Es­sex reunion re­con­nects res­i­dents

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By: GIANNA DECARLO gde­carlo@ches­pub.com

Es­sex res­i­dents young and old took a trip back in time dur­ing the 2nd Annual Es­sex Reunion on Satur­day, September 2.

Hawks Plea­sure Club on River­side Rd. in Es­sex was bustling with con­ver­sa­tions, laugh­ter, and ac­tiv­ity as res­i­dents who resided in

Old Es­sex dur­ing the 1940s1980s re­con­nected, look­ing back on the good times in our lit­tle part of Bal­ti­more County.

The event is the cre­ation of Ed Slifker, Vaughn Kapp, and Rod McMil­lion, three friends who have known each other for over 50 years.

While sit­ting at a lo­cal bar, the three men be­gan to rem­i­nisce on their decades in Es­sex be­fore kick­ing around the idea of a reunion.

If their friend­ship had lasted so long, then surely there must be other just like them still liv­ing in the same neigh­bor­hood.

They were right. Dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral Es­sex Reunion at Cox’s Point last year, over 150 peo­ple showed up, rep­re­sent­ing decades of Es­sex his­tory. They be­lieved this year’s event sur­passed that.

“It’s just a re­ally great op­por­tu­nity to get to­gether and see peo­ple you haven’t seen in a long time and rem­i­nisce on old times and laugh and joke and have a good time,” said McMil­lion.

“Ev­ery­body hasn’t seen each for years and years and years. We all went to school to­gether, played ball to­gether, lit­tle league, all that stuff,” said long-time Es­sex­ian Wil­lie Com­mato. “It’s a great party, this is all re­ally great to see.”

“Peo­ple al­ways remember faces, no mat­ter how long it’s been. It might be awk­ward at first, but once you start talk­ing to peo­ple, you’re back in the thick of it,” said Slifker.

In at­ten­dance was Joe “Buzzy” Novotny who ar­rived with nine of his friends who he has known for over 50 years, all of them grow­ing up in the area.

“We’re still friends and we get to­gether every week and play pinochle,” he said.

Novotny fondly re­calls grow­ing up and watch­ing sports games at the lo­cal schools and play­ing bas­ket­ball with his neigh­bors at the Martin Blvd. Boys’ Club. He said he re­mem­bers watch­ing Es­sex de­velop from a scarcely pop­u­lated area to a neigh­bor­hood filled with houses fea­tur­ing mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions of Es­sex lo­cals.

“It’s a bond. It’s hard to de­scribe. We’ve all come to­gether. Even though I moved to West Vir­ginia, I still call as many peo­ple as I can still in Es­sex and it’s a good feel­ing,” said for­mer res­i­dent Bill Rush.

This bond still re­mains strong even for those who moved away. Slifker said that they have peo­ple fly in from places like Texas and Florida just to make the event.

“Ev­ery­body is like one big fam­ily,” said McMil­lion.

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