Forty Years and...



(and, we're still havin' fun) 


           This past weekend the Leesburg High School classes of 1968, 69, 70, 71 and 72, came together to celebrate the class of 70's FORTIETH REUNION, together with 68's 42nd, 69's 41st, 71's 39th and 72's 38th.   The big weekend is now over...but the planning started with a committee a year takes a long time to put together an event of this magnitude.
            When we started the planning process we decided to keep this event simple and also to keep the cost of attending the event at a minimum so that anyone who wanted to come could afford to come. Now to some that may seem strange as you would think people of our age could afford an expensive weekend, but with the economy in the state it’s in we went for the economical approach (or on the “cheap”).
            Now back in the late 60s and early 70s, most of our classes held their Junior/Senior Proms at the Leesburg Community we thought, why not there, after all this is nostalgia isn’t it? Well, what a great decision! First of all the cost to rent the center was really great and their Chef, Debbie Davis (from the class of 1972), provided a great menu and we could afford to hire a band (a group of our age dudes who are extremely talented) and do the whole thing for $35 per person, vs. our last one at $65 per person.
            The Leesburg Community Center hasn’t changed much in 40 years so we had a decorating budget and a team headed up by the vision of Marilyn Hoag and what vision she had!
            Our committee was chaired by Meredith Kirste and Ann Carlton Johnson, who both put in long hours in to ensure we had meetings and collected all the funds to pull this event off, not to mention a committee of about 20 or so people who contributed time and effort over the past year.
            As usual we make this a 3 day event (this is the 5th one of these events) and each class met on Friday night to socialize, who knew we’d have a monsoon on August 27th, but better than the usual hurricane for this time of year and still....the class of 70 had over 100 folks turn out to JJ Fins and of course I could only be in one place, but assume the other classes turned out as well to Vics Embers Supper Club and MidTown Grille. So the beginning was a little damp...but still fun.
            Saturday we had to transform the Community Building and what a transformation it was, we had at least 25-30 show up at 1:00 and within 2 hours you would have not have believed how fantastic everything looked, tables with white linens and runners in pumpkin and gray with black and orange clay pots with flowers that were all nostalgia items and hundreds of tea lights, white chair covers and black ties, orange Japanese lanterns over the dance floor with LED was truly gorgeous.
            At 6:00 the building started filling up with classmates (of which classmates and guests totaled over 350) and the evening began. We had a lovely cocktail hour to get reacquainted with old friends, some of whom we didn’t even recognize, but soon with a pair of glasses and name tags, we could peel away those 40 years and see those young faces we loved so long ago. Then at 6:30 came the usual announcements, acknowledgments and a tribute to the teachers who attended, who could believe we’d have that many still with us? Each of them gave a short talk of their remembrances of us and only one said we had changed his life so drastically that we inspired him to attend Seminary school and become a Pastor. Who’d a thunk we would have such an impact!
            Then we recognized those of us who had served in the Armed Forces and whose children had or are still serving out country. Each of them told when they served and it was quite impressive to see and realize that so many of our friends at such a tumultuous time in our history had gone to serve and protect us, as well those who gave their lives in that service. Many thanks to all of those men and women because we still have that wonderful Freedom you fought, served and died for.
            Dinner is served and what a dinner it was!   I, for one, don’t think there is a restaurant in this area that could have served a better tasting meal. I’ve been to many “events” and usually the dinners are not bad, but nothing great, but this was something else! Roast beef, Chicken Marsala, salmon, rice pilaf, twice baked potatoes, green beans, California vegetable medley, salad, and the most delicious homemade rolls....I heard there were 3 desserts, but never could get off the dance floor long enough to try any of those. Thanks to Debbie Davis and to your are really good Cookers!
            At 8:00 the band “The Best of the Best” started up and a group of 55-65 year olds instantly became 17 once again.....the floor filled and the dancing was commenced and for three hours we boogied like it was 1970 all over again. Actually, I never had this much fun at our prom in 1970....I don’t think I missed many of those dances, the band was cookin’ and played the songs of our days long ago, which you still hear on the radio because this was the best music ever written! We danced to the music of Tommy James, the Beatles, Wilson Picket, just to name a few, and the whole evening was being live recorded so we could purchase a CD of the music.....the Best of the Best were just that (Steve Carter, Jim Rast, Wayne Corbin, Steve Cornett, David Duff and Wayne Proctor), thanks for making this so special.
            At 11:00 the music stopped abruptly, everyone pitched in to clean up the Community Center and break down everything and the evening was over.....I know I was exhausted and boy did my feet hurt from all that dancing (same complaints heard the morning after).
            Sunday morning we gathered for the last time back at the Community Center for a praise and worship service and what a blessing that was! Our classmate Bruce Davis put together the music and a band and choir from our classes performed some great gospel music and we joined together in worship of our Lord Jesus Christ and ended our weekend with praise that we could reunite after 40 years. Glenna Hancock gave a beautiful reading, Nancy Beyers remembered those that have passed from our midst (both these girls brought tears to my eyes) and Bruce Davis gave a stellar sermon about the Reunion that we all hope to attend when Christ invites us to the greatest banquet that will ever be given. Many of our parents attended that service, who are now all in the late 70's and 80's and one parent told me that he thought many there had never heard such a rousing sermon...thanks Bruce, and thanks band and choir and Lynn Williams Frazier who did a solo that was truly beautiful and inspirational with backup singers.....what a soul stirring experience.
            Sunday afternoon my friend Cindi Swinford Mead and I were re-hashing the whole weekend and I said to her....did you ever dream 40 years ago that we would have this much fun and that an event like this could wipe away the years and bring us such youth....we hope that five, ten, fifteen, twenty years from now it will be even more fun and I still hope I can dance to Mony Mony!

Thanks to all!

Kristen Witter Ogden

Class of 1970