Planning MHS Class of 1965's 50th reunion

Nov. 26, 2012 @ 08:23 AM

Early this year I received an email from Laurence Bivens, our class MHS President of 1965. He wanted to plan a class reunion, actually a plan for a rehearsal reunion before our big one, three years in the future! Going through our yearbook, he divided us into five teams with around five people on each. We decided to meet at Jud’s, an old high school hangout, one morning to start the process. As I entered Jud’s, there was Bill Parker (Jud’s son), Laurence, Patsy Humphries-Bivens, Gerald Thomas, and Janie Davis Collins, sitting at a table. When asked where the other planners were, I was told, “We are it.” A little disappointed at the turn-out, I was ready for the challenge. Our first assignment was to find other classmates, which was the biggest challenge, since we had not had a reunion in almost thirty years. We continued meeting, emailing, and searching for the next nine or so months. Soon, John Griffin, aka “Jivin’ John and Chicken,” who had kept up with many of the classmates we couldn’t find, joined us. I loved the late afternoon meetings and the closeness our one little team had established. It became a bonding moment for all of us.

We picked The Treehouse Vineyards for our big Saturday night event, owned by former classmate, Dianne Earnhardt Norton and her husband, Phil. Bill Parker was in charge of the golfing outing on Friday and invited “kids” from other classes to join. Janie and I were in charge of a Friday afternoon “meet and greet” at the Treehouse, for those who didn’t play golf or wouldn’t get in until later. We had snacks and wine, and we just sat around and enjoyed the wine and the scenery. We stayed until about 5:00 and I must admit, I had a whole bottle to myself! I was to ride with Diane Stover Leyh and hubby Ralph to our Friday night “meet and greet” at the Bonfire Bar and Grille in Indian Trail. So excited to see my old classmates, I decided to take a little nap to rest up for the dining and dancing. I heard a voice telling me to “Get up; we’re going to a party.” Diane was waking me from my deep wine sleep!! I hurriedly dressed in whatever was hanging in the laundry room and was ready to party.

It was great seeing Marion Holloway, Eddie Helms, Ralph Howie, Ben Turner, Susie Morgan, Nancy Ashcraft Noles, David Whitley, Tom Medlin, Gayna Ross, so many more.

Saturday morning, many of us had breakfast at Jud’s, and then everyone could do their own thing until Saturday night. Janie and I were in charge of doing the tables for Saturday night at the Treehouse. Janie did most of the work with Diane Stover Leyh and Carolyn McManus Mills helping. The night started off with Laurence making his welcome speech, and his wife Patsy, a retired minister, saying a prayer. Each of us called out names of those who were no longer with us. She called out Ted Beaty’s name as he was the first one we lost. I followed with Tom Desio, and then everyone was asked to mention a name. It was very touching. Our class of 174 had lost 17; that shocked me that we had lost 10%.

 People we hadn’t seen in years were there: Sara Taylor, Cathy Neill, Kathy Long, Cecil Moser (now called Cam), Carolyn McManus, Jerry Tucker, Al Fowler, William (Goose) Funderburk, Ken Honeycutt, Colin Helms, Diane Webb, Harold Pope, Sue Mills, Anne Plyler, Nancy Nichols, Kiki Griffin, Joel Myers, Margaret Harrill, John Worley, Sandra Reedy, Tommy Davidson. I didn’t put the lady’s married names as I can’t remember them all. We had some beautiful women in the class of ’65 and some very handsome men!

One highlights of the evening was “Jivin’ John” Griffin doing his old radio show. He would play a few tunes, then stop do his routine which made us laugh and remember the 60s as one of the best times of our lives. Marion Holloway bought a wonderful sound system, playing “our” music, with a microphone for our use. We each told old stories about what happened way back then, some I can’t repeat. This is one I didn’t tell then. One night Diane Griffin Long decided we were going to the drive-in. Always low on money, we decided to sneak in without paying and yes, we will probably have to answer to God about this one. Anyway, Diane G. drove and Diane Stover Leyh was on the passenger floorboard, under my legs, covered with my London Fog, as she was the smallest. Janie Davis Collins and Carolyn McManus Mills were in the trunk. When it got dark, we pulled into Bundy’s and paid for Diane and me. Later Janie, Carolyn, and Stover got to sit in the car. We were bad…or so we thought.

All in all, it was a great time September 7th and 8th, but it was wonderful back in 1965. We all had dreams; some were accomplished, some weren’t, but it was the best of times.

 I can’t wait until our 50th! Our rehearsal went without a hitch!

• Janis Shirley-Pressley Griffin sat in this month for Nita Kendrick Williamson who writes a monthly nostalgia column for The Enquirer-Journal. Reach her at