Delegate Donna Stifler says
Thanks for the letter, Bob and Lori. At 9:30 that evening, we presented a “check” for over $28,000 from the Bel Air High Foundation to the school. Your support, along with that of your friends, helped make this possible. I hope that the history of our alma mater never, ever gets lost in the excitement of the new school.
I have passed your letter on to the other members of the committee. Again, we really appreciate your support and kind words.
HIRAM LODGEPOLE says
well done trip down memory lane Mr. Ryan…i remember your folks and the house you were raised in…i just never imagined what it would be like living that close to the school.
i too graduated from Bel Air High School…some folks thought i never would, but i did, and so did lots of other good folks like you and your sister…lots of newcomers…squatters and their ilk, don’t care much for nostalgia of the days spent growing up in the same place where you were born and raised, and then your own kids went to the same school…all that means little if anything to some folks and that’s their loss because they have no real roots or attachment to anything except their own little worlds…
for me, the truth of what you wrote is in the living we all have done in the town, the county and the school…
it’s all there, and hundreds of others like you and me relish the years growing up and earning a living in Harford county…in spite of the ‘shitstorm’ many folks seem to dwell on…
i’m proud, as i am sure you are…as you have written, so too it has been for many of us ‘home grown’ boys and girls…
you did a fine job…
Phil Dirt says
Even after the fiasco that was the renovation of North Harford High and the sight of the beautiful new building going up, a big part of me wishes that the existing Bel Air High could have been renovated and preserved. The new one will be better in most ways, perhaps worse in others, but I guarantee that it will never be the same.
Phil- I went through the same pangs of nostalgia after a visit to the new NHHS.
I was up there one day shortly after the reno was finished. I needed something from the main office. So, I pulled in the old bus loop, parked, and went inside.
Only problem was, the main office had decided to move itself to the other side of the building where the locker room exit used to be. WTF?
The new BAHS building is going to be pretty nice (quotes from JFK, Plato, Whofistenese, notwithstanding). But it sure does lack the character of the old edifice.