Arnco's Annual Reunion: 'Big 'ol family' gathers
By W. WINSTON SKINNER
“We’re just a big ol’ family group from Arnco.”
That was how Peniston Bledsoe expressed the feeling at the annual Arnco community reunion, held recently at the Plant Yates park.
This year’s reunion was the 26th, said Dura Moore, one of the organizers of the event. The committee that organizes the reunion was originally appointed by her father, Moore said.
“We always look forward to it every year,” said Janet Prince. Attendees “come from everywhere,” she said.
“From all over the country,” added Moore.
Books of photos are always one of the main attractions.
Prince, Moore, Sue Argo and Otha Boyd Gladfelter looked over photos taken at prior reunions.
There were also plenty of photos from the olden days, mostly photos from the Arnco school.
“I love it,” Len Buttrum said of the reunion. “It’s the first time we’ve been in about three years.” He moved to Coweta County in 1964 and moved to the Arnco community in the late 1960s, Buttrum said.
Susan Smith of Griffin was at her first reunion with her father, Leeco Smith. Mr. Smith only lived in Arnco for a short time. “He was born here. Then they moved away, then came back” for a few years, Susan Smith said.
They’d been trying to get to the reunion for the past three years, but this was the first time they could make it.
They visited Arnco on July 4, and her father showed her the house he used to live in, just across from the school. He told her how he would always salute the flag on his way to school.
“It’s wonderful, wonderful,” Leeco Smith said of the reunion. He spent the first three years of school at the Arnco school, and remembers some times in winter the school would be so cold “they would say ‘everybody go home.’” There were coal stoves in each room, but when it was really cold, those stoves weren’t enough. And in the summer, “you would burn up,” he said.
They hope to come back next year. “If I’m living, I will,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed it.”
So has his daughter. “I haven’t heard him talk this much since my mother passed,” she said. “You can hear some stories!”
“I always have a good time, meeting home folks,” said Bobby Bledsoe. He lives in Montgomery now, but even when he lived in Virginia, he would try to make it to Arnco for the reunion.
He lived in Arnco from 1938 until he graduated from Newnan High School in 1957.
“I love it. It’s just good to come see the old folks I used to know when they were young folks,” Bledsoe said.
Aubrey Askew has lived in Arnco “off and on” since 1973, but this was his first reunion. It won’t be his last, though. “I loved it,” he said.