Seventies reunion set to begin Friday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 15, 2010

NATCHEZ — The old adage “the more the merrier” will be on display during this weekend’s Reunion of the 70s.

The reunion is for all classes from 1970 to 1979 from both public and private schools in the Miss-Lou. The reunion begins Friday evening and runs through Sunday afternoon.

Organizer Matilda Stephens, a 1975 graduate of South Natchez High School, said the group gathering came about when someone mentioned that a reunion for elementary school classes would be a fun way to reunite friends who attended elementary school together but attended different high schools.

“When we all started school, there were basically no private schools,” Stephens said. “We talked about how good of friends we were and the good times we had playing together when we were younger.

“When high school started, that was about the time the everyone split and some people stayed in public school and some went to private schools. We were all still good friends. Natchez had much more of a small town feel then.”

The reunion has been a big hit — bigger than Stephens and her co-organizers Susan Brewer Hicks and Loretta Honnoll Ross expected.

Close to 400 people have already registered, and Stephens said she expects a large crowd of walk-ins once the festivities begin.

“It has grown incredibly and is literally growing each day,” Stephens said. “I think the only state that will not be represented is Hawaii, and we have people coming from other countries. I know there will be people there who are living in France, England and Canada.”

Ross said thanks to Facebook, the organizers were able to reach many of their classmates.

“You can find so many people on Facebook, and the idea of bringing everyone back together triggered a lot of old memories,” she said. “It really grew from that.”

Ross is a 1975 graduate of Trinity High School.

On-site registration begins at 4 p.m. Friday at the Natchez Grand Hotel. Friday night there will be a meet and greet social beginning at 7 p.m. and a fundraising music showcase beginning at 9 p.m. at Bowie’s Tavern.

The proceeds from the showcase and from the silent auction will benefit Natchez Humane Society, Sunshine Shelter and Pleasant Acre Day School.

The silent auction items include two orchestra seats for a Broadway performance of the winner’s choosing, four box seat tickets to a Houston Astros baseball game in August, a weekend beach trip, a hunting trip to Rifle Point as well as many smaller items, Ross said.

“Natchez is in need,” Ross said. “We have all benefited from growing up in Natchez and getting a good education. We all want to give back to the community that gave so much to us.

“As individuals we might not be able to change a lot, but as a group we can make great changes in the community.”

Silent auction items will be on display at the Natchez Grand beginning Friday night. The public is invited to bid on auction items.

Saturday’s events include a morning golf tournament at Beau Pré and a dance at the Natchez Convention Center to begin at 8 p.m.

“There will be quite a few staff members at the Saturday night event,” Ross said. “We are really excited to have some of the people who taught us to come and get to thank them.”

The reunion concludes with a brunch at the Natchez Grand at 9 a.m. and a lake party at 12:30 p.m.

For more information contact Stephens at 601-597-7485.