57 years and going: Parrish High celebrates reunion

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 20, 2004

Saturday morning a week ago members of the Albert G. Parrish High School Class of ’47 gathered beneath the tall pines that cast their shadows over a small lake in Dallas County. The sun was hot, the occasional breeze was cool, and the reunion of these friends of more than a half-century was joyous.

Each arrival was greeted with cries of: “Oh, I can’t believe it! You look terrific! How can it be this many years since we graduated?”

The perfect summer day was enlivened by the music of Kickin’ Kountry band members Jim VanSandt, Tim Hubbard, Tony Sanchez and Rockwell.

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Beneath gaily-striped tents pitched at lakeside, long tables were set for the barbecue lunch prepared by Noodie Carroll of Plantersville, whose delicious meal was accompanied by choruses of “Do you remember?”

and peals of laughter because of course, everyone present did indeed remember.

But the Class of ’47 gathering beside the lake was not just a reunion; it was a gathering of friends, who had last met at the 50th reunion in 1997. And sadly, there were missing faces.

Approximately 142 students graduated in 1947. At the 50th reunion a memorial service was held for 36 of its members. Lakeside, a moment of silence was observed for those who have died since then. They are: Fred Miller, Sally Berry, John Allen O’Brien, Elliott Speed, Viola Daniels, Hot Brady, Bobby Jones, Eloise Pigg, Cas Ramsey, Katherine Pearson, Lola Croswell Hall, James Huffman, Lois Minor, Joe McNeel, Melvin Lucas, Billy Grindle and David Taccone.

There were no sad faces in the ’47 Sel-Ala, which was displayed with the 50th reunion booklet on the umbrella-shaded tables. Filled with photographs of school activities, the Annual is a history book of life in the post-war 1940s. The girls were dressed in skirts and sweaters, saddle shoes and leather loafers, their hair long, curly, fastened away from pretty young faces with barrettes. The boys wore khaki slacks, football and basketball uniforms

– and not a pair of jeans seen on any page.

The activities and honors of the senior fill pages of the Annual:

National Record in Magazines Sales! Parrish Tigers Win 7 Football Games and Lose 2! Christmas Dance a Big Success! Parrish High Wins District Tournament! Glee Club Concert Comes Off with a Bang! Something New – Junior and Senior Prom!

Elbert Anderson was class president; Annie L. Berry was secretary; and Edgar Wilkinson, vice president.

The Senior Who’s Who is nostalgic and heart-touching. The categories and winners were: Best Dancers, Jimmie Guthrie and Elizabeth Bowers (Driggers); Best Dressed, Julius Talton and Peggy Wise (Page); Most Studious, Clyde Beasley and Madelyn Diffly; Biggest Gold-digger, Jeanne Nichols; Friendliest, Pearl Luckie (Talton) and Jimmie Guthrie; Best All-Round, Betty Burke (Buster) and Elliott Speed.

The categories continue:

Wittiest, Lucy Peck and Bill Bolen; Cutest Betty Rowell (Walters) and Herman Blagg; Most Popular, Betty Burke (Buster) and Jimmie Guthrie; Biggest Flirts, Jimmie Guthrie and Louise Layson; and Best Looking, Caroline Smith (Kenan) and Julius Talton.

Will there be a 60th reunion? Perhaps, says Chairman Betty Buster. For the present, just remembering a warm June day beside the lake is enough.