by Bennett Tarleton -
Good turn out for all events, including friends from other
classes (The Buffkin Girls, Sandra Willis, Judy Harris Bauer,
Nancy (Arant) and Jim Bratton -- too many to name) plus
our own First Timers like Carl Cornwell, Jerry Robinette, Pat
McGinnis, Keith Carter, Bucky Watson, among others.
Plus Dorothy Amick (be sure to read her memory in the
directory) and Frances Lloyd. They no doubt
wondered about the old saying: A teacher never knows where
his/her influence stops. They may not want to be held
responsible for us, but we take full credit for their great
success as educators! Everyone looked Fabulous, Darling,
Just Fabulous -- some more than others, of course! Much
buzz around Esther Wolfe and Ken Burris -- looking mighty good
Someone said Friday night's event
at Kinch's was perfect -- perfect place (just big enough for
more than 100 of us), perfect weather, perfect comfort food
(except for those of us at the end of the line!). Much
hooting and hollering! And some good visiting at Wingate
Inn afterwards. (Wingate - good hotel, good location,
Our Salute to Our Student Bus
Drivers on Saturday morning was just fine. Thanks to
Elaine Thomasson Baker and a terrific driver. We had Jimmy
Baber and a couple of real student bus drivers on board.
We saw Things That Did Not Exist ("new" RHHS and some
other new schools) and Things That Are No Longer There (Krispy
Kreme on Oakland, Bob Inn, Park Inn Grill, Dutch Mill, Ed's
Grill, the cow stalls at Porters, our RHHS, some of Main Street,
Midget Grill) and Things That Are There Still (Varsity Grill,
Red's Grill, the old RHHS parking lot, Cactus Phillips' house on
East Main, Billy Mitchell's bus route down Dunlap Roddey Road,
much of downtown). And then we ate World Famous Watkins
Hot Dogs at the Varsity -- no change there -- Watkins has not
lost ITS wiener!
The practice for the majorettes,
cheerleaders, and Last Standing Members of the Marching Bearcat
Band circa 1961 and the rehearsal for singers were triumphs of
True Grit over Good Sense. Thank goodness, we have not
grown too old to reenact the sins of our youth! Our motto:
"If you want professional entertainment, you'll have to pay
for it! Otherwise, it's us."
Baxter Hood also perfect place --
great decorations by Joyce Short Simpson, Mary Joyce Harper
Wright, Cathie Lamb Hamilton. We were in the
Hoechst-Celanese Room. www.hoodcenter.com.
Let us say: "Something borrowed is much better than
something paid for!" Food terrific -- Patsy Cook
Wolfe and Billy Wolfe must have been cooking for weeks!
Billy welcomed the class and reminded us of why we elected him
to so many offices. Freddie Beckham offered a
wonderfully appropriate poem and a prayer that proves again he
has an extraordinary gift for religious/faith articulation.
included The Mixed Doubles (a NEW singing group that needs some
additional female voices for 2011) -- Sylvia Marett, Billie
Lancaster, Betty Barrett, Jack Addison, Mike Baker, Michael
Collins, Hoot Gibson, Bill Easley. Later Mike did a
trumpet solo and Michael sang "Younger Than
Springtime." John Robinson brought his own sense of
humor to a sort of "Top Tunes Request Line." And
the cheerleaders cheered (Fay Maddox, Alice Summers, Linda Rose
Ogburn, assisted by Linda Brindle in a Special Guest
Appearance), the majorettes did the Emmett Scott strut plus
"In the Mood" and "Moon Over Miami" (Linda
Ellen Polk, Patsy Cook, Phyllis Gregory, Billie Lancaster) and
the Band (Freddie Beckham on the drums -- mighty impressive --
and lots of brass) did those numbers plus "On You
We also re-crowned Lloyd Hooper
as King of Hearts and Linda Rose as May Day Queen...everyone
got a Blue Horse just in case you meet up with Miss Gettys...Easley
and Robinson got physical damage bills from Hotel Plymouth
in NYC (band trip in 1959) and psychological damage bills from
Bennett who roomed with them...
remembered classmates and famous/ infamous people of our times
whose "light" guided and shaped us...we celebrated
Johnny Shillinglaw's 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th, and 63rd birthdays,
all of which occurred on April 8 in one year or another (Thanks
to Grace Hutchinson for the cake! -- and for my gift of a
fruit-laden little red wagon which I plan to save for my first
Did I mention really great music from our DJs?
And lots of dancing -- some Old People showed they can still cut
a rug, if not the mustard. After that, things got a little fuzzy.
Either I put my face into my birthday cake (Thanks, Mary
Joyce, and Reunion Committee) or my beloved classmates smashed
the cake into my face. You will have to wait for the
Know I have left out too many good moments and
names of too many good people -- sorry. My criterion for
these reunions is simple: Bennett, did you have a really
good time? And my answer is: YES! Hope you
did, too. If you were not with us, you missed the
chance for your Big Laugh of 2006 (unless you come to OD in
'06: Get Some Kicks! -- see below).
On Sunday morning we gathered in Glencairne
Gardens to remember deceased classmates. Good stories --
funny and sad -- told and enjoyed. Laughter, yes, because
otherwise unending tears. Very bonding. Very
healing. And, again, Freddie's prayer for just right.
And Lloyd reminded us to hold hands which we did with glad and
I do want to Salute the Reunion Committee who
not only Give Good Reunion but Have Way Too Much Fun Giving
It: Jack Addison, Mike Baker, Fred
Beckham, Michael Collins, Patsy Cook Wolfe, Bill Easley, Phyllis
Gregory Loftis, Martha Harmon Carpenter, Mary Joyce Harper
Wright, Billy Hindman, Hoot Gibson, Kay Grant Martin, Grace
Hutchinson Clark, Cathie Lamb Hamilton, Daisy Littlefield
Miller, Fay Maddox Gibson, Linda Ellen Polk Grimes, John
Robinson, Joyce Short Simpson, Bennett Tarleton, Billy Wolfe. If
your name should be here: Say so!
If you think I do these reunions so I can show
off all the trash I have saved over the years, you are wrong.
I do this because all you guys have a special place in my heart
for the good times (and bad), for happy memories (and not) of
my youth. We can be kind. We can take care of each
other. We are the greatest!
One last thing: On the bus trip some of
my classmates decided I should be rewarded for being so bossy
about this and that and whatever re reunions. They
collected a pile of money for me to use as I wish. I
considered buying a lot of Powerball Tickets so we could have
one helluva blowout in 2011. Someone said there is a great
new print available of our RHHS -- Does anyone know about this?
And I could hire a dump truck to come to my house and take away
all this RHHS-related trash from the 1950s and 1960s -- to say
nothing of my "stuff" from kindergarten and college,
Anyway, all very good thoughts, but what I
would really like to do is contribute this gift towards the cost
of having an historical marker placed at White Street/Spruce
Street to honor RHHS (in the name of the Class of 1961).
Except for the remains of the steps up to the grounds on Spruce
Street, nothing marks the place where we and thousands of others
were "young and together." Does anyone know
who/what agency handles these things in RH? Is Billy White
still alive? He's the Walking RHHS History Book. I
mentioned this to Bill Easley and Fay Maddox -- and gave them
the assignment. Delegate, delegate, delegate! SO:
They/We will keep you posted about this. In the meantime,
the gift is deeply appreciated in a personal way but also it
will be a legacy for future generations to know The Class of
1961 is the greatest and the memory of our RHHS "ever
lingers with us."
Your Member Information
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the past year? If not, please click on the 2006
Questionnaire, fill it out online, save it
on your computer, and email it to Bennett Tarleton - firstname.lastname@example.org .