The students who graduated from North Augusta High School in 1956 were more than classmates. As children, many of them spent countless hours together outside the classroom playing games and becoming close friends.
"It's nice, because I have so many friends through the years that I've met in the places that I've lived who didn't have those connections growing up," said Margaret Willhelm Freyermuth.
The graduating class of 1956 reunited at Bobby's Bar-B-Q Buffet and Catering on May 19, then had brunch at the North Augusta Country Club on May 20 and dinner and dancing there in the evening.
"I think the older we've gotten, the more we've come to appreciate each other," Barbara Parr said.
A lot of time was spent reminiscing about "the way things were" 50 years ago, Ms. Willhelm Freyermuth said. She said former classmates discussed what they enjoyed most about growing up in North Augusta - its "innocent" small-town feel that allowed them to play together in the woods and ride bicycles around the area without any worries.
"We all agreed that we were lucky to have been here at that time, a time not belabored by all the problems of today," Ms. Willhelm Freyermuth said.
About 50 of the original 88 class members attended the reunion. Many came from out of town, and several had not been back to North Augusta since high school.
At the Saturday night dinner, candles were lit on a memorial table to remember the eight members of the class who had died.
The dinner also featured an event called How I Spent My Past Five Decades, during which guests were given three minutes each to share their experiences since graduation.
Most of the class members are now retired. A few are still working and some are volunteering. Despite their physical changes over the years, it did not take long for many graduates to reconnect with former classmates.
"Even for a lot of people that we saw that we didn't recognize initially, once we did, it was as if no time had gone by," Ms. Willhelm Freyermuth said.
This was the third reunion for the group. The first was at the 25-year mark, and the second just four years ago. The class plans to meet again next May.
Reach Lindsay Wilkes-Edrington at (706) 823-3332 or email@example.com.