Windsor High School Class of 1973 reunites 50 years later

Published 2:00 pm Wednesday, May 1, 2024

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Members of the Windsor High School Class of 1973 recently gathered for a 50th-anniversary reunion that was social, laidback and casual by design, creating an ideal atmosphere for a poignant rekindling of old friendships and acquaintanceships.

The reunion was held in Franklin at The Village at Woods Edge’s The Back Porch & Grille on Saturday evening, April 20.

“I think it went very well,” said Bobby Varmette, one of the chief organizers of the event. “I’ve had a lot of comments. Everybody said they really enjoyed it.”

Comments he received used words like “so good,” “great” and “awesome” to describe the reunion, and one person noted that it was “really priceless seeing, talking and catching up with everyone.” 

Varmette noted that the event was organized by a committee of seven people, with three being involved from the first meeting, including Janet (Spivey) Brock, Joyce (Jenkins) Carter and himself.

Windsor High School’s Class of 1973 featured 105 graduates. 

Varmette said that of that total, 23 class members have passed away that organizers know of, and there were 18 more that organizers did not know how to contact.

Organizers reached out to the remaining 64 class members. Of that number, 43 paid to attend the reunion, and 38 actually ended up attending.

Varmette came up with the idea of taking class members’ senior photos from the school yearbook and making them part of their name tags “so people would know who we were,” he said. “Because a lot of people, if you hadn’t seen them in 40 or 50 years, you don’t know them, seriously.”

There was a grand total of 53 people on hand for the event, including spouses of class members.

Varmette acknowledged that the event was almost a year behind in terms of celebrating the 50th reunion. 

“We were just later having the reunion,” he said.

But judging from the reactions to the gathering, it was most definitely a case of “better late than never.”

“I just think everybody enjoyed seeing each other so much,” Varmette said.

Sharing the reunion’s order of events, he said there was a social hour from 5-6 p.m. followed by a group picture and a meal.

“And then we spoke a little bit and opened it up to anybody else who might want to speak about high school,” he said.

He noted that when the WHS Class of 1973 was in elementary school, it was during the time of racial desegregation, and the group of individuals that reached the high school was a combination of students who attended Carrsville Elementary School, Camptown Elementary School, Georgie Tyler Elementary School and Windsor Elementary School.

Varmette said that at the reunion, a couple of African American members of the WHS Class of 1973 stood up and commented “how it was and how the people at Windsor and all really just made them feel so welcome. It was a good class.”

After this time of speaking, the reunion featured a memorial service for the 23 class members who have passed away.

Varmette said that organizers had 23 roses on hand and a big vase. One person would call out the name of one of the deceased class members, everyone in unison said their first name, and then a rose was put in the big vase. All 23 deceased classmates were honored in this manner.

After this service, another time of casual socializing began and continued for the remainder of the event.

Varmette noted that organizers set up a memorabilia table, which featured some items he had saved from the 1970s, like football pictures and programs, pictures of the school and classmates.

Greg Holland, son of the late Virginia state Sen. Richard J. Holland, was a member of the WHS Class of 1973, and he attended the reunion. On behalf of himself and his wife, he shared a message with Varmette conveying his thoughts on the reunion.

“I want to thank the committee members,” Holland stated. “Pat and I had a great time. I’m sorry to say I had forgotten how wonderful the people in our class were and are. It was a pleasure being with such good, genuine people. I look forward to seeing you and others there last night often.”

Varmette reflected on the value of the 50th-anniversary class reunion.

“To me, reconnecting with old friends, especially classmates that I hadn’t seen in 40 to 50 years, I realize what a great group of classmates/friends that I have,” he said.

He praised The Village at Woods Edge as being “a very nice place” to hold the event.