Wade Tremblay headshot

Wade Tremblay

Lane High School, Fork Union Military Academy, Albemarle High School

I was coming from a small Catholic school at the time.  This had nothing to do with the current Catholic school.  It was Holy Comforter Catholic School, where I had gone to elementary school, kindergarten through seventh grade, which out at Branchlands.  We had had I think I remember a couple of young Black students that came during the troubled times, so to speak, when the schools closed in the city out there.  But there really was no significant representation there.  So it was an all-white school.  And I arrived at Lane High School in the fall of 1962, having come from this small, quiet enclave relatively speaking to Lane High School, which if memory serves me at the time, it was eighth through 12th.  I think there was something to the order of 1,700 students in that building.  Changing classrooms between classes.  So a bell would ring at the end of class, and you’d go out.  Then all of a sudden, 1,700 students would be in the hallways moving wherever they were moving.  It was like nothing I’d ever seen before.  The boys’ rooms were dens of iniquity.  I remember walking in the -- they got progressively less troublesome the further up in the building you went.  So everything is stacked or was at the time in Lane High School.  So the boy’s rooms were all above each other.  But the one on the ground floor was the famous den.  And you walk in there -- first of all, it was full of cigarette smoke.  You got guys over there matching quarters.  You got guys shooting dice in the corner, playing various other games.  If you came in and for whatever reason you were not known, you were subject to being flushed, which was a technique that I won’t go into great detail.  But it was not something you wanted to have happen to you.  So it was -- for a youngster -- and I was not small.  I was a big kid.  But I didn’t know anybody to speak of initially.  I felt like very much a fish out of water during those early days at Lane High School.