Monday, March 5, 2012

My Awesome 60th HS Class Reunion Report

Yes, my loyal and faithful readers out there in the vast wilderness and hinterlands of Nowhereland==>Billi Pod is back in The Big Apple, The Greatest City In The World.

When I opened the door to PHC last night at 6:30pm I ended my AWESOME adventure down in Bartow, in PFC aka Polk F**king County, in celebration of the 60th High School Class Reunion of the 1952 Class of Summerlin Institute. Make no mistake about it, I had a great time with classmates, friends and family and I am sooooooooooooo glad that I was able to be there. AWESOME!!

I did a lot of things and stuff while there and that will be my excuse for not posting timely on this blog. Yes ... yes ... I know ... it is a lame excuse ... but it is what Billi Pod is going to use ... so just live with it as loyal and faithful readers are supposed to do ... OK? Well ... now ... lets move on (or perhaps back) to a summation of things and stuff I did since the last posting ...

Thursday - The adventure started when I woke up at 5:00am. The flight down was delayed so we were about an hour late in our arrival time. No problem though. Picked up my rental car, a small black Mazda something (no VW Beetle was available) and headed to Bartow.

After checking into The Holiday Inn Express, I basically chilled about a couple of hours and then it was time to head over to Winter Haven to see my new great-granddaughter, Saylor, and her Mom, Gina. Saylor is now almost 2 months old.

I guess the picture pretty much says it all.

Yep, IMHO this photo makes the whole trip an AWESOME success.

I had planned to take Gina out to dinner. We were joined by my son Bill III aka The Bill, who drove down from Orlando, and youngest grandson Chris Falletta aka Topher, who worked us into the end of his workday schedule.

We ate at a Chili's and it was just fun for the four of us to be together.

Yes ... it was a long and emotionally draining day, but I mean that in a totally positive way.

Friday - In the morning I drove around Bartow and the vicinity playing the game of ... “hey, I remember that house, I used to play/visit there ... but ... who with? Who lived there?”

Had an opportunity to visit with Blanche Bryant, my trusted and highly professional travel agent, and her business colleague, Cindi Eastman Beahm.

At noon I met up with Maggie and Jim Vandewalker for lunch at Fresco's Bakery & Bistro in the historic section of downtown Lakeland. We were joined by Tim Strickland and Bob Young. It was fun.

Then it was time for the first of my reunion activities, dinner with classmates and their family at The Peace River Country Club.

I think I should give just a bit more details about the class. I had previously posted that we had 72 classmates. I was corrected on that number ... it was 73. As far as we now know, 50 of us are still alive. Of that number 31 responded, and 18 attended at least one of the reunion events. Most of those who responded that they wouldn’t be in attendance cited major health issues as the reason.

Again ... I don’t purport to be a number-cruncher ... so if I made a mistake with these stats ... my bad ... please feel free to correct me and I promise to post it on this blog ... anyway ...

The majority of our class has been together since lst grade (or before). I didn’t join them until the 3rd grade.

We all owe LaVerne McCall a major shout-out for her efforts in bringing this event into fruition. Without her it never would have happened. She was assisted by Janet Hartsaw Rogers.

I also must recognize our class president, Fred Whitaker, who was at every event even though he has major health issues that made it extremely difficult for him to remain on his feet for any period of time. Fred’s attendance was a direct product of the efforts of his wonderful wife, Gwen, and his son Billy.

OK ... moving on ... my date for this event and all of the others was Jennie Swearingen Humphrey, who drove down from Ocala.

The dinner was fun and, as might be expected, we did a lot of catching up and reminiscing.

Ahem ... a certain number of my classmates were somewhat underwhelmed with Billi Pod and his blog ... oh well ... some things never change do they?

At least no one offered a "prayer session" over ... “the sinful lifestyle of one of our classmates” ... as was done at one of our prior reunions.

Saturday - got up early for our classmates only breakfast at 8:30am at the restaurant at The Bartow Golf Course. I think there were about 15 classmates in attendance. We were joined by Bubba Smith, former County Commissioner and County Executive, who was in the class of ‘53.

This time we had the opportunity to do some in-depth reminiscing and recalling. We basically split into guys and gals tables ... and you often heard: ... no, I didn’t say/do/ that ... are you sure that was me? ... no, I don’t remember it happening like that ... what did you just say? ... how many pills do you take? ... etc. etc. etc.

It was fun ...

In the afternoon I went to the 41st Annual Blooming Arts Festival in downtown Bartow and it was nice, as was the weather.

The festival was only a couple of blocks from where I grew up, 350 S. Carpenter, so I walked by and took several pictures, which I will share with you. Why I don’t know, but I just want to.

My family lived in this house from 1943 until 1978 when my Mother, Ruby, died.

Our final reunion event was at the posh residence of Sonny and Joyce Griffin, who have been gracious hosts for similar events at previous reunions. The food and their hospitality was awesome.

You know, it was a nice ending ... but it was also kinda sad (at least for me) because the thought(s) kept running through my head ... will I ever see these folks again? Who will be here for our next reunion? OMFG==>will I?

The picture is of LaVerne (seated), Jennie (left) and Janet (right).

So there you have it my loyal and faithful readers who have stayed with me through way too much detail.

The bottom line is ... I am soooooooo glad I went down to Bartow and I will keep going to future reunions until I am the last person standing ... Yes, Cotton Sumner ... Bill Norris aka Billi Pod is planning to be the last person standing!!

OK ... moving on now ...

Tonight’s entertainment event is ...

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR - “The Broadway revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s dramatized rock-opera version of the last 7 days in the life of Jesus of Nazareth.” (Broadway - discounted TDF ticket).

The show is in early previews and the buzz is mixed. I am looking forward to seeing it.

So, my loyal and faithful readers ... will post this and then do some much needed errands and stuff and ... maybe ... have time to watch the Yankee/Phillies preseason game on MLBN.


Billi Pod

“Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you.”


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