AHS Class of 1958 - 50th Reunion
Wow …… What a 50th Reunion we had. I cannot tell you how much enjoyment I had seeing everyone shaking hands and hugging each other. For those of you that could not make it, you really missed a lot of fun.
Even though there were a lot of classmates that bought new clothes, no one was out to impress anyone. Everyone was themselves …. just like they were in high school.
It all started Friday evening with a reception at The Clarion. About 125 classmates showed up for snacks and drinks and to talk about the good old days at Anderson High School. Camille Roby Roudebush provided a cake with a photo of AHS in the icing. You felt like you were standing on the sidewalk outside the school. The next day several guys played golf in the morning and proved that you could have fun, even though you hit the ball in the weeds.
Saturday evening was the time everyone was waiting for. 250 people came from 21 different states. As everyone arrived, they were given a white carnation with red and green ribbons. They also received a packet with their name tags. On each name tag was their photo from the high school annual, along with their name and their spouse’s name. The name of the city where they lived was also on the tag. Each classmate also received a DVD which had lots of photos of events in high school, ranging from sports to the various clubs. There were also photos of the hot spots in downtown Anderson. Photos of classmates at past reunions were also in the DVD. What was really neat was the 50s music in the background of the DVD. Something else that everyone received was a 64 page Memory Book. There were photos of everyone in our class along with some of their biographies. Lots of old photos of our days in high school were also in the book. A big thank you to Jay Eitelman for all of his work on the above items.
After the classmates received their packet and got their flowers pinned on, they passed under a huge arch of red and green balloons and entered the ballroom. That is when the hugging and the shaking of hands began …… lots of smiles too. The name tags came in real handy since everyone changed so much. Lots and lots of decorations by Karen Ramsey Bookout lined the walls of the room and the tables. After about an hour of socializing, everyone sat down to a great meal.
After the meal, I entered the ballroom from a side door wearing a beautiful Indian headdress that was loaned to me from Phil Estep. What would a reunion be without singing the high school song? Buddy Patterson fired up the music and we sang the school song, just like the old days in The Wigwam. I thanked everyone that helped make the reunion a HUGE success. Dan Motto gave a very nice presentation in regard to our classmates that were no longer with us. It made us stop and think.
I then proceeded with my little talk. I discussed the hardships that many endured to make it to the reunion and others that were not as fortunate. I recognized everyone that had come to EVERY reunion since high school. Kathy Barnett (Mark Barnett’s widow) donated several items for people who helped on the reunion. She came all the way from California to help in her healing from Mark’s recent passing.
Several misc items and gag gifts were given to classmates for a variety of reasons. Buddy Patterson then abruptly started playing an Elvis song in the middle of my speech. I had no idea what he was doing and all of a sudden, Elvis came out of a side door. He started around the room high-fiving everyone and then took the microphone away from me. Without a doubt, Elvis (Norm Delph) stole the show. He was hilarious. What happened after that stunned me. Norm started giving me a variety of gifts of appreciation from the class. Then the “Biggie”….. the next part was unbelievable … Norm told me that the jukebox sitting in the ballroom that I had been listening to and drooling over for two days was mine. I couldn’t hold back the tears. Nancy Pearson Nieman tricked me. She had asked me if she could bring a friend’s jukebox to the reunion for decoration. I said sure. Little did I know it would be mine. Thanks to all of you for your donations and thanks to Nancy for all of her efforts. I simply am overwhelmed and thankful to be a part of this class.
After I recovered from all of that, I told everyone to get comfortable and get where they could see the movie screen. We then watched the 10 minute DVD that everyone received. It sure brought back a lot of memories of our days in the 50s at AHS. The last thing on the program was to gather outside the room for a class photo ... photo below.
Everyone roamed around the room the rest of the evening meeting everyone and talking about the past. Buddy’s 50s songs provided perfect background music ….. many even danced like they did at the sock-hops.
What an evening. It was hard to believe that 50 years ago we were walking the halls of Anderson High School. It was also very sad that the reunion had to come to an end. There were a lot of tears shed.
Thanks for the memories ……….. Brooks