JACKSON, Tenn. – Feb. 12, 2002– Until 1975, Union University was on a different campus than the one that today’s students currently attend. On Fri., Feb. 8, fourteen members of the Class of 1952 returned to the campus as part of their fifty-year reunion celebration. The trip proved to be one that brought back memories and meant something special to these special graduates.
One of the most important places to students on the old campus was the area that they called “the circle” even though it was not really a circle at all – rather a place that all paths that led around campus met and crossed. In honor of all of the former students, a real circle made of concrete has recently been poured in this area with a plaque honoring it. As part of Friday’s tour, Union’s President David Dockery officially dedicated the area, calling it “hallowed ground.”
The members of the Class of ’52 were moved by the ceremony and it was obvious that simply returning to the campus had triggered a flood of memories of their time as students.
“Who remembers the phrase we had to say when we were freshmen?” Virginia Conger asked.
Without hesitation, Margie Wadlington chimed in, “A freshman, sir, is so low, sir, that he can crawl under a snake, sir, with a high silk hat on, sir, without touching the snake, sir. Thank you, sir, for the privilege, sir, of sounding off, sir.” The whole group rolled with laughter remembering that intimidating first year in college.
“I had to wear an onion around my neck,” recalled Catherine Taylor, setting off more laughter. It was soon discovered that several members of the class still had the beanies that they wore that first eventful twelve months of their college experience.
Members of the Class of '52 that attended Homecoming 2002.
Amid all the laughs, there was also time for tender memories. 1952 graduate Margie Wadlington walked up the hill towards the former men’s dorms holding hands with her husband George who graduated the year before her.
“We met at Union,” she reminisced. “We both sang in the chorus, and one Sunday we went out to sing at a church in Bolivar. I’d seen him around school before but didn’t really know him. They’d packed sack lunches for us and my sandwich looked better than his so we traded. And that’s how we met, over a sandwich!” The two were married two years later, and still love one another to this day.
Some recalled throwing water balloons out dorm room windows while others remembered spectacular tackles they had seen out on the football field. There were memories of part-time jobs and friends that have passed. The stories of long ago continue to remain vivid. Fran Butler may have put it best.
“We love looking back at the past when we were young – but we also love everything in between.”
By Jody Webster,
Class of 2004
Sara B. Horn,