They called it a video shoot, but the shooting was definitely not the most important (or the most memorable) part of the gathering for us — the gang we called the “Homecoming Kids.”
We loved being on film — we were all over-actors — but what we enjoyed most was being together. Getting to be on TV was definitely secondary — and of course, I couldn’t have imagined then how hilarious and satisfying it would be to recall it all 15-plus years later!
I remember that I thought I was so cool because there were so many older kids in the first video and how I especially admired Megan English, because she always had perfect hair and fun clothes. Dare I admit now that I actually tried to be her?
Looking back, the adults on the set were the most memorable, the kindest, most perfect sorts to work with kids. They were as excited as we were and so much fun to be with.
Meeting George Younce for the first time was awesome; I didn’t think real people could sing that low! It made me want to either shudder or giggle. What a teddy bear and nice man he really was.
Vestal made us feel like she was our grandmother. She’d hug us and call us “Sugar.”
Then there was Mark Lowry, whose contribution was to make us laugh at times when we were supposed to be focused. Bill would fuss at him. Mark would say “sorry” — and then he’d do the same thing over again AND pretend to be scared when Bill looked at him.
Gloria went way over the top to be sure we had plenty of food. She would put us in her lap and always seem glad to see each one of us. She was intentional about asking how we were, and she always wanted to know what was happening in our individual lives.
One of the funniest memories was a moment during the camping video. It suddenly started pouring rain on us. In my mind’s eye, I will forever visualize Vestal running up the hill with a trash bag over her head, worried about her hair! Absolutely hilarious — that perfect hair!
We always looked forward to all the kids and parents meeting at our house and practicing in Nashville. My mom would rehearse us and then take us to record down the street at our neighbor’s studio. One particular time, Mom grew the grass out real long in our front yard and mowed “WELCOME HOMECOMING KIDS” in the grass. Pretty impressive how she maneuvered those letters with the lawn mower!
It was so cool to catch up with everyone each year, because none of us lived in the same place. I am so thankful I got that rare experience as a kid. What fabulous summers!
I am now a medical aesthetician, working for a dermatologist in Nashville. I feel I’m right where God wants me and I’m thankful, always, for the experience of being a Homecoming Kid!