From left, 1946 members Mary Catherine Haley, Lena Gibson, Jean Hann Pedigo, and 1947 member Martha Gladden.
For the last 13 years, the Andrew Lewis High class of 1946 has meet each year for yet another class reunion. This year is the 63rd since their graduation, and most of them are still going strong and are gearing up for the next one this Olde Salem Days weekend.”After the 50th we decided we kind of liked eachother after all these years,” joked Jean Hann Pedigo. Their half-centennial anniversary was held at the Hotel Roanoke, and almost every year since has been at the Salem Civic Center.
“Anything you could think of, somebody in our class has done it,” Pedigo said. Theirs was the first class to graduate after World War II and they’ve been everything from doctors, lawyers, teachers, to engineers and many more professions. Pedigo worked as an aeronautical engineer with North American Aviations and with the beginnings of NASA.
Their classmate Brewster Milton Robertson is an author, and he takes the class out for dinner to Mac n’ Bob’s 5 p.m. Friday night September 11. He reads 11 a.m. Saturday, September 12 at the Raleigh Court Library meeting room. The class dinner on Saturday night is now always at the Salem Civic Center.
This year, Robertson will read from his latest work “Gone to graveyards: a novel of the Korean War.”
The class of 1946, mostly 79 to 81 years old, has lost 55 of its 146 members. Even the last two to three weeks, said Mary Catherine Sellers, they’ve lost several members. Some of the first to go included Joe Brogan and Carlene Grubb, she said, as she flipped through the pages of her yearbook.
But all in all “we’re a pretty hearty bunch,” said Pedigo. And they keep adding in folks from time to time. All of the members from the Andrew Lewis classes of the 1940s are welcome to attend. Martha Aldhizer Gladden from the class of 1947, as well as a few other reunion attendees, sometimes bring one of their children along, too, to catch up with friends.
Keith Edmunds, a Lewis Gale physician who died just before the reunion about three years ago, was one of the most insistent that they have the reunion annually, because any class member “could step off the curb and be hit by a bus any time,” said Gladden.
The 1940s classes can remember when there was no indoor plumbing at their elementary schools – Lena Mitchell Gibson and Pedigo had two outdoor privy eight-seaters at Washington Heights. Most of them had to walk to school at one time or another – and if they lived in Salem city limits, there were no buses.
Now, class members come from Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, California, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Florida, and from North and South Carolina, most of them every year as long as they can travel, by air or road.
For more information about the reunion (everyone should have RSVP’d for Saturday night by now, however), contact Mary Catherine Sellers at 774-0246.