The Woodward News

July 24, 2013

Tangier Reunion set for weekend

Rowynn Ricks
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — The 37th annual Tangier Reunion will be held this weekend at the Woodward Senior Center.

In the early 1900s, Tangier was a booming town, complete with grocery stores, lumber yards, hotels, variety stores, grain elevators, churches and schools.  There was also a blacksmith shop, stockyard, newspaper office where The Tangier Citizen was published, a butcher shop, a drug store, barbershop, pool hall, restaurant, livery stable, saloon, depot, bank, ice cream parlor, telegraph and telephone office, post office and a police department.

However, this once busy town is no longer.  Dwindling population over the years meant saying goodbye to all the businesses and eventually to the schools.  Tangier High School closed in 1957 due to declining enrollment, followed by the grade school closure in 1962.

But while the town may be gone, it is not forgotten. Many relatives of the early settlers, community members and schoolmates meet each year to reminisce about old times in the old town.

One of the regulars at these annual gatherings has been L. O. Spray of Woodward, who graduated from Tangier Schools in 1952 as one in a class of 5.

Spray said that he may not be able to make it to this year's reunion because of family matters, "but I always have in the past."

"It's just a great chance to see old friends and people I don't see all year long," he said of the reunion.  "It's just like a homecoming and because it was such a small school and small community, everybody knew everybody."

Spray said some of his favorite memories of the school were "mainly being with my buddies from my class, we had one girl, her name was Fanny Crane at the time, and 4 boys, including me and Vernal Pitcher, Clifford Davis, and E. J. Charmasson.  Just running around with my buddies, those were the best times."

However, he said all of his school buddies, like many other Tangier alumni, "have now moved on."

So instead it's their children and grandchildren who still continue the reunion tradition, he said.

"A lot of the familiar faces are gone now, but there's Earl Semmel and Herb Stout and some of them guys that are still around so I'm sure there's still a few stories to be told yet," Spray said.

There will be plenty of time for storytelling during the Tangier Reunion this weekend, which will kick off on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. with a time for fellowship and visiting at the Woodward Senior Center.  Those attending are asked to bring finger foods for snacks.

The reunion will continue on Sunday, with the doors to the senior center opening for attendees at 10 a.m.  A basket dinner then will be held at 12:30 p.m. followed by a business meeting at 2 p.m.

During this year's reunion, Tangier alumni from the classes of 1943, 1948 and 1953 will be honored as they celebrate their 70th, 65th and 60th anniversaries respectively.

For more information about the Tangier Reunion, contact Sharon Meier at (580) 698-2549.