Old friends gather as Class of #039;48

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 24, 2003

Old friends from across the country gathered at the Holiday Inn Saturday afternoon for the 1948 Troy High School 55-year class reunion.

Ann Gilchrist, who served on the planning committee, said she expected 56 former THS students out of the 108 who graduated to attend.

She said about 20 students from the old class still live in Troy and were able to help plan the reunion during their biannual breakfasts.

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"We're eager to on with things," Gilchrist said at the start of the festivities.

"We're already looking forward to the next one."

Mildred Kilpatrick, who still lives in Troy, said the group was fewer in number compared to their 50-year reunion.

"Everyone looks older--except Mary (Richardson) and me," she said.

Kilpatrick's classmate, Mary Richardson, now lives in Denver, Colo., but she was glad to make the trip out and catch up with old friends.

"There are people here that I went to kindergarten with," she said.

One of the things that makes the class of '48 so unique is that the group graduated with a number of World War II veterans.

"A lot of guys left high school to go fight in World War II," said Evans Hartzog, who now lives in Montgomery.

"So, when the war was over, a lot of them came back to go to school on the GI Bill.

We were buddies with a lot of the older guys."

While veterans also graduated with other classes, the class of '48 caught most of them over the three-year period between the end of the war and their graduation date.

Before the reunion go too far underway, Gilchrist and Hartzog made mention of their veteran friends to remember them and commemorate Memorial Day.

In the midst of the chatter, it was clear that, even 55 years later, their high school teachers still influenced them.

A few even remembered the poems they had to memorize in some of their English classes.

One teacher that was well remembered was the band teacher Herman Moll.

Moll was different from today's band teachers because he was not employed by the school system.

"He 'allowed' the school to build him a band room and he 'allowed' the Rotary to purchase uniforms," said JoAnn Cannon, one of Moll's former students.

Hartzog and Gilchrist also remembered Moll.

"The band always had 35 to 40 kids in it while he was there, it never had anymore than that," Hartzog said.

"He taught the children privately and every child in the band was a player."

Moll got his start playing the violin for silent movies and when he tutored his young musicians, he used to play the violin with them.

Gilchrist said his discipline and dedication made their band one of the best in the state.

"We used to go to the state musical festival in Tuscaloosa and we would always win first chair," she said.

Hartzog said many a band director came out of Moll, including him.

"I was a band director for nine years before the Lord called me to the ministry," he said.

"He had an impact on many a kid."