Class of 1969
Ackerman, Mississippi

Our Teachers
33 Yr. Reunion
40 Yr. Reunion
In Memorium


33 Yr. Reunion

   Front Row: (LtoR) Barbara Black Nelson; Sharon McKnight Stevens; Peggy Perry Goza; Connie Black

   Second Row: Jimmy Murphy; Danny James; Danny Brunt; Keith Hunt; Doug Burney; Wayne Pritchard; Buddy Smith; Ronnie Reid

   Third Row: Linda Kay Burdine Pollard; Glenda Brooks Whitmire

   Fourth Row: Debbie Oswalt Taylor; Cherry Sandifer Sims; Diane Rhodes Taylor; Shirley Ray Turner

   (Not pictured: Derry Brunt)

AHS Class of 1969 Reunion
August 17, 2002
Candlewick Inn
Pap's Place Restaurant

 By Cherry Sandifer Sims

     Sounds of laughter could be heard drifting down Cochran Street from the Candlewick Inn last Saturday when nineteen members of the Ackerman High School Class of 1969 got together for a long overdue class reunion. It took a long distance phone call all the way from the West Coast to get the ball rolling for the event to become a reality. President of the Class of 1969, Doug Burney, made a phone call to Buddy Smith and within a matter of weeks, plans were forming to bring the group together.

     Buddy had been instrumental in setting up a website for the class, sending letters and e-mail messages to 1969 graduates, and through updated contact information, was able to get the word out about the reunion. The date was set for Saturday, August 17, 2002 and the Candlewick Inn reserved for the group. The emails flew back and forth over the next weeks as excited class members planned to get together (some had not seen each other since graduation day!)

     The day arrived at last and the members began to arrive at the Inn, many accompanied by their spouses. After the initial, “I wouldn’t have recognized you if I passed you on the street!” “You still look the same!” “Hey, there sure are a lot of ‘old’ people in this room!” “When was the last time I saw you – graduation day? Can you believe it?” classmates shared what they were doing at the present time and where their lives had taken them. One had come from as far as Washington State and another from western Arkansas. Many had made Ackerman their home. Still others lived in various parts of Mississippi. They spoke of their families - their children, and grandchildren and of humorous and sad incidences in their lives.                                            



     As talk quickly turned to recalling stories of the antics of those high school days, the floor of the Inn shook as the laughter rolled. The real truth about some rumored tales will remain a mystery –embellishments through much telling made it hard for consensus to be reached as to what really happened, while other true antics were revealed for the first time!



     Memorabilia covered one of the tables and groups of friends read copies of The Arrow, The Choctaw Plaindealer, 1969 Ackerman Smoke Signals (annual), and looked over various mementos of those days when every guy had hair (not gray either) and every girl was young and beautiful! Wonderful teachers, like Miss Erin Moss and Mrs. Ethel Brunt (recently deceased), were recalled with fondness and admiration for their lasting impact on the lives of the class of 1969. It was a bittersweet day as well, as classmates viewed a candlelit display of the pictures of classmates who are deceased: Bob Files, Jane Robinson Hamby, Karl Harris, and Carol King Montgomery.



     After a marvelous meal at Pap’s Place, classmates made their way back to Candlewick Inn, where they continued to nibble on goodies brought by the local classmates and where good conversations could be heard in most any room. As one by one or couple by couple, a few class members made their departure, the remaining friends gathered on the front porch as the summer heat lifted just a little. Nine thirty found the group making their last goodbyes and promises to keep in touch by e-mail and to not allow too many years pass before getting together again. Hugs were exchanged, the Inn tidied up, and the memories packed away until some future time when members of the Class of 1969 will find their way back to Ackerman once again with anticipation that members who they have yet to see will be there.



Peggy Perry Goza  "Fellow classmates and friends, I am go glad we could visit and see one another again at our 33rd class reunion. My heart was very heavy because of Jane's absence with us, and I was trying so hard not to cry and cry so I did not say what I wanted to. Now that Buddy has asked us to reflect back on that Saturday - August 17, 2002 - I would like to remind everyone not to take each other for granted. Whether it is your spouse, family, or friends, we should always show our appreciation and love for each other. God bless each of you."



Jimmy Murphy  "It was great seeing everyone in Ackerman. The time of sharing with each other on present and past events was great. May the Lord continue to bless each of you."



Linda Kay Burdine Pollard  "It was almost like we had never been separated 33 years. We were all 17 again ,talking and having a great time. I want to do it again this week-end. Love you all."


Danny Brunt  "Only our group could come up with the idea to have a 33rd class reunion. I have had several people to ask me, 'Why are you having a 33rd class reunion? Why not a 35th.?' My answer has been that our group is a little different. Always has been and probably always will be. I came August 17th with memories of my fellow classmates from 33 years ago. I left that reunion still with those memories but also with new ones from that afternoon and evening together. Our class came together many years ago, some of us in the first grade, and since that time have been able to share many memories. I feel fortunate to have been a part of the Class of 1969."



Debbie Oswalt Taylor  "Hey, all you '69 graduates! Linda, I agree with you---I could get together again this weekend. I had a wonderful time. Peggy, you are so right about not taking others for granted. Karl Lee, Bob, Carol, and Jane were missed ( by us all). The classmates that could not (or would not) come were the ones that really missed out. Let's start talking to them and encouraging them to come to our next get together. Thanks to Doug and to Jimmy for making a big effort to be there. I realize everybody does not live as close as I do. It was great to see all of you!"

Doug Burney   "I want to say that it was one of the most wonderful things that we could have done. To be together again after all these years. It was so good to see everyone. There has been so many things that have happened in the last 33 years, but to have been back together again was wonderful. When I got back to Washington my wife asked me how the reunion went. I tried to explain to her the camaraderie that we had back then. It was so neat to see that we haven't lost it. I tried to explain to her what it was like to grow up in Ackerman. The only way I could describe it was to call it "Mayberry". I say this in the utmost respect because we had direction from our teachers, yet they allowed us to be ourselves. The life we had in 1969 Ackerman was carefree and fun. Times have changed so much in America but I still believe in the spirit of our offspring. God bless you, each and every one."


Class of 1969
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