1964 Bulldogs Hold 60th Reunion

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

Above photo: Top Row: Don Conaway , Darryl LaRue, Don Driskell, David Cook. 3rd Row: Sharon Taylor, Mary Elizabeth Craven Stomps, Joy Bowman Fulp, Leon Lowery. 2nd Row: Paul Haley, Kathy Lansford Ward, Lana Shaw, Dorothy Langley Ledford, Roger Erwin, Michell McDonald Front Row: Tommy Driskell, Barbara Pike-Land, Marilyn Rosson Smith, Shirley Reynolds Weisinger, Virginia Cook Lewis, Oma Lea Brent Knutson, Martha Bass Cook, Jim Turner Not pictured, but also attending: Christene Kellett McLaughlin and Karen Lansford (Photo: Ginny Turner)

CROCKETT –  If you could travel back to 1964, you might just be shocked at how different the world truly was. LBJ was President, after the recent assassination of President Kennedy. Gas was 25 cents a gallon. A new group from England, The Beatles had made their way to America. There were brand new toys out on the market, such as G.I. Joe, the Easy Bake Oven, frisbees and a plastic version of Mr. Potato Head. 

Closer to home, 71 Crockett Seniors were graduating high school that year, never imagining many of them would attend their 60th graduation, which took place Saturday, June 22 at the home of Tommie and Jeannie Driskell. 

The group shared hugs and plenty of memories as they enjoyed some of the old cars on site. They remembered the old days and mourned 40 of their former classmates who have passed on and not able to make the reunion. The most recent was “Andy” Allen, whose recent tragic death is still under investigation. 

Crockett High School, Class of 1964

Attendee Jim Turner reminisced about their time together, noting the spot where the former high school stood, the tall trees growing there were planted while the gang was still in school. 

Turner said he was sad to know 40 of the group had passed on, but was happy to still have a big group, mostly close enough to the area to attend the celebration. 

Turner noted Crockett High School was still segregated when the group graduated, 10 years after the Supreme Court decision to integrate schools. 

“There are a lot of things we look back on and recognize may not have been as simple today as they were back then, but then there are other things that have changed for the better, and equal rights for all people is one of those things that has improved,” Turner noted. 

Turner recognized the group back then never conceived anything like cell phones or the internet, admitted the first time he ever heard of marijuana was some time later, when he went to college. 

1964 Bulldog graduates enjoy the recent reunion. (Ginny Turner)

While people think back on such times as ideal, Turner pointed out his generation ran a serious risk of being injured or dying from polio, until vaccines became available. 

“We have a lot of things that have improved,” Turner said. “I just think the world has become more complex and more challenging for today’s generation to have to navigate and deal with.”

Noticing one of the group’s pictures from their elementary school days, they noticed many of the kids wore no shoes. Some of the parents may have not been able to afford shoes, but some kids at that time came to school and ran and played barefoot. 

Turner noted one part of his high school days he hopes continues to the present. 

“I do think there’s still a sense of community in a smaller town. We often compare our younger years to young people who grew up in the big cities, and I think we had a closeness about knowing each other and being able to know each other for a lifetime,” Turner said. “I still have friends I grew up and went to school with, and that’s the kind of thing you value. And a small- town upbringing gave us that.”

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected] 

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