Barnwell High 1960’s Reunion: #12 was somehow sweeter

The El BAB Shrine Cub was the location for the gathering of classmates spanning a 10-year stint at Barnwell High School.

There was an eagerness to revisit ole friends especially on Friday evening, August 14. Perhaps the present day newspapers, television, cell phones, and e-mails held us captive far too long. We needed a break, and this is exactly what the 60’s reunion offered: a safe, friendly diversion if only for one weekend per year. You did receive your invitation, didn’t you?

The mood for the evening was happy, lighthearted and one of genuine caring. Coach Gwynne and Jeanie Hupfer journeyed from Alabama just to be with former students and players. We were delighted to welcome Bob Hill, former high school principal, and Wendall Clamp, our teacher and friend. Both reside in the Columbia area.The folks waiting in line to speak with these three gentlemen and Jeanie was indicative of the lasting friendships birthed long ago between faculty and students.

Steen Pender and Ed Corley supplied the music Friday evening. They are homegrown men who always give freely of their talents; they enjoy playing as much as we enjoy dancing and listening.

On Saturday evening, our location for the festivities moved to the Sweetwater Country Club with music by dj Gary Brantley. As usual, the festivities began with a welcome and a prayer.

BHS Class of 1965 was recognized on their 50th anniversary since becoming BHS grads. Class president Mace Lemon Strickland offered the microphone for self introductions. Standing to one side, I suddenly realized that three of these ladies were sisters of my 1960 classmates. Let’s see…once upon a time, Alice Willis was Wesley Birt’s little sister; Felicia Neal, Sonny Terrapin’s little sister, and Mace Strickland, Roddy Lemon’s little sister. This was a sweet, sweet realization!

Ole friends spent an unusal amount of time gathered together reading the “in memoriam” listing according to classes. Some grouped as if they were on a football field in a huddle for old time’s sake. Their respectful pause gave way to quiet laughter as happier times were shared. Such memories can be sweet, too.

We all know where we came from, and we are quite proud of our roots. Several years ago, it was decided that the great 60’s reunion would sponsor a scholarship to be given annually to a deserving senior who plans to further his/her education.

A resume is submitted by any senior student at BHS interested in the scholarship. A committee composed of our 60’s class representatives makes the selection. The 2015 receipent is Lance Kinard who is currently enrolled at North Greenville University. Congratulations, young man, and the best of luck to you.

Johnnie and Sophie Renew Bessinger captured the dance floor with a slow shag which held onlookers spellbound. Talk about a sweet moment!

Gary and Maxine Hooper had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary one week prior to our class reunion. This special couple kept that dance floor mighty hot! It was delightful to behold!

So, for the twelfth consecutive year, former Barnwell students returned to their ole stomping grounds to touch base with their friends, their pals, of years gone by. For some unknown reason, I didn’t concern myself with those who were absent. Instead, my thoughts were directed toward those folks who were here: present where new memories were being made. That, in itself, was beyond sweet!