The final month: Class of ’65er still remembers graduation-day kiss from Bill Cosby’s cousin

Sharon Fetter Sudhop wrote to NewsWorks to share fond memories from her time as a student at Germantown High School in the first half of the 1960s. She included a recollection that highlights race relations during the era.

Here’s what she had to say:

“I’ll never forget graduation day in Jan. 1965. Everyone was so excited to finally have made it.

“We put our gowns over top of our Sunday’s best clothes. Then, each of us took our seats toward the front of the auditorium. I still remember looking at the holes in the grates of the supporting stage walls, squinting and wondering what really lurked behind them.

Choir and prom memories

“I wasn’t very active in outside activities with A capella choir being my only club. Mr. Moses, the director, was a short, stout, balding man who gave exuberant direction with a flick of the wand, bouncing with each upstroke.

“Victor Wagner was his favorite as Victor was gorgeous, tall with wavy black hair and blue eyes who sang bass. Me and every other gal had a large crush on him. And, no one cared, even Mr. Moses, that he didn’t hit each note perfectly. Victor was perfect in his own way.

“The prom was magical, in 1964, at Hawaiian Cottage in Cherry Hill, NJ.

“Dave W. Robinson was my beau at the time, lanky, sensual and the love of my life. We left the dance for home where we dressed alike in matching tops, jeans and bandana neck scarves for the post-prom event with the best part driving home at dawn.

An unforgettable kiss

“But what impacted me the most was a giant of all memory when I was kissed by fellow graduate, Bob Cosby. Bob was the cousin of Bill Cosby’s and a real sweetheart of a guy.

“With all the excitement on graduation day, Bob swung around, grabbed and kissed me. I was in shock, perfectly stunned, wide eyed with my arms at my sides and quickly looking around to make sure no one else was watching. I was white and he was black.

“With parents and classmates around I didn’t know if I should be flattered, embarrassed or appalled.

“To be kissed by someone of another race in 1965 was not something we would have experienced, nor was it accepted. Certainly, not in my white protestant world of that day.

“Now, it’s 2013. Victor, Dave and Bob are gone now. They each brought lessons to my life and they, along with GHS, will forever be in my memory and heart.”

As the final day of Germantown High School’s 99-year history approaches — the Class of ’13 will don caps and gowns on June 19 — NewsWorks will present a series of stories including interviews with grads and former students.

To that end, we’re asking you to send your memories via email (subject line: My GHS Memories), the comments section or call (215) 351-1293.

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