Carole Peysen and Sarah Straley hug after arriving at the Class of 1973 reunion Saturday at Maks Family Fun Center in Copperas Cove.

In 1973, George Foreman defeated Joe Frazier to become the boxing heavyweight world champion. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade. The Miami Dolphins defeated the Washington Redskins 14–7 in Super Bowl VII. And U.S. involvement ended in the Vietnam War.

The year changed the lives of many Americans, including those of the 136 Copperas Cove High School students who graduated in 1973. Several alumni returned to Cove last weekend for a class reunion.

“Copperas Cove was a great town to grow up in,” said reunion organizer Dorothy Nichols Wright. “When I lived here, there wasn’t even a stoplight. It has really changed. It’s too big.”

Wright is a former cheerleader, who played basketball and ran for the school’s first female track team in 1973.

“We wore hip-huggers and bell-bottoms by the time I was a senior,” she said. “We could only wear dresses and skirts before that. Dresses could not be more than 3 inches above the knee.”

Henry Franke, the class’s valedictorian, flew in from Yorktown, Va., for the reunion.

“There’s only one 40-year reunion,” he said. “Let’s not kid ourselves. We’re not getting any younger. We lost a couple of friends earlier this year.

Franke is a retired U.S. Army colonel, who attended Texas A&M on an Army scholarship.

“Vietnam was the top news story the entire time I was in high school,” he said. “I accepted the scholarship expecting to deploy to Vietnam upon (college) graduation in 1977.

“It was a never-ending war. I did not want to go to war, but, it was my duty.”

He didn’t deploy to Vietnam due to the signing of the peace accord. But, he did complete deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

It was not a surprise to his classmates that he was voted Most Likely to Succeed in the senior class.

Debra Kelly Hull was voted Most Likely to Succeed from among the girls in 1973. She was a member of the Copperettes, National Honor Society, Student Council, and was a class officer. “We wore platform shoes, skirts that were mid-thigh and boots,” Hull said about high school, noting they were back in style.

Hull married one of the star football players, Johnny Hull, after high school. They celebrated their 40th anniversary this year.

“I had to beg my mother to let me go see the movie, ‘The Exorcist,’” she said. “We drove to Austin to see it because Cove Theater would not show it. I hid my head the entire time after the first scene and missed the whole movie.”

The former Cove Theater now serves as the home of New Hope Church.

None of the classmates remembered having a curfew, stating their parents always knew where they were.

“All we really had was the theater and the teen center at City Park,” Hull said. “We would 'drag' the Dairy Queen. And, we had the Joy Drive-In on (U.S.) Highway 190. It was $1 a carload to get in.”

Drivers had to roll down the window to hang the speaker on the car. The former drive-in would be replaced by a Walmart and is now rental storage facility.

Herald/Wendy Sledd

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