Introduction and Thanks.
Saturday, January 9, 2016 was a magical day for me. Ten women with a common thread came back together to celebrate the year each of us turns 50. We all graduated from Henry County High School in McDonough, Georgia, in 1984. Any decade is a milestone birthday, but this one seems particularly momentous. Some of us had not seen each other since we left the gymnasium after our graduation ceremony that June 4th. By late Saturday afternoon, it was as if we hadn’t skipped a beat.
The premise of this gathering was to make over these ladies and take their portraits to mark this occasion in their lives. Here begins a blog project that will take the better part of this year to unfold. It’s the personal story of each of these women, along with a little makeup transformation. I’m fascinated with each of their lives. I hope I’ll do each of them proud as I present them.
Looking at this photo, it occurs to me that I would have done one thing differently while we were all together. I would have asked for a prayer circle, and here’s what I would have said:
“Dear Universe: Thank You for allowing us to come together to see and hear from and hug each other. To embrace where we’ve come from and where we’re headed. Thank You for all the things you’ve allowed us to experience. Thank You for this county and town we call home. Thank You for our families and our friends both here and beyond. I am so grateful to be able to have each of these ladies sit with me and allow me to make up their faces. To catch up for a few minutes. . . to learn about what they’ve been doing and how their lives have evolved. Please let each of these people leave here today, knowing that I care about them and feel so blessed that they would take the time to participate. My heart is humbled and so very full. Amen.”
Heartfelt thanks to Ann Branan Bertschin, our extraordinary photographer, and HC alum (class of 1987). Ann, you have been my rock, my eyes, and the best sounding board I could have ever hoped for. I feel so fortunate for a renewed friendship and that you wanted to be a part of this. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You! May our “coffee clinks” from afar continue.
Yul Monta Brown, HC class of 1982. You were a superstar then, as you are now. Thank you for picking up your phone and being so willing to help facilitate and make this happen. I last saw you in 1983; who knew 33 years could go by and we could pick up so easily? And thank you for your recollections that gave my dear friend, Kay, a piece of her dad back. Your stories meant the world to her, and that her daughter could hear them too, was icing on the cake. Wow.
Last, but not at all least, thank you David Glover, for the use of your amazing space. Deep South Deli, housed in the former Chafin Furniture building, was such a fun, perfect place to shoot this project. Your loft became our home away from home for the day. Then the restaurant and pub became our laugh-in at night. Your immense knowledge of all things McDonough Square-related is encyclopedic. Thank you for opening your doors to us. We will be back!
To my 1984 classmates: simply stated, much love to you all.