A fifty-year old hurricane touched down in Monroe twice on the weekend of August 28 & 29, spreading its colors of purple and white all about the Davis-Edwards House on Friday and the American Legion Hall on Saturday.  The occasion was the 50th anniversary of the Monroe Area High School Class of 1965, the largest class ever to graduate in its day.  Class members came from far and wide to observe this exciting event, with some classmates having not seen each other since graduation night, May 31, 1965.

          And what an event it was!  Beginning with the “meet & greet” event Friday evening for classmates and their spouses & friends to say hello and recant old days as they enjoyed the grounds and interior of the Davis-Edwards House.  The big celebration, held on Saturday evening had a grand total of 84 classmates attending, which was an impressive number, given the large group who graduated fifty years ago. The American Legion Hall, home to so many school functions: dances, DOM formals and class reunions, was festive with the colors of purple & white as classmates and guests entered and began reminiscing of school days long since gone.  Former classmate and Barbecue “King” Truman Robison and his family was in charge of our dinner and we all had stupendous helpings of his famous Brunswick Stew, barbecue and slaw, topped off with delicious brownies and iced tea.  Now what better meal could be had for such a grandiose Southern occasion as this?

          It seemed as though the line at the door to receive our name badges and memory books never ended.  Since all of us had changed in the years since graduation, it was helpful to have our senior class photos on our name badges to help us recognize those we had not seen in years.

          But in no time at all the years were melting away as tales, stories, laughter and good times began echoing throughout the large dining room. Talk of old football games, dances, DOM’s, classes, teachers, club events, senior play and yes, graduation day were recalled as we tried for the life of us to figure out just where all the years had flown to that now landed us together again for our half century reunion.

          As with any reunion there were some folks who needed no name badge or identification; they were our guests for the evening, our former teachers: Mrs. Myrtle Shields, beloved second grade teacher to so many of us, Mrs. Annette (Braswell) Adams, long-time Home Economics teacher, Coach Ray Hicks, head football coach and school administrator, Mrs. Shirlene Huff, who taught many of us how to type, and Mr. John Redding, Vocational Agriculture teacher and Future Farmers of America sponsor.

          After a period of greeting, conversations, having our group photo taken and then enjoying our meal, classmate Steve Brown gave the group a “look back in time”, a time capsule, if you will, of the beginnings of our class with an overview of some Monroe history which fit in nicely with the presentation which ended with our graduation on May 31, 1965 from the Monroe Area High School Gymnasium. 

A photo booth, complete with an arch of purple balloons was available for those who wanted to capture these endearing moments with their friends to reflect back on in the coming days. A poignant and nostalgic display of  school memorabilia along with a memory table with flowers and a white candle in a crystal bowl honoring our classmates no longer with us was accompanied by a tribute entitled, “The Empty Chair” reminding us a chair will always be reserved in memory of those who have left our side.

Prior to the conclusion of the evening, a tribute to the teachers we had during our school years, entitled, “A Debt We Can Never Repay”, was presented and the teachers present were recognized with appreciation and gratitude.

When it seemed as though we were just getting started all too soon it was time to leave.  It was akin to being at a school dance when, after the last dance the lights came on brushing away all the magic and mystique of the evening. Reluctantly instead of saying “hello”, it was time to say “goodbye” amid hugs and promises to stay in touch and rounds of “let’s get together again real soon.”

This reunion, THE reunion we all looked forward to for so long, had come to an end.  But thanks to the Memory Book and dvd’s given to all the class members, we can instantly look back and regain some of the magic of the day when once again, the Purple Hurricane from 50 years ago swept back through Monroe reuniting the class of 1965 with memories, renewal of old friendships, good times and good fellowships along with a supreme appreciation of the school from which we graduated and received the best education provided for the time. These memories will stay with us until next we meet for another reunion. 

Leaving the American Legion Hall that Saturday evening, we could not help but remember (and some of us humming proudly) the words to our Alma Mater and what it still means to us all these many years later:

Oh, Monroe High, the best school in our land,

True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,

The true school strong and free,

And stand on guard, O Monroe High,

We stand on guard for thee.


O Monroe High, glorious and free,

We stand on guard,

We stand on guard for thee!

O Monroe High, we stand on guard for thee!


Oh, Monroe High, beneath thy shining skies,

May stalwart sons and gentle maidens rise

To keep thee steadfast through the years,

From now to eternity,

Our Father school, Our Mother school,

The true school, strong and free.