Bill Harrison points to his senior photo inside his home on Thursday. David Morrison found and returned the 1940 senior class photo to Harrison.
When Bill Harrison was in high school, he didn’t have the money to buy his senior graduation picture or a yearbook. Instead, he was able to get the 1940 senior class photo for free — nearly 80 years later.
David Morrison said he was looking for old picture frames and art supplies in Grant County — he couldn’t remember exactly where — four years ago. There, he stumbled upon the 1940 senior class photo of Piedmont High School in Piedmont, Okla. — which, in 1940, had a population of 151 people. Of the 16 students in the senior class, there was a young man identified as “Billy Harrison.”
“I liked it, and because of the old names on there, I thought I won’t throw it, because it has some nice names,” Morrison said.
Written at the top of the class photo was the word “Piedmont,” the name of a city in Oklahoma. So Morrison showed it to his pastor and a friend — both of whom are from the state — to see if they could identify anyone, but no luck came from that.
But still he held onto the photo, certain that “I would find someone who appreciates this,” Morrison said.
Morrison works as a disabled veteran outreach specialist who helps find work for veterans, and is a member of The American Legion. He had known longtime Silver City resident Bill Harrison for two years, and when Harrison celebrated his birthday recently at the American Legion hall, that was when luck started to turn.
Because of the party, “I was just aware that he was 97,” Morrison said. Then, one night, “as I was laying there in bed, looking at the pictures, I ran across that [photo] and subconsciously saw the ‘1940’ on top. I thought, ‘That was the same year Bill Harrison would have graduated.’ I looked at the picture again, and there he jumped out at me. I didn’t connect the two until I saw the picture.”
Morrison then went to the American Legion building on a Wednesday, when he knew Harrison would be there, to talk to him.
“I wanted to ask him first,” he said. “I asked him where he graduated from, and he told me ‘Oklahoma.’”
Morrison later showed Harrison the photograph.
“Amazement — that it should take that route to get to me in 79 years,” Harrison said. “I couldn’t believe it until I saw it."
Both David and Bill are members of American Legion Post 18 in Silver City, N.M.
Written by C.P. Thompson, Silver City Daily Press, Aug. 24, 2019