October 31, 2018
By Jack Swift
Johnson County Historian
As we study the history of Time just rolls along and I guess one way we begin to realize it (I know there are many ways) is to attend our high school reunions. The time and place for my (Class of ’56) reunion this year was September 8, at Farmer’s Barbeque here in Mountain City. My class decided a few years ago to have a mini reunion each year and a more elaborate one every five years. This year’s reunion was a one-evening event. It traditionally has been held the first weekend after Labor Day. The five-year reunions sometimes are two-day events and usually a good number of out-of-town classmates attend.
Though I wasn’t feeling well the evening of this year’s event, I decided to attend and I’m glad I did. The evening was filled with good food, visiting with classmates, picture taking and generally enjoying the atmosphere. My wife Mary and I were concerned that we were going to be late, our fears were unfounded. There were only a few early birds there when we arrived. There was a pretty good attendance considering that it wasn’t a five-year interval reunion. Some attended who came from far away places.There were folks from South Carolina; North Carolina; Maryville, Tennessee; Ohio; Florida; Maryland and Virginia. Of course there were folks from Mountain City and the surrounding area as well as from Bristol, Johnson City, Elizabethton and other places.
It has been a long time since we went thorough the rituals of graduation in 1956. The place for our graduation exercises was the old High School Building that now houses Heritage Hall and some Johnson County offices. It would be some 10 years later that a new school building was constructed on the hill that once was the site of the annual county fair.
The class of 1966 was the last to graduate from the old high school. Construction on the new high school was completed in the summer of 1966 and the plant was ready for occupancy in September of 1966. Mrs. Evelyn Cook, who was one of our teachers, was able to join us and share our reunion with us. Sadly death has claimed 40 members of our class. Among our deceased teachers are Harold Arnold, Jimmy Butler, John L. Butler, Dorothy Howard. Elizabeth Mahan, Howard Smith and Elizabeth Wilson. It was good to see some of my classmates once again. May the Lord bless them and keep them is my Prayer.