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GHS Class of ’67 holds reunion exactly 50 years to the day

Downtown Greenville became a time capsule of sorts this weekend, encapsulating an experience exactly 50 years in the making.

The Greenville High School Class of 1967 celebrated its reunion on Friday, May 26, 2017, exactly 50 years after its members’ graduation on Friday, May 26, 1967.

A crowd of more than 40 alumni gathered in the immaculately maintained lobby of Woodruff Properties, located across from the Ritz Theatre downtown and owned by Class of 1967 alumnus Archie Woodruff.

Woodruff himself opened the reunion festivities with a few laughs, as well as a few tearful remarks on the 25 deceased classmates who were unable to see the 50-year celebration.

“A lot of you I haven’t seen since 1967.  It’s hard to believe that we’ve been out of school 50 years.  I still feel like going out on the football field, dressing out and playing football,” Woodruff said with a laugh.

After a long pause, Woodruff continued with some difficulty.

“Our classmates that haven’t made it… I miss ‘em,” he said tearfully.

“And thanks to my lovely wife, all of this has been possible for me to come back to Greenville and do what I do here.

“But anyway, welcome, and I’m just tickled to death to see everybody.  Just enjoy yourselves tonight.”

The returning alumni were treated to dinner, which was promptly neglected as the fellow classmates immediately began exchanging stories of yesteryear.

The 1967 class of Greenville High School was also the first integrated class in school history.

And though tensions might’ve run high during the tumultuous period of American history, personal anecdotes revealed that the opposite was sometimes true for the Class of 1967. 

Peggy Taylor, one of very few African American students attending Greenville High School at the time, recalled an especially amusing story involving a rat and an impromptu burial.

“We got to class early,” Taylor recalled, “and a rat ran across the floor!”

“And one of the girls in class jumped up on a desk. And then someone took a garbage can and put it over the mouse.”

The mouse was eventually killed, buried and funeralized on the school premises.  Just a day later, it was promptly dug up, taken back into the classroom and hidden in a ceiling tile.

That story, and several others, made the halls of Woodruff Properties echo with laughter more often than not Friday evening, though there were also accompanied by periods of reflection and, occasionally, excitement.

One such instance of the latter came when the returning classmates were presented with a second diploma, just as official as the first, courtesy of Greenville High School that commemorated their 50-year reunion.