By JACK CLARK
MT. VERNON — The echoes of the past can transcend time, if you allow them to.
This past weekend, the Mt. Vernon Township High School Class of 1976 held their 30-year reunion.
The ‘76 reunion began on Friday night with an informal get-together held at, of all places, the Granada Theatre on 9th Street in downtown Mt. Vernon. The venerable structure has been under-going a renovation of late, an effort to restore the theatre to close to its original appearance. The Granada proved to be a natural place for the gathering of so many individuals who had grown-up going to see the latest movies there. Of course, that wasn’t all that was going on at the theatre at the time.
“There were a lot of guys at the informal gathering at the Granada on Friday night who told me that they got their first kiss at the theatre,” said class member Joe Atkinson. “That’s what they remember most about the Granada.”
Classmate Dick Garretson joined Atkinson in the presentation of a program, following dinner on Saturday night at Green Hills Golf Club on old highway 15 east of Mt. Vernon. Following the presentation of awards and some reminiscing by Garretson, the group of 75-80 graduates, their spouses and a few guests from the classes of ‘73, ‘74 and ‘75, regaled each other with “stories” from the past.
Atkinson, who has resided in Phoenix, Ariz. since the early 80s, said that coming back to the King City for his class reunions is important to him.
“Well, it must be a little bit like salmon swimming back upstream to where they were born,” Atkinson said. “It’s more than just high school. I was born here, I have family here. I’ve lived in Arizona for 23 years, but I feel like my home is still here, my roots are still here. We have people here at this reunion from the east coast, the west coast and every time-zone in the lower 48 states. It’s a big effort for most of those people to come. Most of us at a 30-year reunion who don’t live close by have teenagers who either had to come along and didn’t want to go or we had to swallow hard and leave them at home. Most of us have full-time jobs at this stage. But, all of these people that came from far away did this because the reunion obviously meant something to them.”
Atkinson said that most would agree that those in attendance recognize their roots.
“I think that just about everyone realizes that a big part of who they are as adults was formed by that period between freshman and senior year at Mt. Vernon Township High School,” said Atkinson.
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