Monday, July 21, 2008

Coming Together as One Again

I've had another busy weekend, the highlight of which was my 50th high school reunion. Due to family obligations, my best friend, Karen, was unable to come. She was just as disappointed as I, though, and we talked on the phone for over an hour the day before the event.

Bill didn't want to go, so I swung by Friday and picked up another old friend, Mignon Todd Hinkle (her husband balked as well), and we headed out in the country to the Bardwell Hunt Club.

I had a great time visiting and reminiscing with my old classmates, some of whom I had not seen in years. I can't count the times I heard the comments, Where has the time gone? Do you remember when...?

We talked, laughed, joked, and enjoyed a delicious meal of barbecued ribs and chicken with all the trimmings. And then we talked, laughed and joked some more. I took a bunch of pictures, but I didn't get everyone. And some I got more than once. That's why some have been cropped.

Joyce Beardsley Burgess assists Sue McGowan Duncan with her name tag as Lee Mabry looks on. (Joyce planned and executed the event, and she did a great job!)

Roy Wayne Davis arrived tired. And with good reason. One of his cows had a calf, and he was up all night assisting with the birth. (Mother and calf are fine, I'm happy to report!) Roy Wayne is retired, and he and wife Maye own a portable building business in Bardwell.
I had not seen Charles Gholson since the night we graduated. He and lovely wife Dodie and family lived in Chicago, New York, and other places during his 36-year tenure with the U. S. Postal Inspection Service. Like many of us who moved away, they are back home now and living in Clinton.
Betty Samples Hobbs and husband Chuck are retired and living in Lone Oak. They enjoy traveling and spending time at their lake home. They are often outdoors boating, exercising. And it shows; they both look fit as fiddles!
My dear friend, Mignon. I've known her all my life; we attended Mississippi Baptist Church together from the time we were toddlers. Despite what you might think, Mignon is not wearing a feather hat; that's a bird in the picture behind her. (Sorry, Mignon...that was the only picture that came out!)

Bill Terry retired after 40 years in the engineering field. He and wife Kitty now live in Carlisle County. Bill, Karen and I sat together in study hall our senior year, and we often got into trouble. We were always giggling. That's Anne Todd Prince in the corner, demanding center stage again. (Just kidding, Anne the way, you look great!)
What can I say about Amos Anderson? He was a nice quiet boy in high school; now he's a nice quiet man. And the goodness shows on his face. He retired from McDonnell-Douglas, and he and wife Jane now live in Paducah.

What I remember about Lee Mabry is how popular and witty he was. And he's still as witty as ever. He and wife Barbara are retired and living near Knoxville, Tennessee. He tells me he enjoys tinkering with old cars.

Despite the sour-puss look on Luke Allen Brown's face here, he's a very funny man. He was a cut-up in school. He kidded me all the time, often calling me Brenda "Hupstutter." (You'll be happy to know I've forgiven you, Luke!)

Joyce Beardsley Burgess (left) is an owner of Luke's Restaurant in Arlington, where you can get the best catfish dinners anywhere. She and husband Joe live in Bardwell. Anne Todd Webb Prince is a retired elementary school teacher and guidance counselor. She and husband Ralph live in Lone Oak. (She often wheeled around Bardwell in her parents' shiny black '57 Chevrolet. We had a rollicking time graduation night; a bunch of us rode with her to Cairo and celebrated!)

Billy Byassee, one of my favorite classmates. Friendly, jovial and smart as a whip, he drove an old black car which we all piled into on Friday nights and headed to the play party in Wickliffe. That jovial boy has turned into a jovial southern gentleman, with whom I wish I had had more time to reminisce. He and wife Barbara live in Cordova, Tennessee.

On the right is Billy Byassee's lovely wife, Barbara. And his sister, Annette Mix, who was my home economics teacher. I loved Mrs. Mix. I finally got to thank her for helping me with all the mistakes I made on my apron, skirt and blouse in Home Ec class. She never chastised me. (She obviously knew my limitations; I'm still no good at sewing!)

Keith Rowland and wife Kay live in Florida. Keith operated his own construction company until he retired and turned it over to their sons. I'm not at all surprised he has been so successful; he applied himself in school. Unlike some of us!

Judy Bishop Gamblin, another classmate who attended Mississippi Baptist Church, along with Mignon, Anne Todd and me. She and husband Richard live in Paducah. Kenny Tyler, another cut-up, kept us all laughing in high school, and he kept us all laughing at the reunion! He's retired, and he and wife Betty live in Arlington.

Bertha Cobb Myers (left) sews Civil War attire for ladies to wear in the reenactment days at Columbus Park each October. She is married to James "Rabbit" Myers, and they live near Clinton. Ruby Burgess Carter lives in Kuttawa and still has a full-time job. She also loves to play Bingo. (Good luck in your next game, Ruby!)

Bertha's husband, Rabbit, was perplexed when I turned my camera on him. "What do you want to take a picture of me for?" he said.
* * *
Seeing all my old classmates again put me in a reflective mood, and since then I've been thinking about my senior year in high school.
It was an exciting year. All four schools in the county (Bardwell, Arlington, Cunningham and Milburn) had just consolidated, so our class was a big one (or so we thought at the time). There were 65 or 66 seniors, many new people to get to know. In the beginning, most of us stuck with friends from our respective schools, but as time went by, we came together as one: the Carlisle County High School Class of '58.
That year seemed to fly. And as graduation day neared, I was a little apprehensive. I would be stepping into the unknown, leaving that familiar place where Mother and Daddy and all my brothers and sisters dwelled. I would be on my own.
As Kentucky Lt. Governor Harry Lee Waterfield gave the commencement speech that night, I gazed at my classmates, clad in their maroon caps and gowns, gold tassles swinging back and forth as they whispered among themselves, and I suddenly realized this was the last time we would all be together. From here on in, we would be moving in different directions. I was excited, yet sad. It's too soon, I thought, These good times should last longer!
And so the CCHS Class of '58 moved on into history. We all went in different directions; some traveled the globe. But last Friday, after 50 years, we came together as one again.


Suzanne said...

Aw...cute post! And a great tribute. Loved the photos.

Sandra Ree said...

I agree, great tribute! Wonderful post, Brenda!

mlh said...

I wish my highschool did reunions. Loved the post and pictures, Brenda!

All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley