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Colleagues turn out for good company
Workers recall good times at reunion

There are many happy memories for those who worked at the Thomson Company, and each year they get together to reminisce.

Approximately 100 gathered at the Depot in downtown Thomson on Friday evening for the annual Thomson Company reunion.

"I enjoyed myself," said Larry Bales, who was a sewing machine mechanic at Thomson Company for 39 years. "I always see some of them in stores or restaurants and stuff, but it's still good to just meet up again."

The clothing manufacturing plant opened in 1936 when a group of local citizens pooled their resources to start the company.

At its peak, there were more than 800 employees working at six sites. Even though their numbers were large, the workers at the old company were like a tight-knit family.

"I miss the place a lot," Mr. Bales said. "But I miss the people even more."

After going through many changes with the times -- the introduction of shift work, minimum wage and benefits, the transition from a line system to a bundle system and the implementation of contractors -- the plant closed its doors in 1996.

The reunion could go through some changes, too, but it won't stop.

In fact, more retirees attended this year than last. Most of them stood in favor of continuing the tradition next year, with Kenneth Kyzer nominated to be chairman again.

The entertainment Friday was provided by the Southern Songmasters, and the dinner was a bountiful potluck.

There was some discussion that the location might be changed because of the construction of the new city-county government complex and renovation of the Depot scheduled for next year. The event will take place the third Friday in August -- Aug. 20, 2010. Mr. Kyzer said retirees will be notified of the location via telephone, mail or through newspaper and radio announcements.

A moment of silence was held to honor those who had passed away during the year.

Web posted on Thursday, August 27, 2009

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