Black Water School and community, Shady Grove School, and Black Water Baptist Church reunion held

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

On July 9 about 100 people attended the eighteenth reunion of the Black Water School and community, the Shady Grove School, and the Black Water Baptist Church.

Group attending the afternoon session of the reunion.

It was just 36 years ago that Mabel Shockley and Willie Whitney planned the first reunion after Mrs. Bess Spurlock's funeral. Mabel was insistent; she said, "You need to get together before anyone else dies!" Mabel agreed to be the head of the publicity committee, and Willie agreed to be the emcee. We still miss Mabel and Clarence at our reunions.

Many of our classmates are no longer with us, but we had two classmates from our Manila High School days -- Willie Faye Dobbs and Janice Veach. Janice, Violet, and Barbara Lasater provided us with memorable pictures.

The Eddie and Annie Carey family had the most members present. Many of their grandchildren were there for the firs time. Corley and Marie Tucker Haggarton brought their daughter Carole to experience the unbelievable Black Water. Many of Bill and Ruby Cater's children were present. None of the Black Water High School graduates were able to attend. There are three surviving members of the class of 1941 -- Carroll Waddell, Nella Simpson, and Louise Patton. The Class of 1942 has two surviving members, Kathryn Williams and Mildred Hinson.

Rev. William Piercy warmly welcomed the visitors and gave the invocation. Morris Simpson, Jr., directed the singing. Accompanying him at the piano was Violet Alexander, the only surviving member of the Black Water Belles.

Because yesterday's happiest moments are today's dearest memories, we thoroughly enjoyed the featured speakers -- Guelda Simpson Deason, Vance Waddell, Jerry Caery, and Corley Haggarton -- who shared their memories as they entertained us.

To make a success of growing old in our communities of Black Water and Shady Grove, we had to start young. We agreed that some of us who had just aimed to please need a little more target practice. The emcee said, "Remember the adding of years will wrinkle our skin, but giving up our enduring enthusiastic memories will wrinkle our soul."

One of the memories from The Black Water Herald was shared. "A ping-pong tourney was held last Wednesday at the local school. Willie Velma Caery and "Swifty" Cole came out champions. They defeated Carl Covington and Ethel Crafton. Wandara Caery and Dub Johnson won second place."

Preceding the roll call of those who had died since the 2009 reunion, the group saing "When the Roll is Called up Yonder." The roll call included the following: Douglas Lasater, Elton Still, Raymond D. Erby, Wayne Tucker's son Carlton, Ernest Crouse, Barbara Williams King, Shirley Bray Taylor, Lela Parks, Freddie McDougal, Juanita Ballard Scott, Maxine Myers Steele, Lisa Eldridge's grandfather Otis Rice, Pat Albrecht, Oneda Carey Myers, Mabel Griffin Castleman, Ortha Crouse, Wayne Cole, Ola Dee Ballard Castleman, Virgina Faye Fleeman's daughter Regina, Ted Picotte, Melford Morgan, Alta Files Doshier, Dannie D. Castleman, Vivian Dugger, Betty Deason's son Tommy, Gaylon C. Castleman, and Douglas Lasater's wife Rudy.

Before the song of benediction, all stood to give (by request) the humorous conjugation of the verb "am old."

(More photos in Photo Gallery)

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