Members of the Reidsville High School Class of 1966 held a 56 year reunion at the Tattnall County Farm Bureau Banquet Room beginning at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, October 1, 2022. A total of 21 class members and 16 spouses were present. Sixteen class members are deceased.
Gloria Glisson organized the event and served as Mistress of Ceremonies. Immediately after calling the meeting to order, a candle lighting memorial ceremony for the sixteen deceased members was conducted by Gloria and Gladene Oliver. Those members were: Don Burkhalter, William Conley, Ronnie Cowart, Claudette Collins, Barney Davis, Brenda Kay Smith, Richard Eason, Betty Gray, Eddie Joiner, Billy Lee Jones, Janie Rae Melichan, Hal Odum, Danny Scott, Linda Fay McBride, Tommy Taylor, and G.D. Womack.
Southern Flair Catering provided a delicious old style southern meal that included fried chicken, roast beef in gravy, mashed potatoes, string beans, mac & cheese, seven layer salad, and Southern Flair sliced yeast bread along with sweet and unsweet tea. Desert included chocolate delight, carrot cake, and a layered spice cake. It was a delicious meal that most didn’t need but everyone thoroughly enjoyed.
In small groups stories circulated about athletics including a very good 1966 football team. Some were disappointed that they didn’t go farther. Ronald Warren, the wiggly running back that John Wingate allowed could a dodge a tackler in a phone booth, mentioned that they probably weren’t as good as they remembered. Most likely that’s always the case. An old quail hunter said once the histories of good bird dogs always get about 50% better each year after they die. Honest memories of high school athletes might not be much better than those of old quail hunters, Charles Anderson, an outstanding offensive and defensive end on that team just admitted that it was too long ago to remember. But it was fun listening them talk about the heydays.
Most everyone there is retired, but Jerome Lynn is a college educated farmer who cuts and bales hay for a living after about 27 years of working for a tobacco company. “I enjoy it more than anything I’ve ever done,” he said. “And if we don’t have a disaster, it will be the best year ever.”
Bruce Oliver told the group about a National Guard experience of getting lost in the streets of Baghdad in 2005 (he also served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam). Bruce recalled that his Lieutenant had neglected to study the city map of Baghdad and used his GPS which failed. It was not a good place to be lost, and Bruce said he threatened to pull the Lt of his jeep and leave him. “If you get back I bet you’ll learn to read a map,” he said.
Others mentioned service in Vietnam, but it was not a popular subject.
They discussed memorable teachers like Mary Ann Carter, Joyce Wood, Barbara Grinstead, Kella Smith and Tommie Clark. But in reality it wasn’t the stories about athletics or even what had happened to individual members during the 56 years since graduation. It was more about the opportunity just to see them again. Wayne Rogers had missed a couple of reunions, and men and women crowded around to say hello and shake his hand or hug him like he was the prodigal son.
The class of ’66 will meet again in 2023.