Write Again … A special reunion

Published 10:55 am Monday, September 16, 2019

The little story I wish to share with you is a very special one to me. Very special.

So. Here it is.

Way back in the summer of 1950, I was an 11-year-old camper at Camp Leach. A two-week session.

Seven years later, 1957, I was a brand new graduate of Washington High School, and spent part of that summer as a counselor at Camp Leach.

In my cabin one session was a handsome, tall for his age, 11-year-old lad named Kenneth. He was a very nice youngster, as were, seemingly, all the boys in my charge. He lived in Durham.

That summer experience was a very good one for me; and for all those campers as well, is my hope.

You may think it a stretch, friends, for me to say I remembered Kenneth through all the years to come, but I did.

You see, the name Kenneth Royall was a prominent one in state political circles.

A combat veteran of World War II, who experienced the hell of warfare in the Pacific, “my” Kenneth’s father evolved into genuine force in our state’s legislature. Kenneth’s grandfather was also a military officer of renown in his time as well. The stories of either of their lives would be ones of genuine superlatives.

Then in August, a friend who was vacationing at the beach mentioned to a man — Kenneth Royall III — who happened to be in her company, that she was from Washington. He asked her if she knew Bartow Houston. You know where I’m going with this now, don’t you?

After telling him that Sally was a friend, and that she knew me also, he then told her of his experience at Camp Leach, and of his regard for me. The lasting influence he said that I had made in his life. Later he told me as well.

I’ll not go any further into this, as it might seem ego-inflating. Also, it would give me “eyeball sweat” … again.

Kenneth spent a good portion of an August day with us here in Washington, and he quickly saw what a wonderful life’s mate I had. He and I then took a little trip down memory lane, and visited Camp Leach Estates, where we pointed out where we thought the various buildings had once been. To the best of our memories’ abilities, that is. We also went to Bath, the idyllic, historic village beautifully nestled by the water. We sat in St. Thomas historic church for a while, just being restored by the silent sacredness of such a place.

Kenneth is now 73, retired and living on the coast. He is a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate, and was chosen for the prestigious Golden Fleece, among other honors as well.

The part of this whole story that is, to me, so remarkable, is that after 62 years we had our reunion.

We both feel that this came about by more than just coincidence.

We both, also, are very grateful for such a special experience.

Very grateful.