50 years and more than a few stories later
Long after their dinner’s scheduled start time, members of the Dental Class of 1967 lingered in the Royal Oaks Country Club lobby, too excited to see friends making their way up the staircase for their 50th reunion to ponder the spread waiting for them in the dining room.
A microphone pass during the Sept. 14 dinner prompted nearly all 35 classmates present to stand and tell a story, give thanks, say hello or even sing a song — one nostalgic class member presented a beautiful rendition of Elvis’ “Are You Lonesome Tonight.” About 60 individuals, including spouses and guests, traveled from around the country to attend.
The remarks painted a picture of camaraderie, including those from Dr. Samuel Ray.
“Without the likes of my classmates here, such as Don Butler, I never would have graduated,” he said. “That man helped me through so many exams and studies. I truly was blessed to have a class filled with geniuses and be able to call them my friends.”
Two classmates with an exceptional bond are Drs. Mary Ginderske-Criswell and Esther Choon Lee Joystone, the only two women in the class. Joystone, who lives in California, did not originally plan to travel to Dallas, but seeing her classmate’s name on the reunion RSVP list changed her mind. There was no way she would miss attending this event with the friend who stuck with her throughout school, she said, especially when “the boys” picked on them, albeit in “good fun,” she added.
The evening included remembrances of classmates who could not be present, and a roll call and moment of silence for class members who had passed brought some to tears. For surviving classmates, the event bridged the years of the past half-century through memories and heartwarming connections to the present.
“We all agreed we were the best class ever,” Dr. Terry Watson summarized during the campus tour the following day. “We bonded through the pressures of dental school. It meant so much to have the class together again for our reunion dinner.”