Alumni get-togethers are special — even for non-alumni


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By Reggie Ponder

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Last weekend I had a unique opportunity.

I was invited to attend Friday’s reunion reception for Elizabeth City State College’s Class of 1968, which was part of homecoming activities for Elizabeth City State University.

While members of the class were greeting each other and rekindling old friendships, Jane, Nathan and I had a chance to meet new friends, people we were getting to know for the first time.

I had spoken by telephone with Charles Singleton, the president of the class, but this was my first chance to meet him in person.

I enjoyed the time and was honored to be invited.

The class invited me and Professor Glen Bowman to the event and took a moment to thank us for informing the community about the Class of 1968 through articles in the newspaper.

It’s not the kind of thing you ever expect.

You certainly don’t write articles in order to get thanked.

In fact, I won’t go into detail here but let’s just say I have heard everything in the world other than “thank you” in response to many articles that I have written.

That’s just the way it works and there’s nothing wrong with that.

It is an unexpected joy, though, when something like this happens — when people make this kind of gesture in appreciation for something you have done.

And on top of everything else the event was just a blast. The music was great. I heard a lot of James Brown and Aretha Franklin. It was especially poignant to hear Aretha not long after she was laid to rest.

James Brown has been gone for a while but his music still lives on.

There was a lot of reminiscing, as is the way of class reunions.

There were one-liners, and in at least one instance an entire skit, that I couldn’t quite follow because they appeared to be built around inside jokes that were understood by members of the class but not necessarily by anyone else.

It was a true case of “you had to be there.” Since I wasn’t there, I didn’t get all the humorous references and may also have missed a serious point or two somewhere along the way.

That’s OK.

It all underscored for me how close the bonds are that hold together this class, and how much of an honor it was to be invited inside for an up-close view.

I actually had planned to attend homecoming last weekend at my own alma mater, Louisburg College, but I sensed this Class of 1968 reunion at ECSU was something special that I wouldn’t want to miss.

I’m glad I didn’t miss it.

Reggie Ponder is a staff writer for The Daily Advance.