2010 Reunion
Hamlet High School Class of 1960 50th Reunion
Hamlet, North Carolina

Welcome Address

Written and delivered by Bill Stubbs

"Lost in the 50's Tonight" Lyrics by Ronnie Milsap:

Close your eyes baby,
Follow my heart.
Call on the memories
Here in the dark.
We'll let the magic
Take us away
Back to the Feelings
We shared when they'd play

In the Still of the Night.
Hold me darling, hold me tight.
Shoo-doop, shoo-be do, doo-doop, doo
So real, so right.
Lost in the fifties tonight.

Welcome, Hamlet High School Red Rams, Class of 1960, spouses, and friends-to our 50th High School Reunion! It seems like only yesterday-and now, here it is, 50 years later. Tonight and this weekend, we have a "Few Precious Hours" to share, so let's "Get Lost in the Fifties Tonight" at our Sock Hop. Let's "Call on our Memories," so that we can remember and reminisce about those Fabulous Fifties and our times together. Our memory books are packed, so let's swim in the sea of nostalgia - "Let the magic take us away, back to the feelings we shared when they'd play, "In the Still of the Night."

It was during those Fabulous Fifties that we went from childhood to adulthood. Close your eyes:

  • Recall when we first entered Hamlet High School - the excitement and uncertainties as freshmen and how we progressed over the years right up to being confident queens and kings as seniors.

  • Remember the excitement at basketball and football games, and the memorable train trips to Lumberton and Sanford.

  • Recall when we paid our dimes to get into the sock hops in the Hamlet High gym and danced savagely and passionately to the most popular tunes of the day.

  • Recollect Lina Flynt Bauersfeld animatedly reenacting the witches' scene from Macbeth.

Also, recall:

  • When we hung out at the Hub Grill and Birmingham's Drug Store,

  • When we shot pool at Atkinson's Pool Hall,

  • When a '57 Chevy was everyone's dream car.to cruise, peel out, or lay rubber,

  • When we went "steady,"

  • When we dreamed of the Man in the Moon never a Man on the Moon,

  • When we described our music with numbers 45 or 78-not letters like CD, I Pod, or MP3,

  • When a cell was something we learned about in biology class - not a device we answered or made calls on; and

  • When a blackberry was a fruit you picked to eat in one of grandma's cobblers - not a high tech "smart" phone.

    In those Fabulous Fifties, we wore our hair with a flipped up "do," or in pony tails, duck tails, or flat tops. Now some of us have less hair and what we do have, has turned gray or white, or maybe in some cases even turned loose.

    Instead of singing "All Shook Up," "Diana," "Whole Lot of Shaking Going On," "At the Hop," "Get a Job," "Yakety Yak," "Kansas City," "Charlie Brown," or "Handy Man," we now probably sing or hum something more moderate like "Grow Old Along with Me, the Best Is Yet to Be."

    We came of age in the 1950's when Rock and Roll and the Space Age were being born. Little did we know back in those innocent years of the fifties - what a world of change lay ahead of us: a world of high speed technology, space travel, advancement in computers, and other unfathomable changes too innumerable to cite. Little did we know of the opportunities we'd be afforded or the paths our lives would take, or the people we would encounter, or the impact we would have on their lives and the impact that they'd have on our lives.

    Why is high school so important? Why have Roberta and others exerted such effort to bring our class back together at regular intervals over these 50 years? Edward Beardshear in an article, "The Big 50 High School Reunion," says it well:

"High school is the mother lode of group memories. It's the imprint and paradigm because that's where the roots are; and, for all time, that's the real connection. Face it, where we went to high school, that's home, the site of our coming of age and where adult life started. And the people? These are the indelible faces of those you started life with.
Why is my affection for all these people so extravagant, what are some reasons nobody forgets their high school years?

This is the place I grew up.
This is my spiritual home.
This was the place where I was safe.
This is the ground where the seeds of later life got sowed.
These were the people who were the anvils upon which I forged who I was and what I would become.
These people were the loving teachers of all the really important lessons of living and of life.

To forget your high school years is to amputate a major part of you. It isn't over, of course. The members of the Class of [1960] [you] teach me yet.

[You] teach me now of the importance of holding life in reverence.
[You] teach me the critical importance of enjoying the moment and living well in it.
[You] teach me the strength of humility, the futility of pride and the emptiness of achieving money and power and status at the
price of soul.
And most of all, [You] teach me gratitude.
God bless [you] all." *

Now 50 years later, the physical walls of our Alma Mater have been torn down - they are gone, but bricks and mortar do not a school make. We the 1960 graduates of Hamlet High School live on - a tribute and legacy to our parents, to our principal and teachers, and to each other.

We are fortunate to gather tonight to celebrate and remember our time together as classmates and friends at Hamlet High School. I want to thank each of you for being here. Your presence will enrich the entire reunion experience for all of us. I want to acknowledge and remember our classmates who are not here tonight. They are missing for various and sundry reasons. Some are caught up
with life's various demands that prohibit their attendance, and some may be simply too far away to make attendance feasible. And, of course, some are classmates who have passed on. Among these, are some who loved this class with a deep passion, who always attended the reunions despite long travel distances, and would have surely been here tonight, had it been possible.

I especially want to thank Roberta Walker Butler for her steadfast leadership over these 50 years in keeping our class together and in organizing and orchestrating our class reunions.

Roberta, we really appreciate you. Please stand and continue standing. (Applause)
I also want to thank the other members of the Reunion Committee. Please stand and continue standing as I call your names.
Diana Holland Faust, Yvonne Wilson Graham, Brenda Harte Holt, and Bert Russ (Applause)
Thank you for your contributions in making this 50th reunion truly outstanding.

Red Rams and friends, again we welcome you. We hope that you have a wonderful time as you visit with classmates and rekindle old friendships.

  * Edward L. Beardshear's material is used with direct permission from the author. His major work is the novel Some Die Mad.  Permission to republish it here has also been granted by SuddenlySenior.com where it also appears.

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This page added 12 August 2005  -  Last updated 07 May 2012