Tribute to the Class of 62

By Paulette Weaver Purgason, Class of 1962

Read at the Fiftieth Reunion
of the Class of 1962
held at Embassy Suites
Greensboro, NC
September 15, 2012

"The class of 1962 has realized its dream to do.

Even those who left our midst too soon

knew themselves and enhanced their neighborhoods,

served their neighbor,

and grew to the challenges in their lives.

We were left too soon.

My friend and yours, Suzanne, taught me I had a voice to sing.

Bobbie Hollifield taught me the pain of being outside the circle

that would lead me to the Stephan Ministry.

Linda Bame taught me that people need to be seen and heard.

Wayne Hatchel taught me that grace comes from our soul.

Jerry Stone taught me how to grow a chuckle

into a full body experience known as laughter.

Others no longer with us influence me still.

On the eve of our 50 years as classmates,

it is an evening of joy, humor, solemnity,

remembrances and forging new friendships and renewing others.

I want you to reach inside emotionally

and bring forth that younger person and

keep your "now" self engaged at the same time.

That is what romanticists do-- I am indeed just that.

I watched, I listened, I grew.

Wayne Hatchel, since you so recently left us,

"...when you've been there 10,000 years, look for..." us.

I am sure you will "...have stories to tell us."

I feel your presence in our midst tonight.

Won't you invite the rest to join us in this benchmark gathering tonight?

The Class of 1962 is you.

It is me, Paulette, Caldwell, Tommy E.,

Jackie, Mary Lynne, Beverly, Jolene,

Gary, Linda, Claudia.

It is me.

It is him. It is her

It is us.

We set out on our individual journeys on June 5, 1962.

Some of us were well heeled, some already focused on specialization, or generalization,

some working with our hands, others with minds and hands.

Some began lives that questioned.

Some led lives more prayerful than others.

Some took a gamble or two or three.

Some danced, some sang, some designed, sold, plowed, built, and banked.

Others married, even remarried, while others moved away, leaving some of us here-

-those who stayed protected our facility.

There were those who would create -

-getting way outside the worldly box,

some administered, some taught, some inspired,

others were troubled.

Still, there were others who had many talents,

while others multi-tasked, others parented.

Many planned and acted.

Some would travel, a few flew; a few protected us.

Others served us.

Some took advantage of us.

Others looked for relationships that would last,

Others lost their way.

Many remained in touch, others forgot us.

Others were late bloomers--like me.

Some soared like eagles to places far and wide.

Others wrote, sang, reproduced, produced, inspired, engaged, and represented.

Unfortunately, a couple of us misrepresented and became closed to our union

while others carved out new futures, others grew families, drove trucks,

drove others batty,

still others were beautiful, witty, wistful, bashful, creative, quiet--solid.

Others chose to remain behind the scenes, others were stealthy.

A few lived life in the fast lane, while others chose to be beside the still waters.

There are those who used the whole stage and pulled others into their midst.

Not bad for 130 dreamers, young, passionate, eager, educated, balanced,

and still engaged with now as well as then.

We accepted life with our androids and iphones, ipads, and emails, we love to entertain.

We even liked to work, to be in the know.

We know freedom, and understand how quickly all can be lost.

We have endured the impact of drugs, alcohol, abuse,

joblessness, divorce, love, money, homelessness

and have the humor needed to lighten the heart and grace the spirit.

Most of all we knew we knew.

The class of 1962 is still here ready for more,

ready to act

and most importantly--

to do.

God is not through with us, yet.

After all, we are


And WE are not through."

Paulette Weaver Purgason, The Class of 1962

(The following introductory description of Paulette was written by the 2003 EMMY team and used on stage to present her with her EMMY for her role as Executive Producer and Editor for "I Create" a videography that educated and explored the creative spark and it's source of origination and aired on public television and again at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Visual and Performance Artists.)

"Purgason was educated at Queens College in Charlotte. Her double major was Organizational Management and Marketing. She served as assistant to Charlotte's Mayor and City Council through five administrations before being appointed Communications Director for Charlotte/Douglas International Airport. She retired with honors from the Airport in 2003, formed the Arts and Writing Foundation, an art assessment tool for scholastic achievement in grades 10-12, formed her own interior and landscaping design company in 2002, and HR Lake Reflections Design in 2012.

She is an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. Elected by her church and the Charlotte Presbytery as a principal voting commissioner to the 220th General Assembly for the Presbyterian Council for America. She was recently elected to its governing Council.

She is in her second year writing her long dreamed book ?Who Brought the Banana Pudding.?

She is married to WR 46 plus years, has one married son, Roge, and he and his wife, Joanna, both Carolina graduates have given Paulette (Gee Gee) to her three grandchildren, Cade, Taylor and Kaylie Elizabeth, ages 9, 5, and 4. Her smile is big, her heart bigger, and her creative spark has touched and inspired many in the regional arts and communications world.

Weary traveling? Paulette is the marketing genius behind rocking chairs at more than a dozen airports.

She leaves us with a message until we meet again:

Godspeed to all, may His tender mercies surround you now and forevermore."

Paulette Weaver Purgason

The Class of 1962

Copyright 2012 Paulette Weaver Purgason