Rison-Dallas Association, Inc.

Rison-Dallas Association 2009 Reunion, August 1

(Please note the five Falkenberry "boys" in the top left photo below. The last time that they were all here was at the 2004 reunion. To get here they traveled from Nashville, Montgomery, Shreveport LA, and two from Huntsville. The missing sibling is Dorothy who died a number of years ago. Can siblings from any other family top this attendance?)
2009 Rison Dallas Reunion - Huntsville Times

"Dallas Mill children hold their annual reunion"


As I considered the word, children, I thought that whoever came up with the title certainly understands community reunions because that's exactly what we do when we gather - we talk endlessly about our childhood experiences, growing up in our little village, experiences that I'm pretty sure that we've discussed again and again over the 37 years that we've gathered. Many of these experiences were funny then and we can still laugh about them all these many years later. And it's the funny and happy ones that we tend to remember the best.

If one were to eavesdrop on the little clusters of people at the reunion, you'd probably hear, "Do you remember,

  • while playing Bingo in Miss Esslinger's class (1st grade) that (name) put a piece of dried corn in his ear and had to go to the village nurse to have it removed?" or,
  • a group of us kids hiking to Monte Sano on Sunday afternoon?" or,
  • some of us girls roller skating to Maple Hill Cemetery on Sunday afternoon?" or
  • Mr. Myhand catching us climbing over the ball park fence?
  • the fun we had in school and, "You haven't changed a bit - you look the same!"

    And on and on.

    What are your "Do you rememberů." remembrances?

    And I contend that, for the most part, the child within each of us is still alive and well and has the need to look back because, after all, those were important years and helped to make us the unique people we are today!

    And now to our reunion!

    Sponsored by the Class of 1949 and led by Virginia Goosby Franklin and Lorene Bishop Rice of that class. CLICK here to see the 1949 graduating class picture.

    Peggy Baucom
    Lorene Bishop
    Billy Bowden
    Virginia Brown
    Ellen Certain
    Annie Sue Dunham
    Elizabeth Eaton
    Howard Edgemon
    Virginia Goosby
    Mary Jo Gray
    Doris Johnson
    Frances Johnson
    Billy Lee
    Virgil Medlen
    C. E. Morrison
    Opal Philyaw
    Betty Schrimsher
    Bill Schrimsher

    Deceased members

    Otha "Buster" Acuff
    Evelyn Payne Bridges
    Ernest "Tater" Crowl
    Mona King Frontain
    Ozelle Johnson
    James "Gobby" Osborne
    John "Slow" Owens
    Bettie Seaton Potter
    Aline Vining
    Eugene Worley

    Once the reunion arrival time came, there was the usual swarm of sweet folks coming through the doors with big smiles on their faces, dishes of food in their hands, eager to see and talk with everyone. A part of one's frustration is that it's almost impossible to visit with each person - there's just never quite enough time!

    Ah the food tables - once again we outdid ourselves by bringing a huge assortment of all kinds of delicious food. I'm not sure but I may have seen a table sagging from the weight! I am sure though that there are some wonderful cooks among us.

    2009 Rison Dallas Reunion Program Cover 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 risondallas@comcast.net.

    Editor's Note: I forgot something very important: at least four people from Lincoln Village, two ladies and two gentlemen, were here. One of the ladies said, "And we didn't bring any rocks!" Our friends from Lincoln are always welcome as are folks from any other mill village.

    To those of you who were not at this year's reunion, you were missed. All one has to do is to look at the past attendance lists on our web site to see the ones who were missing. Do we notice when you're not here? Absolutely! My dream is that one year the fellowship hall at Jackson Way Baptist Church will be filled to overflowing with every person from the Rison-Dallas community! It's possible and it can happen.

    2009 Rison Dallas Reunion Program Once again the committee did a wonderful job in getting ready for the reunion and/or the night before and on the day of the reunion. It always looks so easy, but it's not. It takes a lot of time and planning but it's also fun.

    Our thanks to these folks for their hard work:

    Helen Acuff
    Jo Ann Eaton Becht
    Sue Smith Clark
    Buddy Curry
    Leo Drake
    Brenda Burkett Elders
    Ann Schrimsher Franklin
    Paula Franklin
    Virginia Goosby Franklin
    Betty Franklin Frasier
    Martha Luna Maddox
    Lorene Bishop Rice
    Bill Starr
    Betty Burkett Stephens
    Frank Stephens
    Louise Sulcer
    Calvin Surrett
    Maurine Hayes Alverson Surrett
    Aubrey "Tode" Turner

    If you'd like to volunteer to help with the reunion, please let us know at risondallas@comcast.net. Also, if you'd like to offer suggestions to the committee, please let us know at the same web site address.

    (Addition: Use of Jackson Way Baptist Church: Helen wrote a letter to Jackson Way to thank them for once again allowing us to use their wonderful facilities for our reunion. To show our appreciation, we made a donation of $300. I can't think of any better place for us to gather because the church sits on hallowed ground. I feel certain that in some way many of Jackson Way's members have a connection to Dallas Village and Rison School.)

    (Addition: Web site: The web site has grown tremendously over the last five years and much of it is thanks to those of you who continue to send your contributions and to the wonderful webmaster, Craig Clontz. He's the one with the "know how" of putting the information onto the web site. He's so good that this editor has given him complete freedom to "edit the editor."

    To show our appreciation to Craig, each year the association makes a $200 honorarium to an organization of his choice. He asked that this year's donation be sent to Camp Sumatanga, a Methodist Camp near Gallant, Alabama.

    I can remember being very excited when our web site counter showed that more than 500 folks had looked in on our web site. As I write this review, that number is now 21,395 - who would've thought it?)

    Election of officers - Helen Acuff:

    Since this is Helen's 2nd and final year to serve as President and Brenda Elders moves up to take that spot, it was necessary to elect a vice-president. The committee nominated Aubrey "Tode" Turner to that office.

    And after serving more than 30 years as our Treasurer, Maurine Surrett decided to retire. The committee nominated Sue Smith Clark to become treasurer.

    Helen opened the floor to additional nominations; hearing none, the elected officers are:

    President: Brenda Elders (moving up from vice president)
    Vice-President: Aubrey Turner
    Treasurer: Sue Smith Clark

    We'll be in good hands with these folks to lead us.

    On behalf of the Association and in appreciation for their service, Sue presented certificates of appreciation to both Helen and Maurine.

    Treasurer's Report - Maurine Surrett:
    Beginning amount:   $2,528.03
    Reunion expenses*     $843.69
    Balance                     $1,684.34

    *Expenses included:
    Donation to church:      $300.00
    Honorarium C. Clontz: $200.00
    Supplies:                       $243.69
    Reunion clean-up:        $100.00
    Total expenses:            $843.69

    Recognition of Teachers/Visitors - Sue Smith Clark:

    Sue recognized our teachers in attendance; they were:

        Buddy Curry
        Raymond Falkenberry
        Bill Rice
        Hazel Turney Ward
        Wanda Wilson

    Recognition of Classes/Challenge - Virginia Franklin:

    Beginning with the Class of 1934, Virginia recognized every class through the Class of 1951.

    Traditionally, since the Class of 1949 sponsored this year's reunion, it was expected that the Class of 1950 might sponsor the 38th reunion in 2010. However, with no representative from the Class of 1950 in attendance, it was agreed that the committee will sponsor it.

    Remembrance of deceased since last year's reunion - Sue Clark:

    It is with sadness that we report that twenty-two of our folks died since the 2008 reunion. They are:

    Marie Schrimsher Arnett
    Gussie Berry (Billy's mother)
    Myrtice Steger Brown
    Dr. Charles Chambers
    Lena R. Denton (Parker's wife)
    William "Billy" Ealy
    William C. "Bill" Edgemon
    Lawrence "Buddy" Ivey
    Elizabeth Primm Johnson
    Perry Luna
    Billy Magness
    Tommy G. McCulley
    Joe H. Medlen
    Nancy Melton (Carl's wife)
    Aliene Cagle Pell
    Bobby Philyaw
    Lila Edith Ratliff (Brady's mother)
    Leron Allen Schrimsher
    Elizabeth Vinson Walker (Earl's wife)
    Roshelle Barnes Walker
    Cecilia Worley (Eugene's widow)
    Clara Mae Jones Worley

    As we think about these, our family and friends, I'm sure that we remember how special they were and how important they were to so many people. We are thankful that they came our way and that we were privileged to know and love them.

    Please let us know at risondallas@comcast.net if we have inadvertently omitted someone's name from this list. Also, at the same web site address, please let us know when one from our number dies.

    Recognition of Veterans, Pledge of Allegiance - Lorene Rice:

    Lorene acknowledged our veterans, read the following touching poem, and then led us in the pledge.

    Freedom Isn't Free
    by Cadet Major Kelly Strong USAF JROTC

    I watched the flag pass by one day
    It fluttered in the breeze
    A young soldier saluted it, and then
    He stood at ease

    I looked at him in uniform
    So young, so tall, so proud
    With hair cut square and eyes alert
    He'd stand out in any crowd

    I thought how many men like him
    Had fallen through the years
    How many died on foreign soil?
    How many mothers' tears?

    How many Pilots' planes shot down?
    How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
    No - Freedom isn't free

    I heard the sound of taps one night,
    When everything was still
    I listened to the bugler play
    And felt a sudden chill

    I wondered just how many times
    That Taps had meant "Amen"
    When a flag had draped a coffin
    Of a brother or a friend

    I thought of all the children,
    Of the mothers and the wives,
    Of fathers, sons and husbands
    With interrupted lives

    I thought about a graveyard at the
    Bottom of the sea
    Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
    No - Freedom isn't free!

    Herman Hunt Pledge of Allegiance
    Herman Hunt
    United States Flag
    I pledge allegiance
    To the Flag
    Of the United States of America,
    And to the Republic
    For which it stands:
    One Nation
    Under God,
    With Liberty
    And Justice
    For all.

    And then Lorene led us in the singing of "God Bless America."

    Showing the DVD "Mill Village to Main Street" - Buddy Curry:

    This DVD is a touching reminder of what life was like in our local mill villages. It was made before Dallas Mill burned as evidenced by the DVD beginning with the narrator, Dick Curtis, standing on Dallas Mill's fire escape.

    We applauded the presentation once it was finished - a confirmation of "Yes, that's what it was like - and I remember that!"

    Note: The DVD is not now available for purchase but it is expected to be in the near future. If and when it does become available, I'll let you know on our Bulletin Board page.

    Benediction - Aubrey (Toad) Turner

    That's all for this year's reunion. We look forward to seeing you again next year, August 7, 2010, same time, same place. Until then,

    May the good Lord bless and keep you 'till we meet again!



    And now, for the gallery of pictures from the 2009 Rison Reunion:
    Please click here.
  • Rison-Dallas Association, Inc.