The True Spirit of Reunions
by Tommy Towery
Last week I wrote about the new "old" friends I spent time with at the reunion. This week I write about the long time friends I spent time with at the same reunion. I will cover two specific friends, with two different views.
First I want to tell you about seeing someone I have not seen in over 50 years. Carol Stephens Estes was one of my favorite dance partners back in the days of Bradley's Cafeteria, the Madison County Coliseum, and the National Guard Armory days. I doubt if I ever attended a dance during those days and did not dance with Carol if she was there too. We danced to a lot of different dances, but I especially remember her whenever I think of "The Dog."
If you are having problems remembering her, it may be because she did not actually graduate from Lee. She should have done so with the Class of '65 but life got in her way. The last time I saw Carol was on Tuesday, April 14, 1964 as she was boarding a plane headed for Texas. I and over a dozen of my classmates skipped classes that day and went out to the old Madison County Airport to watch her climb onto a plane headed to Texas. I know this because I made a note about it in the journal I kept during my senior year at Lee.
It was great catching up with her and just knowing she is okay. I had always hoped she would attend some previous reunions, but she did not make it. I am so happy she was able to attend this one. Seeing her was what reunions should be all about, and was one of the highlights of the event.
The other "long time friend" I was happy to visit with was Dianne Hughey McClure. Dianne and I go way back. I mean WAY back. We have know each other since we were in the same fourth grade class at East Clinton Elementary School. That would have made us 10 years old I suppose, so we have been friends for somewhere near 59 years.
There was a break in that friendship for a while, but sometime around the seventh or eighth grade period we got back together. Dianne was a very good friend of my first girlfriend and so we were drawn together in many venues including some boy-girl kissing parties, Carter's Skateland, and many nights we sat together and shared French Fries at some of the bowling alleys when her sister and my mother bowled in the same leagues.
Dianne lived a few blocks from me when I started the 10th grade at Lee and often she would give me a ride to school on days when my car would not start or had a flat tire. I spent many evenings sitting in the swing on her front porch with her as we talked into the wee hours about life and our problems. After I broke up with my girlfriend, Dianne and I became even closer and she was the closest thing to a sister I knew. We went to movies together, and often double dated, but never had a romantic date with each other. Oh, we dated I suppose, if you consider us going to the movie or to a concert or to a dance together, but we never allowed ourselves to become romantically involved apart from a good night kiss whenever I dropped her off at her house or she dropped me off at mine.
I spent my last night in Huntsville following graduation with Dianne and over the years we have always stayed in touch with each other. Perhaps I could have done a little better job on my part in keeping in touch, but we always knew what was going on in each other's lives.
I was happy to get to visit with her and her granddaughter Cheyenne at the reunion. At past reunions we have always tried to spend time together but always seemed to be distracted by others. I hope this time we made up for it.
So whether it is making new friends or visiting with long time friends, I love attending our reunions and I wish others who have never attended one since graduation would make it a point to try to do so.
Memphis, TN - Fall is officially here and so is football season. Already there have been some exciting and somewhat disturbing games and even though my school is the University of Memphis, I cannot help but root for Auburn and Alabama whenever they play other schools. I also root for Clemson, and other schools which high school or Air Force friends attended.
I had a couple of people comment at the reunion on how much they enjoyed the trivia when we put it in the Traveller. We will be working on some new ideas in the weeks to come to address this issue. Please be patient.
Reunion Participation Challenge
"What are the greatest challenges of growing older?"
a. Keeping healthy and active.
b. Seeing your friends and siblings pass on before you.
c. Hoping your retirement finances will last as long as you do, so you will not become a burden on your children.
d. Finding the time to do all the things that need to be done without saying “Oh well, it can wait till tomorrow.”
e. Staying with one project without getting distracted by another or just quitting doing it.
f. Having to deal with your spouse’s changes in their daily routines, from having to worry about work to the daily routine of being retired.
“What are the benefits of growing older?"
a. Getting to spend more quality time with your spouse, without the pressures of work.
b. Having the flexibility to do whatever you what, when you what.
c. Getting to do and see some of the things you have always wanted to do and see, without having to worry about getting back for work and such.
d. Seeing your children become adults and start their own families.
e. Getting to see your grandchildren start out their life journeys.
From Our Mailbox
Subject: No Mail This Week