Reunion brings friends and family together

Thursday, August 1, 2013

On July 6 about seventy-five people attended the 19th reunion of the Black Water School and Community, the Shady Grove School, and Black Water Baptist Church. Arising early to greet the people were Frank Eldridge and Morris Simpson, Jr.

The Eddie and Annie Carey Family had the most family members attending the 2013 reunion.

When we recall our schools, church, and community, we cover a large area: Linnie, Black Water No. 1, Black Water No. 2, Shady Grove, Milligan Ridge, Lost Cane, and Sixteen. Not only did we mix and mingle in the schools but we also enjoyed revivals at Black Water, St. John's, New Harmony, Little River, and Milligan Ridge.

We enjoyed outside sports in all of the schools in these areas. When we had a new gym, everything was even more enjoyable. A few days before the reunion, I spoke with Ron Jones who said he had walked from Shady Grove to Black Water. It was a long walk but not as long as Wayne Tucker's who walked from Sixteen to Black Water High School because he wanted to be a member of the Class of 1940.

Many of our classmates are no longer with us. Noticeably absent were two who had never missed a reunion -- Violet Alexander, the last of the Black Water Belles, and Jerry Caery.

Former Black Water principal Fred Justus and son, Fred, Jr.

Still living are Carroll Waddell and Nella Simpson Lee of the Class of 1941 and Kathryn Williams and Mildred Hinson of the Class of 1942.

Pastor William Piercy extended a welcome and gave the invocation. Morris Simpson, Jr., who directed the congregational singing, was accompanied by pianist Trudy Hatcher.

The Eddie and Annie Carey family had the most members present. What a joy it was to see so many of the Careys coming from all over Arkansas, Missouri, and Colorado once again to renew their memories of the people and the place where they had spent their youth at the school and the church!

During the time of the fun singing of "Reuben and Rachel" and "Billy Boy," Willie and Jennie Mae led the women; Brother Piercy and Morris, Jr. led the men.

Featured speakers were Laura Meacham Hutton and Vance Waddell. Both brought back memorable moments about friends and basketball games. Before Vance spoke, the emcee reminded the group of Vance's brother Carroll's joke that was published in The Herald.

Donald Lasater -- "Dad, will you please help me find the common denominator in this problem?"

Mr. Lasater -- "Good heavens, Son! Don't tell me they haven't found that yet. Why, they were looking for that when I was a boy!"

Preceding the roll call of those who had died since the 2011 reunion, the group sang "Just Over in the Gloryland" and "Where We'll Never Grow Old." Among the roll call were many of our basketball players. We'll really miss their stories about particular games and tournaments. The roll call included the following: Lloyd Short's wife Ruby, Clarence Shockley, Anna Bell Simpson's mother, Lavern Morgan, Inez Whitney Lewis, Lester Albrecht, Betty Bray, Judith Frazier, Ellen Bray's husband Jimmy, Terry Donner, Mabel Short Gentry, John L. Atkinson, Jack Burgett, Louise Patton, Troy Scott, Bobby Scott, Willard Morgan, Vance Mace, Clara Rule, Gary Morris, Georgia Eubanks Lee, Weslie Crouse, Pauline Perry Ware, and Melvin "Bunky" Scott.

Love for all of these will remain in our hearts. After a silent prayer, the emcee quoted Bobby Scott's favorite poem, "Crossing the Bar."

Closing the afternoon program with the song "Blest Be the Tie," we looked up to see a Manila classmate arriving a little late. Willie Faye Dobbs never breaks a promise. Coming to the reunion was important to her, but she had to attend the Veach reunion at Lost Cane before she could come to Black Water.

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