Then there is Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, kindergarten, high school and college graduations, family reunions, weddings and new babies, and the showers and parties associated with them. Throw in Memorial Day and a couple or more birthdays and pretty soon, there isn’t time for much else.
But almost annually for about 20 years we have attended a May reunion of students who attended Dawnville School in Whitfield County. The school served grades one through 11, which encompassed all of what was then public education in Georgia. There was no kindergarten and no 12th grade. We went to school for a total of 11 years.
The last class to graduate from Dawnville High was after the 12th grade was added. That was the class of 1954, and in later years when the reunion was organized, it featured all graduates of the high school. Since I had gone to a different high school, I didn’t go to the reunions until they included anyone who attended the school before 1954. What a treat!
At first the gathering was at the school, but the atmosphere changed after a new school was built and the old school was demolished, although we continued to meet for a few years in the school cafeteria. More changes were felt when we moved to a restaurant where conditions were even more uninviting. Loud “background” music, crowded conditions, no sound system, and demolition derbies in the parking lot left much to be desired.
This year was different. It was like going from a tent in the desert to a castle in the Alps. One of our classmates who has “done very well” invited us to his “little” farm up near the Tennessee border. There’s an open-air pavilion, weather permitting, enclosed when needed, equipped with kitchen, restrooms, a huge fireplace, sound system, and lots of floor space. (We could have danced if anybody felt so inclined. There was a DJ.)
We could table-hop to our heart’s content. Buffet lines moved quickly. We were warm and dry, while outside the rain fell in torrents. Our host had arranged valet parking and would have taken us on tours of the farm had the weatherman cooperated.
We’ve been invited to come back next year. The host accused us of praying for rain at different times in our lives, and all our prayers were answered on that one day. Next year will be different. We are changing our prayers.
A footnote to the story tells a tale of other changes. One of the parking attendants lost his iPhone, presumably in someone’s car. We’ve had a few phone calls and even a letter from the host and his wife, expressing their pleasure at hosting and their plans for next year — and a request that we all search our cars for the iPhone. The young man’s “handheld computer” contains appointments and class schedules, contact info for everybody he knows, all that “stuff” that makes up our lives. We’re waiting to see if it turns up.
In the meantime, it just brings my technology complaint to mind. Seems to me we should be able to have two phones, exactly alike, compatible/interchangeable /back-up/duplicate in all aspects, one that we keep with us at all times, like we do now, and another that stays put somewhere of our choosing, perhaps in the car. (Remember the first cell phones? They were called car phones, and that’s the only place they were.)
Since I’m not a techie, and it shows, I’ll just stick with my trusted cell phone, hoping to keep it charged and hoping to be able to hear it when I need to. Thank goodness my computer, home to my email, is always in the same place, and all of the land line phones in the house work in harmony with one another. They never go missing, and they have volume control. What more can I ask!
One more little footnote. My second grade teacher at Dawnville was Louise Hall. She is in her late 90s. She missed this reunion, not because of health or driving or other issues, but because she had a scheduling conflict. She is one busy woman. I hope it did not rain on whatever event she attended that day and I hope to see her next year.
Juanita Hughes is Woodstock’s official historian and former director of the Woodstock Public Library.