Palestine Magazine May 2019 - Page 25

Class of ‘69: REUNION F A half century later, Palestine classmates reunite ifty years ago, Nixon was in the White House; Neil Armstrong was walking on the moon; and Linda Woodard Ward was graduating from Palestine High School. “It was an exciting time,” Ward told the Herald- Press. “A lot was happening in 1969; a lot of it I can’t remember any- more.” The Palestine High School Class of 1969 celebrated its 50th reunion on May 4, at the Museum for East Texas Culture on Micheaux Street. Much has changed since 1969, including the appearance of that year’s graduat- ing class: Waistlines have expanded, no doubt, and hairlines retracted. Wrinkles have replaced the tight, taut skin of youth. Even so, familiar smiles, quirks and habits that never die, and voices that echo the past should, for most, make name cards superfluous. Ward and fellow alum Sharon Hutchins Field have spent much of the past year planning the event, finding former classmates, and sending invitations. Courtesy photos Class of ‘69 reunion organizers “About 40 of us still live in or around town,” Ward said. “A good 50 or so have passed away, too.” Roughly 130 from the class of ‘69 attended the gala affair. A few of the alumni, Ward said, have gone on to achieve some fame. “State Representative Cliff Johnson graduated with us,” she said. “Judge Bascom Bentley was also part of the class – but of course, he’s passed on.” Ward said she is never in any rush to relive the past, but reconnecting with friends she hadn’t seen in five decades was a delight. “I went to our tenth reunion,” she said. “Since then, I’ve lived all over. I wasn’t able to make it to the others.” Possibly to ease attendees back into the age of the 60’s, organizers threw an informal get-together at the Hampton Inn the night before the reunion. Gas is no longer 35 cents-a-gallon. Gunsmoke and Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-in have long ago vanished from prime time. This year, however, members of Palestine’s Class of 1969 were able to rekindle some other great memories – and create a few new ones. APRIL 2019 25