June 10, 2011 2:40:00 PM
The S.D. Lee High School Class of 1946 held its first reunion in 1976, 30 years after graduation. It was determined at that time to meet every five years, and we did, until the last one at Lake Norris in 2001. Earlier this year, under the leadership of class president Tom Yeatman, plans were made to meet at the Columbus Country Club May 6 for a 65th graduation anniversary and luncheon.
Since all the class members are now octogenarians, we learned that some are deceased and some had moved away. Others who were unable to attend due to various issues of distance and the aging process sent their greetings, notes and updates on their lives and families. Despite the distance and any infirmities, a common thread of faith was noted in many of the updates.
The center of attraction at the luncheon was the memorabilia table that brought back fond memories of those teen years. Among the many items on display were various photos of previous class reunions and the two class luncheons.
One photo eliciting nostalgic memories was the Lee High School building that burned in the 1950s. Today, the Chebie Gaines Bateman building houses the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library and occupies that corner at Seventh Street and Third Avenue North in Columbus. Another photo that gave everyone a laugh was of class member Bobby Miller doing what he likes and does best -- water skiing barefoot on the Tombigbee River.
Clippings from the Lee High Mirror school newspaper reminded us of our class will and class prophecies, most of which never happened, and a poem, "Memories," by class poet Sadie Powell Busby.
Many of these items will be well documented and donated to the history and archives room at the library for posterity, and for those who like delving into old files and records.
Before the 65th reunion adjourned for class and group pictures and farewells, Tom Yeatman was presented with a proclamation declaring him "class president for life." The idea came at a class luncheon in 2002, when Libba Moore Johnson called on "our class president Tom Yeatman" to ask the blessing -- to which Tom replied, "I didn''t know I was elected president for life."
The proclamation was written and signed by a group of class members and ready for presentation at the 2003 class luncheon, however, the unsuspecting honoree failed to show. (He said he couldn''t find us.) The proclamation went home with class member Nancy Hanks Springfield who kept it in a banker''s box with class reunion memorabilia. It was eventually forgotten until resurrected for the 65th reunion.
All who signed the document were present at the 65th reunion with the exception of three who have passed away, and one who moved out of state.
The younger generation may think the class of 1946 is old and infirm, but look again: We octogenarians are young in spirit, active and involved -- and, we like each other!