CHS Class of ’50 cleans up its memories

  • Clinton High School Class of 1950 alumni Ann Patton looks at the refurbished plaque listing the names of the class of 1950. - Ken Leinart

  • The Clinton High School Class of 1950 attending Friday’s reunion lunch at Harrison’s Restaurant are, back row from left, Argie Bell, Tony Jenkins, Barbara Ruble, Jim Thomp- son, Sonny Gill, Eugene Jenkins, Anna Belle King, and Ann Patton. In the front row are, Virginia Rose, Joyce Thompson, Mary Louise Carden, Lucille Wright, Juanita Roettger, Marilyn Portwood, and Wilma Minor. - Ken Leinart

They graduated 69 years ago and still like to hang out together.

In fact, after their 40th reunion they decided to meet every year.

The Clinton High School Class of 1950 has come together for picnics at Cove Lake, breakfast in familiar booths at Hoskins, dancing at Elks Lodge, barbeque at Freels Bend historic cabin, big band tunes at the Community Center (forever “the Rec Hall” for this group), a dinner cruise on Fort Loudon Lake, potluck at the Norris Dam pavilion, a Museum of Appalachia barn shindig, and their own 80th birthday party.

This year’s reunion, a luncheon at Harrison’s Restaurant on September 6, featured a special preview: The class roster plaque from Clinton Memorial Park, newly refurbished and updated. The city will reinstall the plaque soon.

The Class of 1950 had partnered with the City of Clinton in 1985 to help beautify Clinton Memorial Park and remember deceased classmates by planting trees in their honor. The bronze plaque listing the graduating class was also added to the brick pillar at the Main Street entrance of the slender greenway, which extends to the public library. A small star noted which classmates had been lost. Several trees and many stars have been added over the past 34 years.

The plaque was, however, getting a little hard to read. Six decades in the elements will do that.

But this year the Class of 1950 did something about it. The plaque was removed and cleaned.

Kenny King did the work. He said he started off with a very fine sand paper to get the worse of the buildup off the marker, then finished with a buffering cloth.

And it took a lot of buffering.

“It doesn’t quite look brand new ...” he said last Friday when the plaque was shown off he class.

Actually, it does.

Of the 97 students listed on the plaque, only 29 names remain un-starred. Their alma mater runs true: “Our strong bond can ne’er be broken, formed at Clinton High … time has brought unending friendship.”