’60s graduates relive high school

Published 1:05 pm Wednesday, August 11, 2010

By GLADYS HODGE SHERRER/Community Columnist

The ballroom of Zamora Shrine Temple in Irondale was transformed for a sock hop, cheerleader pompoms and old 45 records decorating its tables. Restored cars from the 1960s lined one wall, chrome gleaming, reflecting images of admiring guests dressed in casual ’60s attire.

Former homecoming queens wore corsages, white mums with school initials and colors, streaming ribbons. A band made up of graduates jumped onto a stage. The ballroom rocked with songs from our past. Some guests sang along, “uh-Lou-uh-Lou-i-eee….” or “Louie, Louie” if you don’t remember the tune.

Attending were 300 of my closest friends from way back in another century and millennium. Elaine (Bullock) and husband Warren Buchanan, Dianne (Sims) and husband Phillip Dewitt of North Shelby County, Joseph Amari of Destin, Fla., and Jeannie (Busbee) and husband Burtis Cummings of Austin, Texas, were among the guests.

This event was the Sixties Reunion Party 2010, and included graduates from Hewitt-Trussville, Irwin, Banks and Woodlawn. For a few hours, we lived a wonderful dream, back within the gentle days of high school, but now we’re grownups, and wiser. We just came to celebrate.

Conversations were popping out everywhere, more talking than dancing going on, as folks caught up on divergent lives of fellow Baby Boomers, a hippie generation. These were a hopeful group of graduates back in the day, planning to make a difference in our world of conflict; many fighting in, and against, the Vietnam War, witnessing horrors and becoming change agents. Some were politicians with long and successful careers, others were businessmen, professionals. All are survivors, now reaching retirement age, still full of zip, spunk and energy.

Near the stage a horseshoe-shaped table held former teachers, now spectators of these previous students. Not chaperones to a dance, but looking upon the happy crowd and clearly feeling a sense of pride, sharing in their life accomplishments.

Finally the band began playing “Last Dance,” my cue to hug friends and find the exit door.

This party was like a happy dream, the kind you awaken from feeling a surge of joy. For one evening, we swung back in time, sharing an unforgettable moment, dancing to the sounds of the ’60s.

Reality likely hit some revelers the next morning, by way of twinges, too much twisting rusty joints. We’re sure to meet again soon.

Gladys Hodge Sherrer can be reached by e–mail at gsherrer07@yahoo.com.

2010 reunion guests (L-R) Jeannie Cummings and Elaine Buchanan celebrate at the sock hop.