MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
More than 20 former students who attended Lejeune High School Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune from 1949 to 1955 got together for their annual high school reunion at the Paradise Point Officers’ Club aboard the base, Sept. 10.
Old classmates, former boyfriends and girlfriends and old buddies exchanged hugs and pleasantries. The participants also brought along some souvenirs and old photographs to pass around and talk about.
“Although graduating classes were small - some just 12 boys and 13 girls - the high school put out some great people who went on to do big things,” said Marlene Jones, an attendee at the event.
Some of the graduates went on to become fighter pilots, basketball players, admirals and movie stars.
Ed Nelson, an actor who has starred in many western films and “Police Academy 3,” was also in attendance and remembers where his career took off.
“In the old high school, there was a small wooden stage; last time I saw it, there were chairs and tables on it, but that’s where I did impersonations of people,” said Nelson.
Nelson also remembers how high school was for him when he went through school.
“There were so few of us that we all knew each other,” said Nelson. “Me and some of the guys would sneak out, go to a few dances together and grab a few beers. We were all good friends and still are now.”
Along with reminiscing about the past, they also recalled important and memorable events.
“I remember being a young boy and watching 1st Marine Division land after World War II and march up to Camp Johnson,which was known as ‘Tin Town’ back then,” said Al Munch, who attended the LHS during that time.
The basketball team first held the reunion as a way to meet former basketball players from Camp Lejeune. As word got around that there was a small group of former students meeting up, more started showing up and eventually became what it is today, a reunion of old friends.
Throughout the night, the former students socializing with each other, rekindling old friendships. Some were even flirting with their old high school sweethearts.
With each passing year, the high school reunion books some former students bring along slowly gets bigger as more pictures, mementos and letters are added to it. Some include newspaper clippings from when the school was featured in the base newspaper, dance booklets and scrap art showing what was popular during their time.
Jones, a former cheerleader for Lejeune High School, brought a football she had found, which had the team’s signatures, as well as sport numbers.
“Being back to see everyone is great,” said Jones. “These are the most loving people in the world because it was a small school and during a time of war, we all depended on each other.”