‘Grand ol’ lady’ stirs memories of happier times
Published 3:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2017
For those who graduated from or just attended the old Barbour County High School in Clio, simply walking through the doors of the “Grand Ol’ Lady” transports their minds to “happy times.”
Such as it was Saturday when the George C. Wallace Heritage Association hosted a covered dish luncheon for all those who attended the historic high school.
Anita Goodson, association member, said the old Barbour County High School closed its doors in December 1961 and the graduating seniors graduated from the new Barbour County High School in Clayton.
“But they still consider themselves graduates of the old Barbour County High School,” Goodson said. “The covered dish luncheon is an annual event and anyone who attended the old Barbour County High School is invited.”
The “Grand Ol’ Lady” is now the George C. Wallace Heritage Building and it has been beautifully restored. The building features an auditorium with original seating on the main floor and in the balcony, the Dr. Stroud Jackson room, the Veterans’ Hall of Honor, a kitchen and dining room.
“We are extremely proud of our heritage building and enjoy having events here, especially our covered dish lunches where we all get together to remember the good ol’ days at Barbour County High School,” Goodson said.
Saturday’s event was much like all of the other school “reunions.” Several graduates or attendees spoke from the stage. Special music by Keisha Whitman, who was accompanied on the guitar by her husband, Mike, and by pianist and vocalist Danny Barefoot, brought back memories of songs sung at morning devotionals and music for dancing at Friday night sock hops.
Lomax Robinette took schoolmates on a memory walk down the streets of, what was then, a bustling Clio. He reminded them of a gentleman who walked the streets of town, going from one store to the other in hopes of finding inquisitive fellowship. At long last, he found an audience and finally someone asked what he was wanting to hear, “Heard you had a wedding…” to which he replied, “Yeah, and I told her you can always come back home.”
“And, we can always come back home to the old Barbour County High School,” Robinette said, to a round of applause.
Dr. Joe Kicklighter, a professor at Auburn University, came “home” to Clio to pay tribute to his aunt Josephine Baxter who “took in” his brother and him when he was only eight years old.
Baxter was a teacher at Barbour County and she motivated and inspirited him to greater heights than he thought possible, just as she did many other students.
“I was living in Clio during the 1950s, which I consider Clio’s heydays,” Kicklighter said, remembering Doris Day movies, Wallace Tillman beverages, Joe Long’s insults, wonderful teachers like Lula Andrews and the town doctor, Stroud Jackson, and historian Alto Jackson and going “way off” shopping at Rosenberg’s in Troy.
Kicklighter did not graduate from the old Barbour County High School, but the Clio experience was important to him.
“I’ve been in Auburn for 42 years but it is a blessing for me to come home to Clio,” he said. “I cherish the time I spent here and I’m sure all of you cherish your times at old Barbour County High School.”
The formal meeting closed with the challenge, “Let’s get loose like a goose and enjoy ourselves” and they did.