Saturday, April 18, 2009

To Our Younger Selves

As some of you know, the last few weekends I have been working on converting old VHS movies to a digital file that can be uploaded on the internet. I have posted a couple of those videos here but most have been uploaded to YouTube. If you are like me, there is a splendid chance your very valuable old 8MM or VHS footage that was shot years ago is in a cabinet or attic somewhere slowing ruining. So to keep that from happening, I decided to begin the process of uploading them to the internet.

Anyway, I was converting a video last weekend that was taken just 7 years ago and I think it is worth sharing with you and the story behind it.

Growing up in Reynolds, GA, as you might suspect, I attended Reynolds Elementary School. I started in the first grade in 1960 with a group of folks who would become my lifelong friends. There were about 30 of us and most of us went through 8 grades together. Reynolds High School consolidated with Butler High in 1966 and the high school in Reynolds was closed. There were some people in Reynolds (my daddy being one of them) who were very upset when Reynolds lost the high school. Consequently there was a fairly large contingent of kids from Reynolds who went to nearby Fort Valley to high school.

The point being, when our class graduated from the 8th grade in Reynolds, we went to at least two different high schools. Additionally, a couple of years later, the integration law was passed - and private schools began to pop up. So now our close knit class was scattered to the four winds.

In 2002 a group of us from the Reynolds Elementary School Class of 1968 decided to have a reunion. What started as just a good idea started building steam mainly due to the power of the internet. We had a website where classmates and former teachers and others could post their memories. We all shared memories of a wonderful time in our life that was long gone.

And we were all reminded those years were the most formative years of our lives.

To be honest, as the time for the reunion got closer, I began to have second thoughts. We were about to have 20-25 folks (and their spouses), most of which had not seen each other in almost 35 years. There would be people from all walks of life and I began to wonder if the group could find things to talk about. It seemed like a great idea but would it really work?

Our 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Ruth Jones, came to the reunion with her old grade book with all our names and grades in it. We began the program by having her call the roll.

Hearing each individual answer her roll call with “here” or “present” was more than amusing. It was like we were all back in school.

Each classmate came to the podium and talked. Each told a little about their life and special memories they had at Reynolds Elementary School. Some told some great stories and a few told stories that had never been told.

There was a lot of laughter and more than a few tears before we were done.

It was a once in a lifetime event I will never forget.

We were reunited for one incredible evening and we relived our shared past. We were keenly aware everything that happened at Reynolds Elementary School played a part in shaping us.

Dear friends, lift your glasses with me – to our younger selves -their activities, their plans, their promise. May we always remember with gratitude their part in making us who we are today.

(For you local folks who are interested - I have posted below the video we watched that night. Total time is about 15 minutes – and due to YouTube constraints I had to upload on two videos). Enjoy.


Judy said...

That was great fun! All "the little guys" that I loved playing baseball or basketball with out on the farm! Once upon a time...

Judy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sandra Arnold said...

Great blog, Bruce. That was a night I will always remember. What do you say Class of '68? Ready for another one?

Anonymous said...

Bruce, being from Ft. Valley, I didn't everyone in videos. It still brought a tear to my eye. I knew some of your classmates that became my classmates when they came to FVHS. I wish I knew where our Class of 1972 went.

Richard Preston
PCHS Class of 1972