Sunday, July 20, 2014

One Final Post: Reunion, Cont.

This is the old school yesterday, still holding on 40-plus years after closing.
Lunch was great, not so healthy.
The reunion went smoothly yesterday at Cranberry High in Avery County, N.C., and I left with a bit of new information. The real 50th reunion will be in September.

Seems Cranberry High was so small that over the years July has been the time for all-class reunions. That guaranteed a bit of a crowd, but yesterday there were probably fewer than 10 from my class. I'm assured that in September, there will be far more. I'm skeptical, but hey, what do I know?

At 17, I had a crush on Joyce Watson. A big one.
Our day together was one of talking about health conditions, old friends who have died, adventures from half a century ago, who was in love with whom, some of the same stuff we talked about as teenagers. The men seemed to want to talk about their involvement--exaggerated--in sports, the women their grandchildren.

The high school is a relic that is being restored to its former ... well, not so much glory as stability. 

My pal Jerry Turbyfill telling tales.
My grandpa helped build the school in 1923 and he built stuff to last. When the school went up, this little burg had nearly 3,000 people and a flourishing iron mine (Tweetsie Railroad was the freight hauler from the mine to Elizabethton, Tenn.). It had contained a huge cranberry bog at one time, hence the name. But the mine closed and by the time I arrived in 1963, there were 62 families, four churches, two general stores and a high school in Cranberry. The closest traffic light was in Newland, the only red and green one in the county. Banner Elk--a trendy, touristy, upscale resort now--had a yellow blinking light then.

As I looked around yesterday, mostly what I saw was retired
people with small lives, enjoying each other and the memories of happier times. One of those putting together the annual reunions and restoring the school said, "I wish the more successful people would come to these things, but their lives are too busy. It gives a false impresson of who we are."
Ex-beauty queen Regenia Street Clark.

Go Wildcats!
Indeed. There were a few people I went looking for yesterday and they weren't around. Maybe they'll be there in September. We'll see.

The old barn of a basketball arena is where the introductions were held. Lots of old people, including moi.

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