Friends gather for high school reunionBy Emily Etheredge Published 5:03pm Thursday, October 4, 2012
When former Chilton County High School buddies Richard Thompson and Lloyd Warr attended high school in the 1950s, the fun thing to do was “cruise.”
“We would hop in our cars- mine was a 1947 Chevrolet, and cruise the streets,” Thomspon said. “Typically we didn’t have a lot of money so we would cruise the streets throughout town and then go buy French fries with what little money we had.”
Thompson and Warr were two friends who gathered for the Chilton County High School class of 1952 reunion Oct. 4 and 5 at Goose Pond Park and the Inn of Clanton.
“Every time this group gets together we have a wonderful time,” Warr said.
Class president Buddy Burdette organized the reunion made up of 60 classmates and family members of the classmates.
“The interesting thing about our graduating class is we all remained friends with one another,” Burdette said. “All throughout high school we hung out with everyone. There were no cliques because everybody liked everyone and then as we moved on in our lives we kept in touch with everyone.”
For many of the former students who are now in their upper 70s, e-mail is the communication tool that keeps everyone connected throughout the year leading up to the reunions.
“Every once in a while we will use the telephone, but for the most part we now e-mail each other back and forth,” Burdette said. “Every time we get the group together it is just like the old days, which is why we look forward to these reunions so much.”
Burdette said the main after-school “hang-out” spot in 1952 was Drivers Barbecue and Bob’s Drive-In movie theater in Clanton.
“It used to be that everyone would meet up to eat after church on Sunday and Wednesday evenings,” Burdette said. “Those were the main days we would all eat together and just sit around laughing and enjoying one another.”
In the class of 60, there was one couple that met and married shortly after high school.
Annette Shaw (formerly Broadhead) and Bobby Shaw dated throughout high school and married one year after graduation.
“When I met Bobby, I fell in love with him,” Annette said. “He was just wonderful, and 59 years later, we are still married.”
Shaw said dates between the two usually consisted of going to Drivers Barbecue and eating a barbecue sandwich with a Coke.
“We would usually either go to a drive-in movie or go eat dinner together,” Shaw said.
Shaw said returning to the reunions is always enjoyable due to the entire class being friends throughout the years.
“Our entire group has never had any problems,” Shaw said. “No one is jealous of anybody, and we all respect one another so that has really helped us stay friends for so long. It is unusual, but I think for most of us, it has been a vital part of our lives.”
Sifting through mounds of photos, the group spent Thursday afternoon recalling many of the trends that were popular in 1952 as well as wishing the barbecue eatery was still open for business.
“Poodle skirts, and curly short hair,” Shaw said. “That was popular. It was also popular to travel to Birmingham and purchase our prom dresses from the New Ideal store. Now, if we could only have the barbecue place open, it would be just like old times.”
Many of the former students are already looking forward to meeting up in two years for the next reunion.
“We just laugh and have so much fun together,” Burdette said. “I don’t think any of us would trade this for the world.”