The Cleveland High Class of '42 gathered at Stephenson Barbecue Aug. 23, marking the 25th time the class has met over the last 70 years. Pictured are (front row, from the left) Myrline S. Watson, Mae Belle C. Gully, Bessie Joe Johnson and Mary Lee Williams; and (back row, from the left) Glenn "Jack" Johnson, Wilbert Ennis and Wilbert Coats.
The summer of ’42 has been immortalized in movies and through classic tunes from big band greats like Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and others.
It was a troubling time when young men who received their diplomas also faced the possibility of being drafted and shipped off to war. Still it had to have been an exciting time for the senior class at Cleveland High School.
Now, 70 years later there are still a few members of that class left who can get together and relive or at least remember their high school days.
Aug. 23 they gathered at Stephenson Barbecue to do just that. The gathering included Wilbert Ennis, Glenn “Jack” Johnson, Mae Belle C. Gully, Bessie Joe Johnson, Mary Lee Williams and Myrline S. Watson.
“We had 42 in our class picture,” remembers Watson. She noted none of the teachers who appeared in their class photograph is still alive to celebrate with them.
And the gather gets smaller and smaller. Watson said some of the classmates who did not attend this year included Edna Earle Weeks who lives in Asheboro. Other surviving classmates missing were Helen Britt and Myrtle Rose Hollingwort. She said Hollingwort moved out of state.
“A few have lost tract of us,” Watson said. Many have passed away. “We lost J. P. Wiggins and J.Y. Baker in 2012.”
Elsie Wiggins brought her daughter Arlene with her. Bessie Joe’s niece, Tonya Benson came with her and Watson’s daughter Joy brought her mother to the reunion.”
“Mary Lee’s friend, Ernest Holder played his guitar and we had a sing along. Ennis lives in Charlotte and had a driver, Wilbert Coats. Another classmate’s son Eddie was his driver. Jack Johnson had his wife Lou.”
It’s not clear how many more reunions there will be for the class of ’42. The classmates have gotten together 25 times during the last 70 years according to Watson.