PRINCETON — Friendships and true love. Those are a couple of the standout memories from high school for Zelma Phillips.
The soon-to-be 94-year-old was a graduate of the Mount Olympus High School class of 1944 and is one of what she believes to be three living alumni.
Thursday afternoon, thanks to a little help from Trilogy Health Services, Phillips and fellow 1944 graduate Ruth Elliott were able to visit for a bit at RiverOaks Health Campus in Princeton.
Phillips has been in assisted living at RiverOaks for two years, and Elliott, 93, is a resident at BridgePointe Health Campus in Vincennes.
Phillips and Elliott met in high school. The two lived near each other once Phillips’ family moved to Gibson County from Pike County before her freshman year. This meant the two girls rode the school bus together.
They became close friends over those four years.
“We double-dated some,” Phillips said.
The dates were pretty much always to the theatre, which Phillips said was about the only thing to do at that time. But it worked out well for her, as the man by her side on those double dates ended up her husband.
His name was Elmer Phillips and he’d caught her eye at school — the only place she got to see him since they didn’t have cars at the time.
“That’s why I didn’t want to miss any school,” she said with a laugh.
Elmer was a good ballplayer, and Phillips said girls can be drawn to that.
“I had a lot of competition,” she said.
The two married a year after graduation, in 1945, and had twin daughters together. Elmer died in 2013, but Phillips said the two had lots of good years to look back on. 2019 marks 75 years of marriage, she said.
As the years have passed, there have been less Mount Olympus Class of 1944 reunions, and fewer attendees at alumni banquets. But the memories of good people, like Elliot, are still there for Phillips.
Phillips and Elliott said goodbye with a kiss on the hand Thursday afternoon, and the mutual invitation to visit again.