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Taking a look back: Thomson High Class of 1960 gathers for reunion


First row: Grace Ansley Crittenden, Larry Morris, Ollie Dean Thigpen Connor, Margaret Neal Burch, Joann Russell Hawkins, Charles Ashley, Carolyn Sims Tanner, Patricia Smith Kitchens, Ann Humphrey King, Roberta Guy Wood, Mike Perry, Frank Story, Buz Dent, Jack McNiell.
Second row: Louisa Fluker Hickman, Faye Ashley Reeves, Dot McNair Bellissimo, Norma Moon Frank, Connie Boswell Owens, Adel Neal, Williams, Bertie Dent, John Pentecost.
Third row: Bob Pannell, Carole Ann Moore Marshall, Rosa Cook Cole, Mary Jane Gunby Worsham, Geraldine Weeks Sheppard, Robert Warr, Judy Carey McNairy, Grace Hinton Lindsey, John Fanning, Tommy Burnley.
Fourth row: Tom Cofer, Larry Tilby, Winde Bradshaw, Larry Hughes, Edward Rogers, Harold Holloway, and Dr. Bob Todd, History Teacher.
The Thomson High School class of 1960 held its 45th reunion at White Columns Inn Saturday night. The event attracted 39 alumni who attended THS at some point during the school years 1956-1957 through 1959-1960. The 1960 graduating class had 62 members, of whom 13 are deceased. This group of 39 alumni who attended the reunion included 29 of the 49 living members of the 1960 graduating class. The high turnout was largely due to the persistent efforts of Tommy Burnley, who tracked down classmates that had not been heard from in years.

Before dinner, members of the Class of 1960 toured the former THS building, which now houses the Thomson Middle School. While many improvements have been made to the building since 1960, there was a consensus among the alumni that the auditorium (with its original bent-wood and cast-iron chairs) and the cinder block-walled cafeteria were largely unchanged, and that the hardwood floors and student lockers in place today are the originals that were well-worn even in 1960.

The passage of time had produced widely divergent recollections about exactly which classrooms during the late 1950s had been under the command of Miss Davey (English), Miss Walker (Algebra and Latin) and Mrs. Brown (Chemistry and Science), and which rooms served as homerooms during the eighth through the 12th grades. The library, now called the "media center," was bulging with PCs, monitors, broadband connections and other electronic wonders undreamt of in 1960. Although the media center was essentially unrecognizable by the group, Frank, Larry and Bob (last names withheld to protect the more or less innocent), who had made several unscheduled visits to the principal's office, instantly recognized the big front office and agreed it had lost none of its power of intimidation in the intervening 45 years.

After the building tour, the class returned to White Columns for social hour and dinner. The class members each received a unique 36-page Reunion Class Book, replete with memorabilia, reproductions and photographs as well as an updated class directory. Robert Warr provided extensive information and Louisa Fluker Hickman was the designer and editor of this keepsake, which is destined to be the definitive reunion class book which future reuning classes will aspire to and attempt to emulate.

Faye Ashley Reeves and Jack McNeill welcomed everyone to the event, but also had the sad duty of recalling the memory of the 18 classmates who entered high school in 1956 with the class of 1960 but who are no longer with us in this life. Jack McNeill welcomed the evening's special guests, former faculty members who, thanks to the generosity of Tom Cofer, joined the alumni for dinner. The faculty members included two former principals who served in that era, Jim Gurley and Bruce Blassingame, who were accompanied by their spouses, Jimmie Ruth and Lora, respectively, and also include Dr. Bobby Todd and Jane Norris Dixon. The 1960 yearbook, the Archive, had been dedicated to Mrs. Dixon.

In addition to class members' spouses and significant others, also sharing the occasion with the alumni were Connie Boswell Owens' and Bill McCommons' mothers, Ruby Boswell and Louise McCommons, and Judy Carey's sister, Maxine. At the outset it also appeared that Buzzy Dent had brought his daughter, but the lovely young woman turned out to be his spouse.

The class moved outdoors for photographs, but the group milled about in an unorganized fashion until Rusty Lovelace took charge and told everyone where to stand, which way to turn their heads, and when to smile. In gratitude for this and other organizational contributions made by Mr. Lovelace toward a successful reunion event, he was elected on the spot as the first and only honorary member of the class of 1960.

White Columns graciously allowed the alumni to linger, long after the dinner plates were cleared, to reminisce. For several hours, classmates told stories that had accumulated embellishments with each retelling through the decades. But this was the first reunion since 1990, 15 years ago, and things were different.. For the first time, it was not only a time for retelling stories but it finally felt like a safe time to confess to secret "crushes" that had quickened heartbeats at various times between the first and even  the 12th grades, and never told.

With 18 of their number deceased, it was time for classmates to tell each other not only of fleeting schoolyard crushes, but also of genuine respect, caring and deep bonds of friendship forged over more than five decades, in many cases beginning at the Laura Jones Elementary School and continuing through and building after graduation in 1960.

Web posted on Thursday, October 20, 2005


Temperature:53° F
Wind:from the W at 5 MPH
Visibility:10 miles
Dew Point:53° F
Updated: 04-Nov-2010 10:01

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