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Whitworth grads recall good times in reunion here

As they sat sipping on tea and lemonade beneath large shadetrees on South Jackson Street, their minds raced with thoughts ofadventures they shared more than 50 years ago.

The 1949 and 1950 Whitworth College graduates traveled from asfar as New York, Maryland and Arizona to meet in Brookhaven andreminisce on the “olden days,” said Zeph Bowman, using a phrasefrom her granddaughter.

During their visit, the group of ladies toured the campus ofwhat used to be a girls finishing school but will soon become aschool of the arts.

“We’re excited that it’s going to reopen and be a viable schoolagain,” said Sue Moak of Brookhaven, who served as the hostessduring the visit.

The Whitworth grads talked with school representatives and askedquestions about the changes that had taken place and what was tocome before the school opened again in 2003.

Looking at the campus model brought back memories for the gradsas they remembered taking a picture in front of one building andtaking classes under a favorite teacher in another building.

“We cannot say enough for our positive experiences atWhitworth,” said Alice Collins Taylor.

After the Whitworth tour, the women enjoyed lunch together, thenrelaxed in the backyard of Moak’s home.

The visit to Brookhaven was one of the many efforts to keep intouch over the years. The group of friends stayed in contact aftercollege through letters and sometimes phone calls, but rarely saweach other because of the long distances between their homestates.

Rita Fandrei Selby and Kitsey Harrington Schrade thought itwould be fun to meet every few years, and the others agreed. Theyfirst started their visits in 1983 at Kiawah Island, S.C.

Since then, they have met in San Francisco, Sante Fe and Tucson,and hope to one day travel to London together.

“We meet in places we want to go see, so we get to catch up oneach other and visit a new place at the same time,” said BeverlyBusby Wilkinson.

Each of their trips is much similar to the one that concluded inBrookhaven Sunday. They always enjoy sharing stories, with each oneremembering something the others may have forgotten.

All of the women agree their time at Whitworth was a memorableand life-changing experience.

“We had lots of types of classes at Whitworth. I rememberfencing, ballet, horseback riding and so many others. It gave us awell-rounded education,” said Jody Baylis Baker.

The women also recalled their many lessons in etiquette.

“We had to wear a long dress and white gloves to dinner once aweek,” said Taylor, adding with a grin that they sometimes worepants under their dresses.

They also had many cultural experiences while at the college,taking many field trips to historic sites. As freshmen they took aschool trip to Florida and then Mexico their sophomore year.

The Whitworth grads also remembered when they entertained thepeople of Brookhaven with a play called “Our Hearts WereYoung.”

They delighted in coming back to Brookhaven and seeing how thetown has changed since they graduated.

The group spent several days driving around to different areasthey had enjoyed visiting as college students. They also enjoyed awalking tour on Storm Avenue Saturday during the annual Tour ofHomes.

“It’s interesting to see how Brookhaven has grown over theyears,” said Pat Shahan Shoellhorn.

They group was not complete, though, due to the death of JoFranklin Woodard of Illinois, four weeks ago.

“She was really the glue of this circle,” said Selby. “We missher and wish she could have been here for this trip.”