TO THE BLUE FOREVER
Fleeting Time Has Borne Them Far From The Hallowed Halls of Lanier - Sidney Lanier 60th Reunion - Class of ‘56
We entered the “hallowed halls” of Lanier in September, 1953 with some trepidation. The massive structure looked more like a college than a high school. There were approximately 2,000 of us milling around, trying to find the right place to be. We had come from smaller junior high schools which served certain sections of Montgomery. But this? This was out of our comfort zone. This was an amalgamation of all sections of Montgomery; Baldwin area, Cloverdale area, Capitol Heights area, Dalraida, Chisholm, Highland Gardens, West End, Ridgecrest, Snowdoun, Hope Hull, Pike Road. What an order. How would we get along with these people?
As the school year progressed, we felt more comfortable with the diversity of students. Oh, there may have been a fight or two between guys from Capitol Heights and from Cloverdale. But, the pugilists soon became friends. It was really quite nice to make friends with people from all walks of life. Many became life long friends; me and Bobby Jolly, Donald Harbin and Bud Meads, Sid Dawkins and Frank Myers, Wink Conner and Dudley Calhoun, just to name a few. We would have never known each other but for Lanier.
The beautiful campus of Lanier High School that we see today received its first graduating class in 1929. The original building cost more than one million dollars. Remember that’s 1929 dollars. It was so well constructed that it would take nearly 100 million dollars to duplicate today. The building is obviously impressive, but the heart of Lanier beat through the halls, the classrooms, the athletic fields, the drill fields, the various clubs and societies that built Lanier’s reputation. It was said during the thirties, forties, fifties and sixties that a high school degree from Lanier was equivalent to the first two years of college. Few students were turned down for entrance into college.
It is difficult to describe how we felt about “Dear Old Lanier.” There is a mystical reverence that the graduates seemed to have experienced at the “Court Street College.” That is why so many still gather for the reunions over the years.
The 60th reunion of the graduating class of 1956 was held on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Over 100 members of the class began trickling into town on Friday to participate in small groups of partiers. Most waited until Saturday night to really celebrate the occasion. A dinner party was held at the Montgomery Country Club which lasted until the last dancer was still perpendicular to the floor. The food was fabulous, the mingling of near 80 year olds was sophomoric, as it should have been. There were a few adult beverages consumed. Surprizingly there were some tee-totalers that were having just as good of a time.
For about four hours these old guys and gals felt like they were back in high school at the Sidney Lanier gym at their graduation dance. Nobody got out of hand, nobody passed out from the “serious” dancing. Everybody was rich and famous for a brief moment in time. Jane Turner and “Bootsie” Thorington were voted best dancing couple as they made an effort to duplicate the old “P. C. Bop.” In speaking with “Bootsie” a few days later, he vociferously complained of his legs being so sore that he could hardly get out of bed. This was probably a common problem with a lot of the “cool cats” that tried to turn back to yesteryear.
The 60th reunion of Lanier was a huge success thanks to those on the planning committee and to those who came from far and wide to once again celebrate an occassion that few have experienced; Sidney Lanier High School.