Essex reunion reconnects residents
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.