Page High School Reunion – 55 Years Later

Ever thought about high school and all the “stuff” that went on back then? This Saturday the Page High School class of 1964 will gather for their 55th reunion. WOW, where have all those years gone… so rapidly. Seems like only yesterday we were being welcomed to this new school by all the teachers and principal Luther Medlin. Everything was all dressed up for us nervous newbies. It was the beginning of a very special time which changed our lives… as we “matured” from sophomores to seniors.

Before long we settled into some sort of routine… meaning we could find our classes and get there on time. We started making new friends, hanging out with old ones and trying our best to fit into this new adventure. Things began to gel when we bought our first Page shirt, participated in the pep rallies, went to our first football game, the first basketball game and received our first grades… now we can do this high school stuff. But more than that we started building our identity as a Page Pirate. Remember the Beach Boys singing “Be True to Your School”? The pride in that identity only grew stronger as we moved through the years, made more friends, and enjoyed more and more being a student at Page High School. As juniors we could go off campus for lunch… making those mad dashes to What-A-Burger or McDonalds. Shirley got a pile of speeding tickets at lunch.

There were, to say the least, extracurricular activities. And I am not talking about sports, band, or other organized activities. I am talking about the cruise’n which took place at the the Boar and Castle and moved to the Hot Shoppes and back. Most of us liked to go there and hang out… trying to see a girl… or a guy… or be with our boy friend or girl friend. The pan rolls and butter steak sandwiches were their speciality to many. And who could forget the “Castle Sauce”. Keep a bottle in the fridge all the time. But most of all many were car people back in that day. Some had some very special cars, rods, sport cars, glasspack mufflers were the music of the cruise. So sad to know today that the Boar and Castle and the Hot Shoppes are no longer around. Nor is the old Guilford Dairy where we would get those wonderful banana splits, hot dogs and milkshakes.

For some of us our future wives or husbands were found at Page and/or the Hot Shoppes or the Boar and Castle. For others relations fell apart after graduation and people moved on to work or college. But some people remained in our lives to this day… very special best friends. Out of all the happenings in and around high school, relationships built and kept are the height of that adventure.

Now that we look back on those days, there is much we can’t remember. Shirley was reading through the notes in her annuals tonight and said she could not remember some of the stuff they were talking about. On our 50th reunion we remembered and honored those of our class who had passed on. Way to many. The 5 years since we have lost even more. Some of our graduating class have their names inscribed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, DC… many before they were even 21 years old. Very sad and so unnecessary.

Since our 50th reunion a group of ladies, we have named the “Page Ladies Lunch Bunch”, have gathered most every month to go out to eat lunch. It is a time of remembering the old days, but mostly it is a group of Page ladies who care about each other and meet to support one another through all the happenings of life. It helps us remember those days, to feel young again, and to join our life stories together. High school was about much more than education… it was about who we were and would become… who we cared about and who cared for us. It was about then and now… and what has gone on all the years in-between.

Each of us will come to this reunion with different memories and expectations. Hopefully it will be a time of good remembrances that will leave a smile on our face and a warm fuzzy in our heart. See you there.


Grace and Peace
Steve Martin & Shirley Bruce Martin

A special thanks to those who produced the graphics I am using.

Send this blog to as many of your Page friends as you can… so that more may take that little step to be present and enjoy the renewing of friends.

Angel & Soccer Star


Shirley posted these two pictures several years ago as throw back pictures on Facebook and they popped up as a memory on Facebook the other day. I remember these pictures from a long time ago. I think this was one of Noah’s first years playing recreational soccer at Pleasant Garden, and perhaps Abby’s second Christmas program at the church. I look back on those precious faces and I see so much hope and trust in them. Who would believe that yesterday Noah entered school as a High School freshman and Abby entered the seventh grade? (BTW – Noah still advertises (after all these years) Nike Sportswear, and Payton Manning stoled Abby’s play signal and used it right up to his last game.)

I think back over the years and wonder… did we do it right? Did they always know they were loved? Did they know we were always there for them? Did we make life better for them? And the big question is did they see Christ in us?

Time flies by and we forget along the way to stop in the moment and ask those questions of ourselves. If we are making an impact on our grandchildren is it for good, bad or indifferent? We look with great pride on Joy and Stephen and the love they have and express for their children. They would do battle with the devil himself over those children. They have taught them by example a great sense of responsibility for themselves and to their community and friends. They are always at church helping out where they can… doing what needs to be done. They have done for Noah and Abby that which we could not do for Stephen… give them roots. It has been a joy to watch them grow up at Pleasant Garden with their friends and family… a support system who cares enough to never let them down.

Thanks to all the PGUMC family for accepting, loving and caring for my family. You make me so proud to have been a small part of that church.

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Thanks for taking a look at my books.


Looking Back – Leaning Forward

Steve & Shirley

Steve & Shirley

“No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:6-13

A little while ago Shirley and I found and old box of pictures. It was almost like we had found a hidden treasure. We spent over an hour going through these pictures and remembering all the events and times they brought to mind. Like: Shirley and I standing in the snow a week before I made the trip to Paris Island for Marine boot camp. Our wedding pictures and remembering the rush of that weekend and how the Captain told me “If the Marine Corps wanted you to have a wife they would have issued you one.” He didn’t want to let me come home and get married. Many pictures of our son, Stephen, in many different stages of his life. How proud we were and are of this young man. The houses we have lived in and the churches we have served… wow, what a life we have lived… and how we have been blessed to serve God through the church. And finally, we noticed the pictures which chronicled our increasing age – and how life was morphing our looks. I think that was when our journey through the pictures ended. I could go on, of course, as we did that morning, wading into all of those times and places until we were chest deep—heart deep—in nostalgia.

Nostalgia is a very natural and powerful emotion, particularly for those of us who are older.  But nostalgia has its dangers.  If it gives us renewed appreciation for the ways God has blessed us in the past, then it can be a wonderful occasion for thanksgiving. But nostalgia also can make us idealize the past and in ways that make the present pale by comparison.  So nostalgia can rob the present of delight and the future of hope.  

As Christians we draw on the past in a myriad ways, of course, but our faith is always forward leaning.  We are assured that the good old days, no matter how good, are nothing compared to what God has in store for us. Paul quotes Isaiah to remind the Corinthians, but perhaps also to remind himself: “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” So the advice for all of us is to look back, yes, and be thankful. But lean forward to all that God has in store for us.

Dear God of yesterday, today and tomorrow, help us to look back in ways that keep us thankful, but leaning forward enough to keep us alive and real in the faith of Jesus. Amen.

Grace and Peace


Love Them No Matter What

Steve & Shirley

Steve & Shirley

“Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.” – Proverbs 22:1-21

When reading the Bible, genre matters. If you don’t know what biblical prophecy’s about, you might think the book of Revelation is a prediction of future history, and end up writing a fictious and profitable series of books about the end times.

You also might think the book of Proverbs contains God’s thinking, instead of humans’. They say it belongs in the category “Wisdom Literature,” but when I read lines like the one above, I’m fairly certain God shelves it under “Jokes and Humor.” I mean, does anyone really believe that raising children is as simple as “training” them right?

I’m pretty sure God doesn’t. Look at Adam and Eve.  No matter what kind of parenting technique you like best, God tried it.

Love and nurture?  Check.

Attachment parenting?  Dr. Sears would approve.

Corporal punishment?  Tried it.

And lots more.

And just look how we turned out. Sure, some of us, the saints and others, wound up golden children…the rest of us, not so much.

God learned the hard way there’s just no telling how the kids will turn out in the end, even when the parents are perfect. I think if God were to rewrite that line, it would say something half as pretentious and twice as difficult. Perhaps it would read: “Love your children hard no matter what, and somehow everybody’ll get there in the end.”

Holy God, you have loved us, and loved us, and loved us no matter how we’ve turned out or turned away, and that has been the saving of the world. Grant that we all might do the same with the children you’ve entrusted to us, in and through Jesus.  Amen.

Grace and Peace



Steve & Shirley

Steve & Shirley

Shirley and I were on Facebook earlier today and noticed some very good news; someone we knew, I officiated at their wedding, announced that he had just got the perfect job and would be moving closer to the beach. We thought that was wonderful news and so Shirley commented to them that we hope he and (we used his wife’s name) would be very happy in their new home.

A few moments later another friend of their’s responded with their joy because these two would now live closer to them. Very quickly a person we did not know, but had seen pictures of her on his Facebook page, responded lol. That was an odd, if not  hurtful thing to say. We don’t think it was “Lots Of Love” but “laugh out loud”.

Shirley looked more on his page and his wife’s page and found some interesting things. No one in her family is listed as a friend. She is listed as married while he lists nothing in that status.

I don’t know what is going on, but they are/were a beautiful young couple with great, great promise. I just hope they are ok.

But my fear is everything is not ok… because after the other woman wrote her lol… we were de-friended immediately.

I would have preferred a private note but I think I get the message. I would love to be proven wrong. My best wishes to these friends.

Facebook is life unfiltered by the brain. So many times we put things on there (and I believe we are encouraged to do so) before we think or in order to get a reaction.

I am so thankful that Jesus doesn’t de-friend me when I say things that may unintentionally be offensive or hurtful. I am glad that he can see me as I really am – warts and all – and still be my friend. We all need friends, especially Jesus.

Dear Lord, bless this young man and woman, and no matter what the situation may be, surround them with your love and your grace that they may live lives on the higher plane of life, in and through Jesus. Amen.

Grace and Peace


Am I Normal?

Steve & Shirley

Steve & Shirley

Rebekah called her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother is consoling himself by planning to kill you… Flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran, and stay with him a while—until your brother’s anger against you turns away, and he forgets what you have done to him.” – Genesis 27:42-25

In a town called Normal, Illinois, there is a lovely sculpture in a park that features a husband and wife embracing and looking lovingly into each other’s eyes, while their young children sit contented on their laps.  The sculpture is entitled, “The Normal Family.”

The only trouble with that image of family life is that none of us live in a place that could be described as Normal. That may be why that sculpture is regularly vandalized—the vandals are striking out at an idealized image of the family none of us can live up to.  As a mother once told me, “The only thing normal in our family is the knob that says Normal on the clothes dryer.”

In contrast to that sculpture, the Bible does not hold up an idealized picture of family.  Instead, the Bible depicts families with rival siblings and tension between the generations.  There is marriage and betrayal, children who refuse to honor their parents and parents who hold back a blessing from their children.  There is love expressed in many of the families of the Bible, but there are also heated arguments and stony silences, slow-boiling resentments, and rifts as wide as a canyon.

So when I hear reference to biblical family values, I wonder:  are they talking about the rifts and alienation or about the sibling rivalry and bitter resentments?

Catholic author Richard Rohr tells a story of Navajo rug weaving.  These beautifully handcrafted rugs are perfectly structured, except for a corner on each rug where an obvious flaw can be found.  When he asked why flaws were allowed to remain in such otherwise perfect rugs, he was told, “This is where the spirit moves in and out.”

Our families, and the families depicted in the Bible, are far from perfect.  They are flawed.  Yet it is exactly in those flawed places that the Spirit of God can move and where we can catch a glimpse of grace.

Dear God, may your Spirit move in and out of the imperfections of our lives. Where there are flaws, let there be grace, in and through Jesus. Amen.

Grace and Peace


Jesus Wept

1174831_10151632886487947_607091026_n“Jesus Wept!”

I never thought I would hear what I heard on TV News tonight… not in North Carolina… Not in America.

It seems that in Raleigh – our State capitol – it is against the law for churches to feed people – homeless people in downtown Raleigh – especially one area of Raleigh. It is true. Over the weekend three churches were feeding the homeless downtown and a policeman came up to them with the warning that if they did not stop feeding the homeless he would have to give them a citation. He would arrest the church for feeding the homeless in an open place in downtown Raleigh. 

This is the  same Raleigh who voted (legislature) to end extended unemployment and reduce the amount of they would get overall. Don’t they know that if you take support away from those who are unemployed they will become homeless – there will be more homeless people? Cutting the funding to Community Colleges which get more people back to work quicker than the four-year colleges, and making it even harder to get help through government sources just adds to the problem. For them it seems to be about money and not about people.

Here is what Raleigh is more worried about… in the news piece the business owner being interviewed said “these homeless people could hurt their business.” Isn’t that what it is really about… money and not compassion… possessions and not people??? I think “Moral Mondays” and “Moral Wednesdays” should turn into “Moral Everyday.”

Even more severe is the news coming from Columbia, South Carolina. Columbia’s proposed new homeless program called “Columbia Cares” is giving the homeless in the city of Columbia three choices: 1). Agree to be relocated (out of the city to a rural area) to a homeless shelter; 2). Leave town on their own, or 3). Be put in jail. This to be built homeless shelter is not funded and the council expects the churches to take care of the homeless.

Do you hear what they are saying: “We don’t want people to see that there are homeless people in Columbia – don’t stain our pristine look – get out of sight – especially the historic district. And the money to support them is to be a “Budget-Neutral” situation. That means the city is not going to pay for it.

Haul them out-of-town, make it illegal to be homeless and feed homeless out in public. Doesn’t the legislatures of North and South Carolina realize that we are called to help those in need. 

I have done a lot of things wrong but I, knowingly, have never pressed that button to make it against the law to feed the poor in a public area. I think my finger would catch on fire.

I pray that people’s voting fingers catch on fire the next time they vote for anyone who voted for this law (those who take that safety net from the poorest of the poor).

I honestly believe Jesus looks down on our lawmakers and what they are doing to the poor and those of us who remain silent, and his heart breaks. Jesus not only wept at the death of a friend, I believe he weeps every time we ignore those in need.

Dear God, if there is anything that makes Jesus weep it is our blindness when the poor come around and we want to run them off rather than care for them. Lord, we need some help down here now… our government is going crazy. Touch our hearts and melt them… cause the scales to fall from our eyes till we can see the poor and take steps to help them in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Grace and Peace


Who is Raising Who?

Steve & Shirley

Steve & Shirley

Last night Shirley and I went to eat at Mimi’s at Friendly. They seated us back in the New Orleans section of the restaurant. The waitress had come and we had given our order. We were just sitting there having a quiet and relaxing time, preparing our minds and stomachs for the treats that were to come.

All of a sudden about twelve people walked in as the staff prepared this long table in the middle of the room. Yippie! It was a birthday party for these two twins. There were so many presents I thought it was Christmas. However, one of the twins wasn’t feeling all that well. He was crying and didn’t want to sit in the chair assigned to him. Before long, the young (20 some year-old) mom is taking these two twins (boy and girl – probably 3 years old) to the bathroom for a talk. When they returned the little boy was quiet happy to sit in his seat.

It wasn’t long till another young couple with a young boy (perhaps also 3 years old) was seated in the booth directly behind us. The little boy was fussy, jumping around in the seat, and generally not going along with the program. In an attempt to control the situation we heard this young mom (early 20’s) say to this three-year old: “If you can’t sit still we will have to leave.” He called her bluff. He said: “I don’t want to eat here.” Guess what? After making apologies to the waitress, they got up and left the restaurant. I wonder where they ended up? Probably McDonald’s or Chick-Fil-A.

These two families begged the question: “Who is raising who?” I know we all have different styles in raising our children, and there is perhaps not one way that is correct for every child and every family.

The first young mom took her children to a place where they would not be embarrassed to have mom remind them of how this game of life is played. Who is the parent and who is the child, and how the parent is in charge of raising the children. Apparently this young mom was skilled enough that when they returned to the table everyone was more accommodating, pleasant, and there were no signs of tears being shed. I was really impressed.

The second mom framed her argument in such a way that the child made the decision whether they ate at this restaurant or not. When the child called her bluff, she had no choice but to leave.

Mom one was raising her children. Mom two was allowing her child to make the decisions on how this he would be raised. Somewhere down the road someone is going to have a come to Jesus meeting with one of these children. I wonder which one?

Growing up – back in our day – there were not as many restaurants and we ate at home most of the time. We were not asked what we wanted. We ate what was on our plates – or children in China would starve… and we didn’t want children in China to starve… so we ate carrots, squash, vegetables and all sorts of stuff children today will not consider eating. When we did go to a restaurant we didn’t have many choices… most of which were what we would have received at home… so it was quiet easy to decide what we wanted. One thing was for sure, we were expected to behave. If we didn’t there would be no bathroom talks, we would answer for our disrespectful behavior when we returned home. Everybody of my age knows what that meant. No, it did not mean we would lose our iPad for a week. It meant we had better find something to pad our behind cause it was going to come into contact with some disciplinary actions.

So who was right and who was wrong? Here is my own personal philosophy. Make sure your children know you love them above all else… that is CRITICAL. Teach them to respect themselves and others. Teach them to reach for the highest goals they can attain. Try not to box them in so much that they lose their creativity or eagerness to learn. Teach them that there are consequences to every action. Both parents must agree on how to raise and discipline the children. If you must correct them in public, do so without taking away their dignity. Treat them with respect in front of their peers and friends. The tough talks are done in private where all parties are allowed to express their true feelings and come away knowing what the offense was, why it was wrong, what is the plan for correction, and how we will deal with it in the future.

If they know and experience your love for them you are well ahead of the game. If they don’t know you love them, you are losing the battle, and so will they.

Dear Lord, help me to make sure my children know that, above all else, I love them with a love that stretches to the end of the earth, and that the motivation behind all I do is to foster greater love and respect in their hearts and mine, in and through Jesus. Amen.

Grace and Peace


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Still waiting for pictures of the Ivory Ordination Statues that were given to the ordinands in the late 1990’s. I you have one or know of someone who does please send pictures to share with others.

Wag More… Bark Less!

Steve & Shirley

Steve & Shirley

Today we pulled up behind a vehicle which had a sticker that read “Wag More… Bark Less!” I thought to myself “Self, that is a very true statement which we all need to be reminded of from time to time.”

Some of our members who lived down the street from us in Asheboro got a beagle. I don’t know if all beagles are like this or not, but this beagle seemed not to be able to control his barking. It appeared to be an involuntary response to something it smelled and liked or didn’t like. Either way, he would put that big old nose to the ground and take off barking at every step. Every once in a while you would hear him go by like a fire engine on the way to a huge fire.

(A funny sideline to this dog is that he would go around the neighborhood and steal clothes off clothes lines and bring them home. He was particularly interested in ladies bras… don’t know why… never asked, but they had quite a collection.)

In our world today there seems to be way too much barking and very little wagging. It, too, seems to be almost to the stage that we have done it so long with so little consideration to alternatives, that it is an involuntary bark that just automatically jumps out to defend, belittle, or set someone else straight about the matter before us. And it may not even be our matter we are barking about.

Have you ever noticed a couple of dogs standing toe to toe on different sides of a fence barking as hard as they can – each one trying to out alpha the other – to scare the other into submission? Many times if someone doesn’t break them up – bring one of them inside – they will keep on till they either lose their voice or fall over dead.

What makes you bark? Something must, because there is a lot of barking going on out there. Have you considered if your barking is appropriate… if it is needed… if it even matters… that you are doing more harm than good by barking your way through life.

What makes you wag? What makes you so happy that you can’t help but wiggle? I think that is why I love happy dogs. Saturday we returned from a week’s vacation at Myrtle Beach. Stephen and Joy boarded their Golden Retriever, Rascal, at the kennel. When Stephen went to get him they couldn’t get that tail to stop wagging, and Rascal stayed close to Stephen all day. He was glad to be celebrating his family being home together again.

Celebrate that which is important: love, life, family, faith, everything beautiful, peace, joy, hope, health, happiness, friends…. wag, wag, wag!!!!

Keep the barking to a minimum. It interferes with your wagging. Wag much more. Bark a lot less. Our dogs teach us to wag more, bark less, never stop playing, be loyal and faithful, be quick to forgive and love unconditionally.

Grace and Peace


Condos and Bracelets

Steve & Shirley

Steve & Shirley

Let me begin tonight by offering a very deep and appreciative thank you to all who shared in comenting on us making it 48 years together. I am so thankful Shirley allowed me to live.

Yes, we are at the beach (Myrtle) and, as always, you run into all sorts of people. Last year while here, Shirley purchased a safety chain and one small charm for a Donatella bracelet she received as a gift from Stephen, Joy and the kids years ago. It is like the Pandora Bracelets but a little different.

Last year these items were purchased here in Myrtle from Reed’s Jewelry. Well, the safety clasp would not fit – it was too small, and so was the charm. Shirley waited to come back down here to make exchanges or get things fixed.

With receipt in hand we make the long journey down to the mall south of Myrtle beach. It is a thriving mall. The people at Reeds would barely give her the time of day. “We can’t fix it, your time limit is up – notice on your receipt it says ten days. However, we can sell you a $180.00 Pandora bracelet.”

I wasn’t in there or else I may have revealed my retired status. Shirley was nice, disappointed, but kind.

The next day we were in another mall – North Myrtle – a mall that is not doing quite as well. We passed another Reed’s store. Shirley reached in the pocket-purse (that is what Abby calls it) and pulls out the little plastic packet with all her bracelet stuff in it and heads for the store. This man is nice and accommodating. He wasn’t able to refund her money or fix it, but he made a trade for something else. Guess what that nice man did? He won back a person who would have never walked in another Reed’s store again. I should have gone in the store and thanked him.

We all have the opportunity to say the right words, take the high road, and do the right thing. It is harder to do… but in the long run you make yourself and those around you winners.

The other day, as we were going out to dinner, I looked at the name plate of the owner of the condo across the hall from us. Now these are condos in the $450,000 and up category. As I was looking two people walked up. I said, “I was just looking at the name of the owners of this condo.” Their reply was “We are the owners.” So, with nothing else to say, I said: “You must be Charles and Sarah Brown?” Quickly they said “Yes, we are.” and moved into their condo and loudly turned the dead bold. It was so noticeably loud we were sure that they thought us to be the strange people across the hall who were plotting a way to break into their home.

Today Shirley stopped and talked with Sarah in the hallway about a place to get a good haircut. In their conversation she learned that Charles was a former Marine who served in Vietnam in the 1st Marine Division in Da Nang. He took a pin off his jacket, gave it to Shirley and told her to tell me: “Semper Fi!”

Why is it that so many times we accept the first impression we have of people and things. What a loss if we had never walked into that second Reeds Jewelry Store or stopped to talk with Sarah and Charles? We would have been the losers had we not taken that second step.

Next time we have a bad encounter, perhaps we need to be reminded that we can make a second effort that just may change everything into a whole new adventure where friendships are made and conflict ended.

Dear Lord, thank you for inviting us always to go that extra mile, to speak that word of kindness, to hold our tongue when our thoughts are unfavorable, and to speak words of grace and love, kindness and forgiveness, in and through Jesus. Amen.

Grace and Peace


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