Leila Case: High school reunion stirs happy times for ‘50s grads

Published 1:44 pm Saturday, May 5, 2018

We have exciting news in our family and we’re all cheering. My namesake, Caroline Leila Herndon, graduated The School of Nursing at Georgia Southwestern State University with the bachelor of science degree yesterday. We are blessed another member of our family is entering into the medical field — a profession that goes back for more than a 150 years. It’s obvious I didn’t inherit that gene — my advice to sick family members is drink a cup of coffee and take two aspirins. Works every time.
Meanwhile Americus High School classes from 1949 to 1959 didn’t allow a late afternoon thunderstorm to rain on their parade when they gathered for a festive reunion Thursday evening, April 26, at Rees Park Economic and Development Center.
Incidentally, the building is formerly known as Rees Park School where this group attended junior high before moving on to the then “new” high school on Harrold Avenue where they earned diplomas. Of course, the young lady graduates wore white dresses and carried red roses then.
More than 80 former classmates from near and far enjoyed an evening filled with reconnecting, reminiscing and remembering, laughing, looking through old high school annuals, yellowed newspaper clippings, bulging scrapbooks and poster boards filled with high school photos and other memorabilia that was displayed around the perimeter of the meeting room appropriately decorated in the high school’s traditional colors of blue and white. Tables were covered in white table clothes with blue toppers and centered with blue and white star-shaped balloons. How festive.
Following dinner of baked chicken, rice salad and squash casserole and a delicious desert of lime tart topped with raspberries and whipped cream, a spokesperson from each class through the decade gave brief talks, beginning with Burt Bridges of Atlanta, class of ’49 — the last class to graduate following 11th grade. Others were Ed Heys of Atlanta, class of ’53, who organized the reunion and assisted by Martha Jean Booker Glascock of Smithville, and Lavonia Hobgood of Tifton. Franklin Hardin, class of ’54, spoke for that group; Bill Harris Sr., class of ’55, recalled teachers and coaches, especially Coaches Jim Luck, Joe Bell and Jimmy Hightower and teachers who inspired and encouraged students. Charlotte Simpkins Chambliss of Americus spoke for the class of ’56 and was followed by Buzzy McKay of Columbus, class of ’57. Raymond Holt of Americus, class of ’58, also reminisced about the fine coaches. Dr. Henry Teaford of Americus, class of ’59, represented that class with fine remarks and was joined by Joe Daniels, also ’59 and of Americus.
It’s impossible to name all the attendees for there are so many, but the person who traveled the farthest was Bobbie Shayne Crowell of Richmond, Virginia, class of 1953.
What an incredible experience for all involved. These classmates have remained in touch through the years, so we’re sure that they will have a repeat reunion next year.
It was an exciting time for Americus couple Gatewood Ledbetter and Alicia Morgan when they married Saturday afternoon, April 28, at the Valley of the Falls at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. About 30 family members and friends attended, including the couple’s parents, Bob Ledbetter and Georgia Ledbetter of Americus, Alicia’s mother Melanie Morgan of Cordele, and sister, Ashley Morgan. Others attending from here were John and Tiffany Dean, Anthony and Kendall Dragoin, Andrew and Ashley Austin, Cole and Anna Logan West. And former resident Beau Barrett, Natalie Mitcham of Macon, and Laura Dean Williams of Birmingham joined them. Incidentally, while in Vegas, the Deans and Dragoins renewed their wedding vows on Friday, April 27, at the Elvis Chapel. Neat idea.
For some folks last week, it was spring break and I’ve heard of some great trips. Lee and Karen Kinnamon and son Thomas Kinnamon traveled west and toured the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Flagstaff and Phoenix, Arizona, and Kathryn and Brenton Moore were in Ireland. Sylvia Roland has returned from a fantastic visit with her mom and stepfather, Lela and Norman Pumphrey in Cairo, Egypt, and tour of the country. We’ll tell you more about those adventures next week.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.