• 84°

Many Happy Returns: Area woman attends 80th high school reunion

DAILY LEADER JUSTIN VICORY / Evelyn Davis (right) concludes a visit with friends at the Haven Hall Nursing Center Saturday and pauses to enjoy the autumn breeze with her daughter, Kathy Walker.

DAILY LEADER JUSTIN VICORY / Evelyn Davis (right) concludes a visit with friends at the Haven Hall Nursing Center Saturday and pauses to enjoy the autumn breeze with her daughter, Kathy Walker.

FDR was president, the original version of King Kong was released, Adolph Hitler became dictator of Germany, the first drive-in movie theater opened and the repeal of prohibition occurred.

Oh, and one more thing: Longtime Brookhaven resident, Evelyn Davis, graduated from Brookhaven High School that same year – 1933. While not many people remain around to remember these times, 97-year-old Davis does, and with fine clarity.

Davis made an appearance at Friday’s student reunion at Brookhaven High School, her alma mater, a familiar environment to the former elementary grade school teacher. Davis was the only returning student in her graduating class.

Amazingly, Davis was celebrated her 80th class reunion this year.

For close to 30 years, Davis taught fifth grade at Brookhaven Elementary School. For the first four years of her teaching career, she taught at Union Church. Her daughter, Kathy Walker, followed in mom’s footsteps and taught at Alexander Junior High, Brookhaven High School and Brookhaven Technical Center for more than 30 years as well.

“Mom has deep, deep ties to the area,” said Walker. Evelyn was married to Lester Davis for 62 years. He passed away just after their 62nd anniversary.

Evelyn’s maiden name is Hickman, which nearly traces all the way back to the foundation of Brookhaven itself. “The family has lived in a house that was built all the way back in the 1850s,” said Walker.

To Davis, family is everything.

“Her great-grandkids are her pride and joy,” said Walker. Walker has two sons of her own, Shawn Walker and Matt Walker. Shawn has two children, Cam, 6 and Caroline, 4. Matt is expecting his first child in November.

“They can do no wrong to mom. They could come home with green hair and earrings, and mom wouldn’t seem to mind,” said Walker.

“They never exchanged a cross word as long as I saw them together,” said Walker.

Just recently, Davis made the decision to stop driving at the age of 95. Apparently, Davis made the decision to stop driving, not because of impaired ability, rather because of another driver’s action.

“Mom decided to stop driving after she was hit by another driver. She didn’t want other drivers to run into her anymore,” Walker exclaims.

For years, Davis would visit New Orleans with her two cousins on a monthly basis. Due to time’s inescapable destiny, Davis still visits New Orleans, but does so now with her one remaining younger cousin.

Every week Davis also visits her friends at Haven Hall Nursing Center, something she has been doing for the last four years. Many of her friends are fellow church members at First Baptist Church in Brookhaven, the church Davis has been attending for most of her life.

When she’s not visiting with friends or relatives, Davis spends any spare time working on crosswords and word puzzles, something she excels at, perhaps partly due to her teaching career.

Kathy Walker said she has learned a lot from her mom, including an extensive recipe collection. Despite having such a talented hand in the kitchen, and due to Davis’ inclination to cook for friends and neighbors in the community, Kathy said that neither she nor her father ever knew if the cake on the kitchen table, the one they were about to cut into, was for them or somebody else.

“Mom cooked for everybody, and loved to bake cakes. But we never knew who the cake was for.”

Walker also said that her mom “is and always has been a very involved grandmother.”

Davis will turn 98 on Dec. 26.