When I saw the post on Facebook go up… the first thing that came to mind were the times of countless laughter, the friends I had been with from elementary school to graduation, and the music from our time. I have to admit I had songs running through my head Like Baby Got Back, Vanilla Ice’s hit, to Hit Me Baby One more time, a little Juvenile, and a dozen other artist. The summers were spent at Wet &Wild, Celebration Station, Six Flags, Hollywood movie theater, and the local Bennigans. I was always biased after trying the donuts at Bakery by George, which still gives bakeries a run for their money. I was excited.
The cool thing back then was to stay in school, make good grades, and prepare for the next chapter of your life such as college, the military, or a technical school. The schools in Garland Independent School District were all diverse and Rowlett High School was the newest school on the block. We didn’t run or shy away from being different, we had known so many of these people longer than our lifelong friends today.
This past weekend many of us were reunited by Freda Hobson-Biggers, Corvette Searcy Epting, and Shava Echols. They found a central location that just happened to be owned by one of our very own alumni. Candra Boykin who is now Candra Bryant is the owner of 1011 Grill off of Lamar and Corinth. They have owned the establishment for almost three years now and it offers a variety of entertainment from live music, spoken word, We Are Worthy Women, assisting the homeless, and has been known to have the best wangs in Dallas. Bravo dear.
An unofficial reunion couldn’t have come at a better time. Summer is winding down as the kiddos just completed their first week back to school and everyone could use some time to unwind. It is still 100 degrees or warmer outside and you never need a good reason to see and catch up with those from your youth. We danced, we ate, we drank, we talked, we laughed, and more than anything just enjoyed one another’s company. Classes from 1994 to 2002 came out shaking hands, giving hugs, and making a night go from a reunion to a night to remember. The priceless countless smiles when people saw someone they haven’t seen in a while or years, but were almost jumping with joy to see that person or group of people (I like to say almost clapping their feet).
I have to say GISD (Garland Independent School District), you did get out and support about 50 to 60 strong. I have to say our diversity was not shown in the representation. It does not take away from who came out, but says a lot in reference to the number of people that decided to not even respond. I can’t be sure if it was the establishment location, prior plans, your group wasn’t going, or you really just don’t care. We maybe Facebook friends, but we are really just associated in your mind when it comes to getting together where everyone won’t come out to. I would love to take a poll on why so many didn’t even respond. I see people share about what Josh Samples is doing with his product and many others… but it just kind of hit hard to me as a person generally analyzing as to why this is. I don’t want to call it a race thing, because I know. We all have friends of other races and nationalities and I am only saying be honest with yourself. If there were people you couldn’t be sure would be there that you wanted to catch up with; would you have come out? I will say, there was not one Caucasian, Asian, or Indian counterpart that showed up even from the Colonel family. This event was not about discussing the Confederate flag, the plantation on South Garland’s cafeteria wall prior to us getting there. It was about supporting our alumni that are doing positive things and catching up. The venue had food, drinks, and great music. I have to admit I was so taken back. I can’t speak for other school, but I can speak as a former Colonel. We graduated with 400 some odd people of different races, so the fact that the crowd that showed for this event was Black, Mexican, and Hispanic. Anyone would have to ask… did you graduate in Garland recently or when you said diversity was truly running down those halls? I am ok if you unfriend me, if you don’t speak, if you comment on the South Garland alumni page about this. Know that is because I know my heart and if something was going on for any of the people I was excited to see… I would do my best to attend. I wouldn’t have to know if Candra, Ramelle, Brandi, Shava, or anyone else was going. However, that is just me. I have SG pride, but I sure tell you, I had to shake my head. I remember when this was first discussed and Candra mentioned how she would love to see all these people and they were all of different backgrounds and ethnicities coming together like we used to and just having a good time. I just knew there had to be a wedding this weekend or something huge since so many didn’t even respond, nor comment. However, I am not seeing that either. I am not speaking to those that are pregnant, new parents, or newly married as I understand those life events can mean these events aren’t so easy to make it to. I must say there are some people that just support for supporting and some of those are Jared Morgan, Stacy Jones-Carter, Jennifer O’Dell-Davis, Rubann Calder Stuever, Brandy Messmer Travis, and Ashley Johnson.
So take from it what you may, know you missed one chance to catch up and connect. I am sure there will be more and I hope that as these are thrown out there we look at anyone’s business we can support. I know Myranda LeMaster has just opened a bar and grill, Beau Wagner has a band, Aaron Brezik used to be in bowling leagues, Misty Bartlett still plays soccer, etc… let’s see where we can get out and support our alumni as one day one more Colonel or Garlandite will no longer be anything but a memory. So before we are getting together with tears in our eyes and wondering why no one knew what was going on… let’s mend those fences and be the force that we were back then. I know we can’t get out all together all the time, but it is something I think many have expressed interest in. So before we get more news like we did freshman year of collage about Terry Kennedy, and in the last few years of Jude Eversley, Isaac Medlin, and Tanisha Daniels passing, let’s put action behind it and no longer let it just be a thought. One day, I’ll take my last breathe and I can only hope you know anything I said or wrote was about making an impact and a difference to bring awareness.
Thanks to those that at least responded or advised they hated they couldn’t make it. It was more than I could capture in here and I took the opportunity to try and bring awareness. I sure hope it helps.