BCHS Class of 1968 Reunion
It had been 40 years since they had walked the aisle in a red cap and gown, but none of them acted like it. An energetic crowd of Cardinals from the Class of 1968 gathered for their reunion.
The day started with a picnic held at Johnny Montagne’s home on the bayou.
“I got volunteered for this by Moe Litton,” said Montagne.
Litton had been coach, trainer and biology teacher for the class. The respect for teacher and student was mutual. Litton still cared enough for this class to persuade Montagne to provide not only the location by to do the cooking as well.
Phyllis McGee Stephenson, Fibber to everyone, Cyndi Church Dennison, and Tony Perot had been the driving force for this reunion. Along the way they got help from other class members. “We didn’t really have a head for this, it was a committee effort. We ended up with about 10 people doing a lot of work to make this a success,” said Stephenson.
As the attendees came up the Montagne’s driveway to the picnic they were greeted by several of their classmates and directed to the registration table. The table was under the charge of Janice Hamilton James. James asked people to sign a register and gave them a nametag, which included a copy of their picture from their senior year. There then began the game of “look at the tag” to see who was who and how much they had changed.
Standing around or sitting at tables under the shade trees, the alumni had a lot of reminiscing about the old days at BCHS.
“The class of 1968 was a close class and a lot of us still are. No one got into serious trouble or caused serious trouble. We did a lot of good things. We had a sweepstakes band under the direction of Leon Theriot. The band and the football team were close because the band went to all the football games and we spent a lot of time together,” Dennison said.
Marilyn Joe Bailey McKown, now living in Australia, shared some memories of growing up on Cow Bayou. “I got up in the morning and put on my bathing suit and then went swimming. I would swim all day. Daddy taught me to swim by tying a rope around my middle and throwing me in the bayou. When I would go under he would pull me out and then throw me in again.” McKown said. “You could not live on the bayou and not know how to swim.”
“Daddy” was Joe Bailey, the owner of Bailey’s Fish Camp. The camp was near the swing bridge over Cow Bayou.
At one time Bailey owned the yacht “Ava”. “Daddy bought the boat from Texaco and it was very nice. It still had a lot of furnishings on it when Daddy bought it. It was really fun to go out on.” McKown said.
Her parents finally gave her a small boat and motor and she would go water skiing as often as she could. “I was always trying to get some of my friends to drive the boat so I could ski,” McKown said.
Memories and stories were flying fast and furious. Every group had someone telling a tale or two. The groups would break up and a new group would form with different people and new tales would be told.
When Montagne and his cooking crew announced that the meal was ready, the class formed a large circle and held hands as Litton gave the blessing for the food and thanks that they were all together again.
Montagne did his usual great job of barbecuing large amounts of meat, providing potato salad and personally ladling out his signature beans. Several times he was asked for the recipe but refused to give even a hint of what was in the beans. He was heard to say there was some “green stuff’ in them. He meant the peppers that were visible.
Lyle Overman provided music and sat under the shade playing old favorites for about two hours.
Alice Cole Heartfield from the class of 1967 was present and shared a few memories of that class. Jimmy Flowers and Kent Buford, two members of the 1966 State Champion Football Team, were enjoying themselves, as were Sharon Young Smith and Pat Blanchette Doucet, former cheerleaders with Heartfield.
The picnic time ended and the class regrouped for a 6 p.m. social hour at the Knights of Columbus Hall at St. Henry’s Church.
After they were all together again, the stories started again and the friendship of the 100 or so attendees was evident. The D J played the songs of the 1968 era.
James was once again at the table to register the exes and their guests. There was a little covering of the nametags as some newcomers tried to guess who the face and the body they were looking at after so many years was.
Before the dance started there was a little recognition done. Class President David Bergeron open with a few remarks about time spent together and the memories shared.
Dennison assisted Bergeron in recognizing some classmates. The couple married the longest was Patricia Delahoussaye with 42 years. Tying with the Most Children were McKown and Pricilla Pate, with five children each. Jimmy Dumesneil has the Most Grandchildren with 15. McKown was the classmate Who Had Come the Farthest. No real contest, since she had come from Australia. The classmate who Takes the Most Medicine award went to David Ballard with 15.
Each of the winners was given a small Cardinal, reminiscent of the school mascot.
When the dance started, the years flew away. Some of the exes proved that they could still move on the dance floor. When the D J played fast Zydeco music, McKown persuaded Perot to join her on the floor. The couple began to dance like two teenagers with a lot of fast footwork and a lot of spins. When the dance ended, McKown took off her jacket. Perot delighted the crowd by staggering back to his table gasping for breath and holding his chest. When the “Twist” was played a dozen or so took to the floor and began to twist like they had come to a senior prom and not a reunion.
When Litton made his appearance the dancing stopped and the lights came back up. The Class of 1968 had a special presentation for their teacher and coach.
“He gave me the smelliest cat in the specimen box to dissect in biology class,” said Dennison, “And had a big grin on his face when he did it.” “That’s right, I did,” Litton replied.
Dennison presented Litton with a plaque that had “Thanks Coach” engraved in the wooden background. The metal portion was engraved with his name and a sentiment from the Class of 1968. The background portion of the plaque was, of course, red.
Litton started to walk away but was made to come back and take the microphone. “I’m usually not speaking to such an intelligent audience,” he said with a smile. He then went on to speak about how much the class had meant to him over the years and how much he had enjoyed teaching and working with them.
Several of the class wanted pictures taken with Litton and his plaque. The affair was clearly a surprise to him.
The lights went down and the music went up and the party was on again.
Leah Long Johansson was from the Class of 1969. “We are trying to have a reunion next year and some of us are starting to work on it now,” she said. “There is a group from several classes that meet on the first Saturday of the month at some exes’ house. Anyone is welcome to come and visit with us.”
The reunion was by and for the Class of 1968, but the classes of 1967 and 1969 were also invited. “Our three classes were close in school and some of us have stayed close over the years. We thought it would be nice to have the classes together for the reunion,” Dennison said.
The Class of 1968 had 198 graduates.
The Class of 1968 thanked Johnny Montagne for providing the location and doing the cooking for the picnic; Novorsky’s for providing all the bottled water for the day and night activities; The Sign Doctor, Jimmy Dillon, for providing the banner; Moe Litton for arranging for the use of the Cardinal, the school mascot; Johnny Burton for giving boat rides on the bayou, and the reunion committee for the work in making the reunion a success.