Last week I attended the 45th reunion of the Fordyce High School Class of 1972. Each time I go home, it is a trip filled with nostalgia, elation and some disappointment.
The highlight of the event for me was the regrouping of our high school band, The Village Green, now affectionately called The Village Gray. These are chaps I have played music with since the seventh grade. I was the drummer and least-talented of the group, but we managed to put together an hour’s worth of music from the 1960s and ‘70s for our Saturday class party.
We gathered two days in advance to put some polish on the rusty set. Fortunately, our guitarist and bass player are pretty good players, so all I had to do was try to keep a beat and not play too loud. Guitarists hate it when drummers play too loud.
Those around our age will certainly recognize most of the songs we played: “Mustang Sally,” “Midnight Hour,” “My Girl” and “Born to Be Wild,” to name a few.
After our marathon rehearsal, we reported to the Fordyce Civic Center, where the weekend kicked off with the annual “Redbug Reunion” held in conjunction with the annual Fordyce on the Cotton Belt Festival.
I would guess that 90 percent of the Redbug Reunion attendees were 55-plus, with the oldest person being my childhood dentist who is now 91. I suspect that reunions of this type will fade with time. The younger set don’t be too interested in these events filled with reminiscences and the good old days.
The most interesting twist is the consuming joy it is to see old teachers, old friends and a fondness for almost anyone from your past. There were abundant hugs of people I haven’t seen in 45 to 50 years and a rekindling of friendships that can be picked up where we left off.
Our class had only 80 or so members, and, best we can tell, almost 18 percent have passed away. Our class was one of the first to integrate with the black school around our junior year and we managed to successfully merge our classes and cultures beyond most expectations. For some reason, I was elected president of the class and was part of the organizing group for this milestone reunion.
Another big difference for these events is that those who attend have already had a chance to communicate with former classmates and hometown friends via social media, primarily Facebook.
Our class and many other classes have Facebook pages that allow us to make announcements and share classmate news. This gives you the ability to see classmate’s photos so when you see them in person, you actually recognize the classmates you haven’t seen in 40 years or more.
Fordyce comes alive during the Cotton Belt Festival with a parade, food, music and carnival rides on the courthouse square.
It reminds me of the time when I was 18 years old and made the decision to run for city council. Our band played at the political rally and I gave a campaign speech. I lost the race and am still not sure what made me even want to run for public office. I had shoulder-length hair and a rebellious spirit. Timing is everything.
It seemed appropriate to end our latest concert with this country great by Alan Jackson:
“Remember when we said when we turned gray,
When the children grow up and move away.
We won’t be sad, we’ll be glad,
For all the life we’ve had,
And we’ll remember when. ”
The last issue of the Maumelle Monitor
According to editor Jeremy Peppas, this will be last issue of the Maumelle Monitor, as we know it. Next week, will begin a new day as this paper will be combined with the North Little Rock Times, the Sherwood Voice and the Jacksonville Patriot Peppas will remain the editor of the new paper and will be the focus of my column next week. He’ll explain why the move was made and what we readers can expect as it relates to our community. As far as I know, I’ll still be around.
See you on the Boulevard.
Neal Moore is a public relations and advertising consultant and freelance writer. If you have a community concern, news tip or if you’re just irritated about something, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter, @kneelmore.