HOUSTON – Thirty-seven graduates of Houston High School received their diploma in 1949 and while life has carried them far away, their heart still calls them home once a year.
The Class of 1949 celebrated their 63rd annual reunion recently with the group gathering at Bridges-Hall manor in Houston to catch up on family news and see how the world has changed.
“These reunions have no official agenda but open with prayer, a memorial and calling of names of the 16 deceased members and a short business session,” said Joyce Bryant-Freeman. “In 2012, three honorary members were added to this unique group.”
Last month’s most recent reunion saw nine original members, three honorary members and 12 guests bring the total to 24 in attendance.
“Twenty-four out of 40 isn’t bad for a group this age,” said Freeman. “Needless to say in the 63 years the group has gone in every direction, but you can bet that those that can are in attendance at their annual reunion.”
And while the world has spun in a lot of different directions since 1949, this class still observes many of the rules and expectations of their school – there is no alcohol, no smoking, no cursing and no lewd conversation.
“The reason for this is the moral values instilled in us by our parents,” said Freeman. “We also had teachers that set the example.”
But the world has changed and the Houston High School Class of 1949 has changed, too.
“The old saying goes that time changes everything,” said Freeman. “Looking over the crowd at this 63rd reunion, you might say that is true.
“There is gray hair, dyed hair and no hair,” said Freeman with a grin. “Almost everyone has a hearing aid and several had walking canes.”
She told of classmates who lived on the Panama Canal and another who lived several years in Japan. Classmates traveled from Texas, Florida and Tennessee to be at this year’s event.
“One of the attendees had to get someone to drive them and one had several pills by their plate that had to be taken with food,” she added. “None of them looked old to me.”
One thing that has not changed is big smiles and lots of laughter.
The class has stayed surprisingly close. Freeman said this is the age group that still writes letters and talks on the telephone and she feels that personal contact has kept them connected.
“If God permits, we will be meeting again in 2014,” said Freeman. “Ya’ll come.”