Residents, past and present, gather for reunion

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 23, 2000

CROSBY — The population of Crosby jumps significantly on the fourth Saturday of every April — the day the tiny Amite County town holds its annual homecoming celebration.

&uot;It’s for people who graduated here, who attended school here at all, … for anyone who lived here or just wanted to come, for that matter,&uot; said Frances Orso, president of the Crosby Alumni Committee.

So on Saturday, as it has every year for the last 15 years, the committee hosted its homecoming picnic at a park located on the site where Crosby’s first high school sat.

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Everyone with a connection to Crosby is welcome, Orso reiterated, adding that the one-day celebration is never hard to find. &uot;Crosby is just this street, that street and the next one down,&uot;&160;she said with a laugh. &uot;That’s about all there is to the town.&uot;

According to the 1990 Census, there are about 465 people in Crosby — and 99 were at the homecoming celebration, although Orso said relatively few of those in attendance are people who still like at Crosby.

Instead, they came from all over Mississippi — Natchez, Clinton, Vicksburg, Petal — and from several other states, including Alabama, Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee.

&uot;We’ve got to come back to see these other hoodlums,&uot;&160;said James Webb, now of McComb, eliciting laughs from wife, Bonnie Bass Webb, and her sister, Leona Bass Hawkins – classes of ’50 and ’52, respectively.

Neta Crum Casillas actually came back home to help her sister, Doris Mason, take care of their mother, who is in her 90s.

But Casillas, who now hails from Santa Monica, Calif., still qualifies as the person who traveled from the farthest point – and she was still thrilled to see everybody there.

She saw a slew of relatives and classmates and even a former teacher and the woman who used to drive the school bus.

&uot;My family moved away when I&160;was in 10th grade, and I actually graduated from high school in Baton Rouge, but I&160;still have so many memories here,&uot;&160;said Cavallas, adding that she was born just up the road from the park.

Besides seeing so many friends, Cavallas’ favorite part of the celebration was a speech Phil McCarty, an educator who now lives in Clinton, gave on memories from the town’s past. From the years she spent in the Baptist church’s Girls’ Auxiliary group to the old ice house to carrying her sisters’ textbooks home from school, Cavallas said, &uot;that speech just reminded me of everything.&uot;

The buffet has also become the celebration’s centerpiece, with just about everyone bringing a potluck dish.

Chicken and sausage and roast beef, potato salad and baked beans and sandwiches, rolls and rice and deviled eggs filled tables that ran the length of a pavilion built especially for the homecoming. A hand-lettered sign pointed to an array of sweets that took up a small table and half of a larger one — strawberry cake with whipped cream, banana pudding, pineapple-filled coconut cake, to name a few.

At Crosby’s homecoming, seconds are encouraged, thirds are not unheard of and desserts are made for sampling.

But the friends and relatives one sees at the annual event are the real attraction, said Ernest Landrum, class of ’44.

&uot;You come here to see your old friends, to remember the friends and fellowship you had when you were in school,&uot;&160;Landrum said.

&uot;When you’re here,&uot;&160;Bonnie Webb observed, &uot;it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago.&uot;