As the South Point Class of 1987 celebrated its thirty-year class reunion, the event brought back memories of an era that seems a lifetime ago. Belmont still had operating textile mills, and the town would be dry for at least ten more years. The location hosting the reunion was a hardware store in 1987, City Supply.
In the past thirty years, many things have changed in Belmont, but a lot of things have remained the same. The classes of 1985 through 1989 at South Point High School were closer than most because of being one of the last generations to grow up without the prevalence of personal computers and mobile devices. The conversations at the reunion were reminiscences of that era when you tried to beat curfew, put one over on the Spanish teacher, or the beach trip after graduation in June. McDonald’s for lunch in Belmont was a novelty because it had just opened earlier that decade and a good steak dinner was not available at Old Stone yet because it still held the Belmont Police Department. The Ranch House on Wilkinson Boulevard in Charlotte was the place to get a good steak, and it was the restaurant of choice for taking a prom date.
10 Catawba was Kimbrell Furniture, and Main Street from the railroad tracks to the Stowe Mills building was four-lanes for passing and still had the long-time businesses of Belk’s, School Specialties, Bank of Belmont/Wachovia, Belmont Drug, and the original Stowe Mercantile. If you were a student of Mrs. Cromlish in her Office Occupations class, she would place you at one of those businesses in downtown to get you practical experience. Or, you could get a job at one of the textile mills that would continue to operate for a few more years.
At South Point during hunting season, you could find shotguns and rifles behind the seats of most trucks in the parking lot in preparation to chase deer, ducks, or whatever species was in season. Unlike today, they didn’t get a second look, and no one seemed upset that guns were on school grounds.
The movies of our generation included; War Games (1983), Ghostbusters (1984), Back to the Future (1985), Platoon (1986), and Three Men and a Baby (1987) and we watched them at the movie theater in Eastridge Mall which opened in 1976. The mall was the place to hang out for that generation with the arcade and food court on the third floor.
While many things over the past thirty years have changed, the friendships forged thirty years ago are still as strong as ever, and with the advent of Facebook, those connections have been recreated and strengthened. As we all embarked on lives after high school with a slate as clean as fresh driven snow, we did not know the paths our lives would take, but we all knew that at some point we would all come back together in our hometown of Belmont. As much things change, the more they stay the same.
These were some of the memories that I had from growing up Belmont. What were yours?