Reunion finds little change

Published 4:55 pm Wednesday, November 19, 2008

By Staff
It was a grand reunion for a group of proud senior citizens that met for a joyous 55th anniversary homecoming occasion at David's Catfish House.
The date was Oct. 25, 2008 at 6 p.m. The evening air was fresh, and the scent of tea olives and autumn flowers filled the air as each attendee made his or her way inside the rustic building to greet former classmates.
Had we changed? Surely we had, but in appearance only. Life had treated us well. Shaky greetings were exchanged with fellow classmates, some barely recognized.
Older now, our hair having turned gray, our sight a bit weaker, and our hearing not so sharp, but the underlying strong and proud hearts beat with anxiety and anticipation to meet again the wonderful people that made up the Class of ‘53.
Indeed, a fitting time for a group of students, who 55 years ago were unleashed onto the world to seek employment in an uncertain job market, but ready to face their future, and being fully prepared to face its challenges – to begin a new adventure.
W. S. Neal had done its job to prepare that year's graduates for an uncertain future following the Korean conflict. We started careers and a pledge to a new generation with families of our own. And now we have settled into lives of retirement. But above all, we remember the “good ole days” at Neal, having come from the surrounding communities of Escambia, the security of home, remembering where it all began.
Class president, Leo Normand, opened the reunion with a roll call. Each student was asked to briefly define his or her life, to introduce a wife or a husband. A silent prayer was offered for our classmates who couldn't attend the party, and for the many who had passed on to a better place since our graduation. We remembered past reunions since 1953.
Since our last reunion in 2003, we remembered Ada Ruth Johnson, Daisy Joiner, Agatha Peavy, Jack Kirkland, Charles McArthur, Joe Alex McGowin, Ray Tindell, and Theo Martin. We prayed that the goodness of their living life had earned them a peaceful eternal rest.
There is always sadness when these occasions end, as we are reminded that this may be the last time we see our remembered friends of so many years ago.
Yet, as we returned to our homes far and wide, our hearts swelled with pride and thanksgiving that God allowed us once again to see and enjoy fellowship one with the other.

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