Fountain City friends keep special bond strong

Susan EspirituFountain City, Our Town Neighbors

Preserving friendships from high school can be challenging as people venture in different directions, move to distant cities and get involved in busy lives as times goes by, but organizing reunions every few years can be a great way to reconnect while reminiscing about old memories. This group of Fountain City women have maintained those strong bonds over the years thanks to intentional reunions over what Leah Bellamy Cross called, “in true Methodist fashion, a pot luck supper! “

This group all graduated in the 1970s except for their youth and choir director from Fountain City United Methodist Church, Sharon Gerkin, who is no doubt a large reason for this tight bond that began so many years ago in the youth fellowship.

The reunions began in the mid-1980s when Sharon Marshall realized the need to bring them together and hosted a group when Leah Cross came back to visit from her home in Texas.

While this group has occasional smaller get-togethers often coinciding with a Central High School class reunion, their main reunions try to include Leah Cross’s trips back to Knoxville, so Carol Bellgrau hosted a second reunion in 2015 on another of Cross’s home visits.

This year’s reunion was again planned around Leah Cross’s return home. Carol Bellgrau and Julia Bentley planned the reunion and it was hosted by Julia and a large group of their friends were able to attend, with only a few unable to make it this time.

Leah says of the group, “Our group was always very close knit! I’ve often told people we were like family. We have the best time reminiscing about our days together at FCUMC and catching up with what is happening in each other’s lives now.”

This group surely reminds us of the importance of friendships that have stood the test of time give our lives.

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