CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Every year, current and former residents of one Charleston neighborhood meet to share photos, reunite with friends and reminisce about their former haunts.
This Saturday, about 100 neighbors and childhood friends are expected to attend the 17th annual Garrison Avenue Reunion at the nearby baseball field on Bigley Avenue.
"People take their vacations to come to this thing," said reunion organizer Norma Levy, who grew up on Garrison Avenue. "People come from Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina and Virginia, from all over."
"You never know who is going to be there, and that keeps things interesting."
Levy, 78, helped found the reunion in 1993. Over the past two decades, she has collected about 20 scrapbooks full of photos, maps and newspapers clippings from the area.
"When I started all this, my mom was 93, and at that age all you can do is reminisce," Levy said. "She wondered what happened to all her neighbors, and that started me on my search."
Her search sparked interest among her old neighborhood friends to host a reunion.
The neighborhood around Garrison Avenue, formerly known as Magazine Avenue, dates back to about 1811. It became a small thriving community in the 1920s and 1930s, and was home to about 100 families, many living in homes built by their parents and grandparents.
"The area was considered a poorer part of the city, but it was great area to grow up in. Everyone was close-knit and we always had something to do," said William Ashworth, who grew up on Garrison Avenue in the 1930s and married his childhood sweetheart, a next-door neighbor.
Most of the children and families in the area went through school together, attended the same churches and frequented the same small grocery stores, he said.
"At the time there was no television, no computers, no money and people were more open to one another," said Carol Wolfe, 79. "They'd mingle, visit and talk to one another."
The area also was known for its pranks -- especially involving boys from North Charleston who were dating girls from the neighborhood, Wolfe said.
One favorite prank was to put hunting dogs in a visitor's car.