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Friday, Aug 01, 2014

Turkey Creek Gobblers reunite 55 years after graduating

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PLANT CITY - Nearly half of Turkey Creek High's 1958 graduating class got together recently to reminisce about the good old days.

The 55th reunion was a rather simple affair in the banquet room at a Lakeland restaurant. No music from the era or a slide shows; just a time for old classmates to reunite.

Joyce Pedersen, who organized the reunion with fellow graduate Martha Alderman, said there was a lot of talk about the old times, including their duties outside the classroom.

Most of the students came from farm families, and they juggled their chores with school work.

"We'd work in the fields in the morning, go to school, and work in the fields after school," Pedersen said.

Highlights of the school year included pep rallies before football games, she said. The big rivalry was always with Plant City High, then known as the Planters.

She doesn't recall how the Gobblers fared against the Planters during her years at Turkey Creek, but she recalls the team adding trophies to the school's trophy case.

It was the Class of '58's first reunion in five years, although graduates get together informally at Plant City restaurants twice a month. In all, 27 of the 65 members of the class of '58 were there. The names of the 18 classmates who have died were read aloud following a prayer at the reunion.

The event was such a hit that the classmates decided to meet annually from now on, Pedersen said.

Members of the class will also continue to meet at 9 a.m. the first Wednesday monthly at Fred's Market Restaurant, 1401 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; and at 6 p.m. the third Thursday monthly at ABC Pizza, 114 N. Alexander St. The monthly meetings typically draw about eight to 10 classmates.

Turkey Creek closed as a high school after the 1972 school year as the school district consolidated schools in the Plant City area. The Turkey Creek High campus is now home to Turkey Creek Middle School.

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