"Among chatter and smiles, calls of "Hey buddy! How are ya?" could be heard throughout the Atco Clubhouse as former residents gathered for the 17th annual Atco Reunion.
The clubhouse in the village was prepared with 150 chairs for community members to gather together and reminisce, yet the crowd was larger than anticipated and left several standing.
"We moved here when I was a junior in high school," Joyce Bryson stated as she recalled her life in Atco. "My dad was the pastor at the church from '48 or '49 until '58. Back then the Baptists and Methodists alternated Sundays of who got to use the church."
Looking back to the previous year, Bryson noted that 22 Atco friends have passed away and the community is trying to urge the younger crowd to join in the festivities to keep the bond between the "village kids" strong. For the younger generations, or anyone with access to Facebook, a group page has been created for all Atco residents both past and present.
"We had the first [reunion] in my back yard," said Mary Lee Weaver, the woman who established the gatherings. "I just love people."
A table lining one of the walls of the clubhouse was covered with photo albums, picture frames and old Wingfoot newsletters for everyone to look through and share their stories.
"I was born in my family's house here," said Morris Bearden as he explained the meaning of the area and reunion. "It's so good to see friends."
The luncheon consisted of a covered dish meal with seasonal vegetables, fried chicken, fresh fruit, drinks and desserts of all kinds. For more information, or to participate in next year's event, the community is encouraged to visit the Facebook page."
Read more: The Daily Tribune News - Atco residents reunite with photos and memories