Homecoming takes Crosby alumni back to simpler time

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

CROSBY &045; For those who grew up in the tiny Amite County town of Crosby, it’s like stepping into another time every year.

About 100 people traveled as many as 1,000 miles to attend Saturday’s Crosby Homecoming, a time of eating and fellowship held at the tiny town’s Carl Wilson Park for school alumni and former residents.

The event was been held since 1976 and has been held at the park every year since 1987. That’s when the Crosby Alumni Association raised enough money to build the park on the site of the old high school on Mississippi 33.

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Most who gathered for the homecoming said it is a time to catch up with old friends &045; and to sample more than 40 feet of potluck food, from fried chicken to Tater Tot casserole to red velvet cake.

But is also a chance to reminisce about what they said was a much simpler time.

&uot;There was a mutual respect for your teacher and your elders in general &045; not because we were forced to, that’s just the way we did it,&uot; said Johnny Wheat, a Class of 1952 member who traveled from Garland, Texas.

One measure of the honesty of students back then was that while the high school had athletic equipment anyone could check out any time of the day, no one ever stole any, to Wheat’s knowledge.

But most of all, Wheat said they treasure memories of Mr. Thompson, their English teacher during those days.

They cannot exactly remember his first name &045; they believe it might be James &045; but they remember the lessons he taught.

&uot;I didn’t realize what a good education I got until I went to college,&uot; Wheat said. &uot;The other students were flunking freshman English, but I didn’t know you could have problems with English, because he taught us so well.&uot;

&uot;He also taught me more about the Bible than anyone I ever knew,&uot; said Orilla Joseph, now of Natchez. &uot;And he would talk to you about things you were going through.&uot;

A time when even vandalism was rare, when every boy carried a pocket knife but fights were hardly heard of &045; those are the times Crosby alumni remember.

&uot;It was a quieter, easier time,&uot; said Lavon McCabe of South Carolina. He glanced through newspaper clippings and photos of Crosby High students and of the former lumber town in more prosperous times.

&uot;For one thing, there was discipline in the schools. And there weren’t the distractions of drugs and alcohol. Most of us went on to college and became solid citizens.&uot;

&uot;We rejoice that we have a good day to be together, to share happy memories of a good time,&uot; said Melba Johnson Greene, who mans the sign-in sheet and collects association dues at every year’s event.

&uot;It was just a good, wholesome time,&uot; Greene said, referring to her school days in Crosby, the town she still lives near.

And with those memories in common, she said, dozens of alumni gather each year to enjoy what has become a type of family reunion.