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It's time for reunion for Bradwell Lions
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Editor, Thank you very much for featuring a photograph of Mrs. Darsey on the front page of the Courier one day last week. When I opened the paper box and took out my paper I instantly recognized her and anxiously sat down to read the article. I was relieved to know that she is well and still giving very good advice to anyone who will listen.
Seeing her likeness has prompted me to undertake a project that I have been pondering for some time now.
I propose that we have a Bradwell Lions reunion. More specifically I am referring to the Washington Avenue Bradwell Institute and the memories of that campus. It was almost magical to be a part of that student body from first grade through grade 12. I remember many wonderful teachers there and events that shaped all of our lives.
As I watched the improvements to Washington Avenue between Main Street and Oglethorpe Highway, I started thinking about how important that location had been to me. I grew up in the mid ’40s, attending the Hinesville Baptist Church across the street from the old white building, which housed the auditorium and had a stile crossing the fence surrounding the campus.
For those who don’t know, a stile is a set of steps going up and back down across a fence.
In those days, Bradwell Street ended at the stile in front of the white building. As a small boy I recall sitting on a curb in front of the church and wondering what it would be like to climb over the steps and explore that huge building behind it. Often the family car was parked in front of the school and we walked across Washington Avenue (a dirt road then) to the church. More than once I would steal away from the family to dart up to the top of the stile and pause there to look inside the campus and wonder what it would be like when I got old enough to start to school.
By the time I got old enough to start school in 1949 the stile and the fence were both gone and I entered first grade in the new red brick building, which burned two years later. I remember crying as my brother walked me to the door of Miss Alma’s room and left me there on my first day of school. My mother told me that I cried every morning for about a week before getting comfortable and happy about going to school.
She said that suddenly one morning I was eagerly awaiting the school bus and ready to go to school. As it turned out Miss Alma Stacy rode the school bus with us as she lived just up the road from my family. I was very timid and shy but it had only taken a few days for Miss Alma and Mr. Stafford, the bus driver, to make me feel good about school.
Some mornings I sat next to Miss Alma on the way to school and in the afternoon I would sit next to Mr. Stafford on the heater beside the driver’s seat and he would show me how to draw pictures of deer and birds while we waited for the older kids to get out of class and board the bus. It was only a short time until I claimed the heater as my seat and Mr. Stafford would let me work the manual stop sign as we made the route through Flemington.
Circumstance and chance resulted in my not going back to school my senior year to graduate with the class of 1961. However, as fate would have it, I returned the following year and thanks to the whole faculty but especially to Mrs.Darsey I graduated with the class of 1962.
Back then as now for whatever reasons some students did not complete high school. For that reason I want to make it clear that this reunion is for those who attended school at Bradwell while it was located on Washington Avenue not just the graduates.
I walked out of the gym in 1962 only about a hundred feet from where I had entered the red brick building in 1949. As I walked past Mrs. Darsey I was once again crying and choking back tears because I didn’t want to leave that wonderful place.
When I have brought the subject up with others who attended school there I have gotten encouragement from everyone that I’ve spoken with. Earlier this year I spoke with Mr. Edwards and Miss Hollingsworth about my proposal and they both responded positively. Seeing Mrs. Darsey’s photo reminded me to go ahead with this idea at this time.
Therefore I want to take this means of soliciting advice and help for this cause. Contact me at 368-6676 and leave your name and number and I’ll call you back.
You can e-mail me at samboling

Jimmy Smith
McIntosh Community
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