Over the years, more vacation homes were added to the mix.
Gin-Gin clarifies, “Different classmates and spouses stayed among the
vacation homes of Tricia and Stuart Phoenix, Karen and Jim Bailey, Emmett (Boney)
and Hubert Haywood, and the Wilmington home of Meg Davenport.” There came a short lull
in the gatherings with the birth of children, but they renewed their tradition with a 30-year reunion.
For the past two years, the group has been coming over the Labor Day holiday.
While the opportunity to vacation together at Wrightsville Beach began as a panacea for the pressures
of school, it also served as a way for group members to develop enduring friendships with one another, add-ing
a meaningful dimension to their lives. Bailey declares that with “the intensity of the experience in school … we
basically only spent time with each other,” consequently becoming lifelong friends. The MBA group continues to stay
close. There are “lots of ways we keep up outside of Wrightsville Beach … ski trips, weddings, (and) children’s weddings.”
Wilmington native Davenport adds, “The ones from out-of-town have really kept the tradition up,” with the Wrightsville Beach
gatherings serving as their annual trip to the coast.
The yearly gathering now extends beyond the initial group. Gin-Gin remarks how the annual trip “started out when we were all
single,” and as families developed, the numbers grew. The Lynch Cottage “became the place for people with kids,” because it could
accommodate about 32 people, with four bedrooms on both floors. “Many of us stayed (there) over the years, especially as we married
and started growing families.” She observes how their “kids grew up together,” and changes in conversation topics reflect that through-out
the years. “The most important part (now) is people asking about how your kids are doing … we’ve been to weddings, gradua-tions,
and some kids are starting graduate school.” Duffy and Robin Hickey’s children, Robert and Blais, attended this year’s gathering,
and Blais herself just began business school. Gin-Gin describes the annual gathering as a “microcosm that keeps repeating itself,” having
established a tradition that comes full circle with each new generation.
Part of the tradition early on was that the group’s guys played basketball at the
court at the WB Park followed by a picnic or cookout. This photo was taken around
1984. Back row, left to right: Jack Evans, Jimmy Weeks, John Day, Duffy Hickey,
Wayne Gibbs, Mike Hearn, unknown, George Ramsay, Hal Spears. Front row, left to
right: Bennett Love, Jim Bailey, Bob Jones, Belk Daughtridge, Stuart Phoenix, and
august 2019 ALLISON POTTER
This smaller photo, left, was taken in 1995 at a cookout at the park. It is a very good
representation of the core group, including children, who all stayed at the Lynch
Cottage and the Bailey Townhouse.