07/08/07 — Carver High alumni gather to share laughter, memories

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Carver High alumni gather to share laughter, memories

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on July 8, 2007 2:00 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Eulace Lane knew he was in trouble.

He hoped Al King had forgotten about those days on the Carver High School ball-field.

King hadn't.

"You know, I remember this one day when we played baseball together," King said. "He went for a fly ball and the ball came down and went right through the web of his glove and hit him in the eye. He's out kicking, and we're thinking, 'Hey is this guy hurt?'"

Like many other Carver High School graduates on hand for their reunion weekend, Lane became the punch line of several half-century-old memories.

"It was humiliating," he said.

He shared a laugh Saturday with King and Cornell Boney, a member of Carver's Class of 1951 who stopped to hear the story.

"And we called him Casey," Boney interjected, pointing at Lane. "All he did was strike out."

Lane seemed to understand that he will likely never live down his shortcomings on the baseball field.

Still, he embraces his friends, whom he has known for more than five decades.

Hundreds of members of the Carver High School Alumni and Friends Association came together for their 25th annual reunion at locations across town this weekend.

During their stay in Mount Olive, blue- and gold-clad graduates spanning six decades gathered for picnics, socials, a parade and worship service.

But the few days was about more than events, hugging, laughs and business.

It was a time to reconnect with the past, to rekindle friendships time had lost.

Lane turned to his friend, Boney, and laughed.

"I still love you brother," he said.

Dr. Wade Kornegay remembers being inspired by teachers in the years leading up to Carver.

"I remember the fourth or fifth grade, the teacher started asking us what we wanted to be when we grew up," he said. "It made you know that people expected you to be something."

He can still see a high school career on the honor roll and the first time he made a B.

"Oh my gosh, I was shattered," Kornegay said. "I mean, I was an A student."

Most, if not all, of his teachers have since passed.

But his classmates, those people who made walking the halls of Carver "so special," they are who he comes back to see.

"I've got friends here, a number of classmates, Al King and Shirley Sims, they are still here, and they have done well," he said. "It's about reconnecting."

But for King, it was about reaching back 55 years for those special moments, ones he admits are "far too good" to forget.

Like that last night on the basketball court.

"I remember my last game. That night, I was fouled and had two free-throws to end the game," he said. "I made them both and we won by one point."

The more than 200 people who gathered this weekend had plenty of stories about friends, sports and social gatherings.

But for 78-year-old Benjamin Kornegay, it was about a school that has survived decades beyond its closure -- one that gave young boys and girls in a small Eastern North Carolina town a chance to learn.

"When I came up through Carver, there were only three little buildings here," he said. "I was just happy to come to school. If I didn't come to school, I was in the fields."