(Click Here for the 2008 Reunion Photo Gallery)
The doors to Jackson Way Baptist Church opened and we all rushed in to begin another few hours of reuniting with both old and new friends, exchanging stories and hugs - fellowshipping in all possible ways, including the sharing of food that loaded all the kitchen surfaces.
What a special time it was and most of us reluctantly left the reunion while already thinking about next year's reunion.
We continue to be grateful to the people of Jackson Way Baptist Church who open their doors to us, giving us the needed time and space to celebrate. There's probably no better place to meet than on the ground that once was a part of Dallas Village.
There were some folks who attended this year's reunion for the first time; there were also those there who had not been in a long time as well as those who were unable to attend. To those of you who were there, we were pleased to see you; to those of you who were not there, we missed you and hope that you'll make it next year.
Once again, we had several young people, at least one pre-teen (who complained that there were no other pre-teens there!), young adults, middle-aged folks, and us older adults. It was a pretty good mix and we all seemed to be having a good time. An adult granddaughter was there with her grandmother; I told her that she was sweet to bring her grandmother to the reunion to which she replied, "I came because I wanted to! I think that it'll be fun!" Let's hope that it was.
CLICK HERE to see who attended this year's reunion. As usual, we tried very hard to get everyone registered but we could have missed some of you. If you were there and your name is not on this list, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the reunion seems to be well organized and flows smoothly, it takes a lot of people to make that to happen. CLICK HERE to see the names of people who worked either, or both, in preparation for the reunion and also on the day of the reunion. Please let us know if we inadvertently overlooked your name.
Would you like to volunteer to help plan the next reunion? There are three planning meetings before each reunion - one in May, one in June and one in July. At these meetings, the committee assists the sponsoring class make plans and decisions. Is it work? Yes, it is. Is it fun? Yes, it is. So, if you think that you'd like to participate, please let us know at email@example.com.
During the program part of the reunion:
As you view these names, I'm sure that there are those whom you remember and maybe you can recall your connection to them and the experiences you shared. Each of them was so special and will be sorely missed.
As I view the list, I remember:
- the man who, in first grade, was my very first sweetheart; we made plans and once met at the "Y" to watch a movie together; 'don't remember if we held hands;
- sitting beside one of them, a perfect gentleman, our backs against the cab on the bed of a ton truck, going to and from a football game on a cold winter's night, shivering under a shared blanket;
- a very feeble lady, a Rison graduate, who attended last year's reunion, her first ever;
- another man who never missed a reunion and who always came in smiling and hugging;
- more than one lady who, while beautiful, also had a beautiful spirit;
- two ladies who were first cousins and who, because they grew up in the same home, became as sisters and remained so for a lifetime;
And I could go on and on.
What special memories do you have?
Our deceased family and friends are:
Jewel Casey Benson
Aubrie Lee "Al" Bowling
Jesse "J.R." Brady
Gladys Lorene Branch
Clara Mae Brazelton Brooks
Bobby Edwin Burke
Floy Short Carrigan
Claude Samuel "Sam" Chisam
Frances Burkett Cordum
Ruth Atnip Falkenberry
Gracie Hatfield Fine
Connie Rigsby Ford
Sara Jo Dunham Gastler
Milton Leon Gentry
Miriam Baker Dunn Gowan
Wilbia Lee Starr Howard
Evelyn Parker London (Marguerite's daughter)
Annetta Barnes Martinson
James David McCaleb
Virginia (Ginny) Brazelton Penhall
Albert Eugene Potter, Jr.
Lynda "Lynn" Russell**
Ethel McElroy Adcock Sanders
Katherine Swaim Staggs
Travis Stevens (Joyce Owens' husband)
Lela Mae Frasier Thompson
Gilbert Henry Duncan Wallace
Robert E. "Bob" Wilkinson
**Leo Drake's friend who helped with the reunions.
Our friend, Judee Howard Houston, was kind enough to share the following poem that she wrote in remembrance of her mother, Wilbia Lee Starr Howard, who died this past December:
It was just before Christmas, and we were all excited.
Then came that morning, when it all fell apart.
So off to the hospital, we went right away.
But our hearts were saddened, and filled with tears.
As your loving family said our good-byes,
My head knows you're home, and no longer in pain,
But, my heart is still broken….such a void I feel,
About 3 months after we said good-bye to you,
Your unwavering love for family and friends
I have some regrets, but hope you knew,
I hope you knew how much you were loved
You'll live on in our hearts forever more
I love you,
Treasurer's report: Our Treasurer, Maurine Alverson Surrett, reported a balance of $2,108.03; this balance did not include either this year's reunion expenses or donations given at the reunion.
Website: As of the day of the reunion, there had been more than 18,000+ hits on our website. Craig Clontz continues to volunteer to serve as our webmaster and we are so grateful for his willingness to work, remembering that he has no connection to either Rison or Dallas. This year the association made a $200 donation in Craig's honor to his church, The New Life United Methodist Church in Grant, AL, the church to which Craig's wife, Sherill, has been newly-assigned as its senior pastor.
CDs of pictures from our website: Last year, Glenn Hymer donated 30 CDs that he made showing pictures from our website, most of which were sold. Donors took the remaining CDs at this year's reunion. Thanks again Glenn.
Singing and the benediction: We all sang "God Bless America," followed by the benediction. Please join us again on August 1st next year, 2009, same time; same place.
Please click here.