It has been 42 years since Joan Adcock Kirkham walked across the stage, graduating from Community High School in Unionville. Shortly thereafter, the 17-year-old moved away, settling in Nashville and later White House.
It has been about 32 years since Joan has seen many of her friends who accompanied her in that milestone in 1970.
"There were 32 of us and two have passed away," she said. "We had a very small class; it was more like a family I'll just tell you."
Joan is organizing a casual reunion for her friends this Saturday, and friends who haven't seen Joan in three decades will learn that she's become quite the musician. She'll play for those who attend the reunion, being held at Fifties and Fiddles Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. ($7 admission at the door.)
"I retired from the (Sumner County) school system," she said. "I had always had the urge to do music on the side, but I never had the time. I turned 60 and I'm at a point in my life where I have time to pursue this."
She especially enjoys singing and playing guitar.
Last year, Joan and her band that includes mandolin, banjo and bass players had one of their best gigs yet -- in Gatlinburg. Since then, they've played a lot of small gigs for anyone who asks, with business coming primarily through word of mouth.
While on their way home from a recent gig the group happened to stop in Shelbyville to treat themselves with ice cream. Turns out, the local ice cream shop was almost out of ice cream and so Joan and her friends began to razz the owner a little. Small talk led to discussion about bluegrass music.
The ice cream shop was looking for musicians to perform and sure enough were delighted to learn that bluegrass was Joan's specialty.
It was that little conversation that led her to plan a class reunion.
"It's been 30 years. Yes, it has been that long," she said. "I have seen one or two here and there when I have been home to visit but most for most of them it has been years and years so it's really going to be a treat to see everyone."
Joan is now focused on getting the word out about this weekend's reunion.
"I don't have any contacts," she said. "Reservations are not necessarily required. The place will hold about 100. I'd very much like to see my classmates and anyone who graduated from Community High, and the public is also invited."