Reunion of 70s brings a decade of classmates together

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 18, 2010

NATCHEZ — MiHyang and Jim Faulks returned this weekend to the place where their love story began.

The Faulks, who both graduated in 1977 from South Natchez High School, returned to Natchez for the Reunion of the 70s this weekend.

“We started dating after 10th grade and have been together ever since,” MiHyang said. “We went to Ole Miss together and have been married for 28 years.”

“I had my eye on her in 10th grade but couldn’t catch up to her until that summer,” Jim joked.

The couple, now living in Vicksburg, was back in town for the first time since their 15 year high school reunion.

“They found us on Facebook,” MiHyang said. “We only found out about it a month ago, but are so happy we came.

The reunion brought together classmates from graduating classes form 1970 until 1979 from all the local public and private schools.

Organizer Matilda Stephens said more than 400 people attended the Friday night meet and greet social that kicked off the reunion and more than 500 were at the Saturday evening dance and silent auction.

Bill Cox of Baton Rouge moved from Natchez in seventh grade but came back to Natchez for the reunion to see old friends.

He and friends, Jimmy Rawles of Houston, Texas and Paul Nosser of Little Rock, Ark., enjoyed Saturday evening with a guessing game.

“I came to see what people look like now,” Cox said.

“And how many people we could recognize and would recognize us,” Rawles added.

Stephens said seeing people so happy to reconnect with friends was more than worth all the work she and other organizers, Loretta Honnoll Ross and Susan Brewer Hicks, put in to bring the reunion together.

“Last night people were on their cell phones calling other people and telling them that they had to come,” Stephens said. “It is a wonderful, wonderful event.”

The idea of staging an inclusive reunion, Stephens said, was one way of bringing together childhood friends who didn’t necessarily attend high school together.

During the weekend, people have been reunited with classmates from elementary and junior high school who they haven’t seen in more than 20 years.

“We had two girls who had been best friends in seventh grade and didn’t know each other were coming to the reunion,” Stepehns said. “When they saw each other and started reminiscing they just cried and cried.”

As part of the weekend reunion, the attendees wanted to give back to the community they were raised in and participated in fundraisers to benefit local charities. A silent auction and music showcase raised money for The Sunshine Shelter, Pleasant Acre Day School and the Natchez-Adams Humane Society.

A canned food drive collected a non-perishable food items to be divided among local churches who run food pantries.

The event has been such a success that Stephens said people are already talking about the next big event.

“We have talked about trying to do this again every five or 10 years,” she said. “I definitely don’t want to do another reunion that isn’t inclusive of all the schools because this has just been so much more fun. It’s not that I don’t love my high school classmates, but we see each other often. This way so many people get to reconnect with people they haven’t seen in 20 years or more.”

The reunion continues today with a brunch at the Natchez Grand Hotel and a lake party on Lake St. John.