By Jimmie Batchelor
A few days ago, I received an evite (invitation by email) that put a big smile on my face. The invitation, sent by one of my fellow high school classmates, Woodie, was for a fish-fry get-together at his home on Lake Lanier. All members of the Chamblee Class of 1966 were recipients of Woodie’s hospitality. Many times he has offered his home as our gathering place to entertain us and give us a stage to continue and further our friendships. A big “thank you” to Woodie from the class of ’66! He has done a terrific job hosting our group at his lake home. Aside from all other entertaining events he plans, he catches, cleans, and fries the fish (with a few volunteers) and the remaining attendees provide the sides. Photographs are taken; fun stories are shared, with much catching up during these together times.
This year, our fish fry will take place during the summer. Allow me to flash back a bit for some background. This past October, we celebrated our 50th year class reunion, organized by a good friend, Lynda, who perfected our reunion. Great job, Lynda!) The schedule started on a Friday night at a first-class event hotel close to I-285 and not far from Chamblee High School. Those choosing to do so could take a tour of the high school on Saturday morning, such as one I took with friends, Bonnie and Lynda, describing our now futuristic school in a former column of mine. On Friday evening, twice as many showed up for dinner, so the hotel restaurant put together a buffet just for us! Some of us socialized into the morning hours. Yes, I had to be there. My choice, bad choice. I’m an early bird, not a night owl!
Saturday morning, the tour was a success. As the dinner hour approached and the start of the actual celebration, several of us set up displays of memorabilia, table decorations, and programs at each seat. The event began on time and the Greeting went smoothly. Music and dancing, DJ, buffet, class speakers, and plenty of action from the photographer went late into the evening. Tired, yes, but well worth all of the effort.
Getting together with friends from your past, who experienced much the same as you, is priceless. After all the years we’d been apart, once together, the familiarity returned and the feeling of family set in. Everyone remembered different stories, or, the same story, but with different views. It certainly helped to have leaders such as Woodie and Lynda, along with too many supporters to name.
People have multiple reasons for not wanting to attend a reunion. I hope that most would try to put forth the effort to attend at least once in the later years. Without being there, it is difficult to describe the feeling of camaraderie with friends that made it through the trenches of high school beside you. Seeing these people as adults, as you are now, and learning of how their lives have changed, for better or worse, might have you looking at the life you have lived in a completely different light. Not attending is a regret I’d never been able to accept. I do not like having regret and I do as much as I can to avoid that valley. You hesitate, make excuses, avoid for not-very-good reasons; then one day, that which you have avoided is gone forever. Your loss is to never know if you made the right decision.
I am not suggesting you live in the past, just revisit it now and then. See where you’ve been and remember how you came to be where you are now. When someone complains of reunions, yet they have never appeared at one; their voice is weak and not one that will gather listeners. No need to complain about that which you have no knowledge!
Try new adventures in life, maybe the next high school reunion will be one. There should be no regret about attending and learning if you could enjoy the experience. There is always the option of leaving early. But I wouldn’t . . . you never know what you might miss.
Jimmie retired from Henry Co. Senior Services in Stockbridge, where she managed Hidden Valley Senior Center and resided for 38 years. She uses her newfound time writing (for The Times) and enjoying life!