HAMLET — Hamlet High School Alumni will host its annual Class of 1944 reunion in the National Railroad Museum and Hall of Fame, but this year there’s a twist — the reunion is open to any graduates from the classes of 1941 to 1972.
“All of this started before we had anything to do with it,” said Kay Cavendish. “Dr. (William R.) Williams had a lot to do with the National Railroad Museum, and he had the museum space available. Every year, it was just the Class of 1944, but it grew to include other classes because as you can imagine the Class of ‘44 is dwindling down quite a bit.”
Cavendish said the reunion is unlike any other in a number of ways.
“We don’t have the dancing or the music like they do at other class reunions,” she said. “It’s very low-key, but really nice. We have some cheese and wine, hors d’oeuvres. Then, we have a buffet meal. Judy Page at Seaboard Station caters it every time. People come in, stand around and drink some wine, have a meal, get in touch with people they haven’t seen in a long time.”
It doesn’t last very long, she said.
“I bring all my Hamlet year books that I have, so they have something to look at,” Cavendish said. “We look at old pictures and everyone tries to see if they know who the people in the pictures are. That’s always a lot of fun. And they’re all gone by 8:30. As long as we can continue to do it, we will.”
She said that preparing for the reunion, setting up tables and chairs in the main area of the museum, normally takes longer than the event itself.
“After setting that up, Judy brings her food in and caters it right there,” Cavendish explained. “We can seat about 50, and I think last year we had about 35. This year we are limited in space due to some renovations, and we have to know how many will be coming so Judy knows how many to prepare for.”
She added that having multiple graduating classes at the same reunion occasionally leads to charming, accidental outcomes.
“In some cases we have a mother who graduated one class and a daughter from another, and they’re at the same reunion,” she said. “One year we had a whole table of 10 from 1950. And another time, an entire family was represented. All of them were within the range so they all came. You never know who you are going to see.”
Cavendish said she has already sent out letters to everyone who attended last year, but added she would like for more people in the community to come and enjoy the reunion. Unlike traditional class reunions, she reiterated, this event is yearly and open to members of several graduating classes.
“And the way we remember it is, it’s always the Friday before the Seaboard Festival,” she said. “This is probably the 5th year I’ve been involved, but it was going on before then. It might have been around 2008 or 2009 when it started.”
The reunion is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 28 at 5:30 p.m.
Registration costs $20 per person. To register, make checks payable to E. Wilson Griffin in care of the National Railroad Museum and Hall of Fame, 120 East Spring Street, Hamlet NC, 28345. Checks should be received by Oct. 14.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.