KINGMAN - Grover Thomas is "friends" with about a dozen of his Mohave County Union High School classmates on Facebook, because nobody writes or calls anymore, but he'd much prefer social reality over social media.
That's why he's traveling nearly 3,000 miles from his home in Atlanta to attend this weekend's Mohave County Union High School reunion hosted by the Class of 1960.
"I'm a people person," said Thomas, Class of 1962. "For me, social media is great for keeping up, but there's nothing like putting your arm around someone and shaking their hand and asking about their wife and kids."
Thomas will serve as master of ceremonies for the reunion, which starts with a meet-and-greet party at 6:30 p.m. today at the Old Elks building at Oak and Fourth streets.
Saturday's itinerary includes visits to the Mohave Museum of History and Arts, Mohave County Fair and Chillin' on Beale Street car show, finishing with dinner at 6:30 p.m. at the Old Elks and live music by Mike Torres. The Chophouse is catering the dinner.
More than 150 alumni of Mohave County Union High School will be attending the all-class reunion, some coming from as far away as Alaska and New Jersey, said Mary Brock, Class of 1960 and one of the event organizers.
"Our class doesn't have that many people left in it," she said. "It used to be a pretty small community back then and everyone was close to each other in high school."
Mohave Union High School, built in downtown Kingman in 1917, was the only high school in the county until schools were built in Bullhead City and Lake Havasu City. It later became known as Kingman High School.
The school's gymnasium, built in 1936 and listed in the National Historic Register of Historical Places, is now home to the Boys and Girls Club.
Eric Bond said there were 63 graduates in his Class of 1961, and about 38 showed up at the 50-year reunion a few years ago. That's not a bad percentage when you're getting up there in age, he noted.
He left Kingman to attend college and landed in Twenty Nine Palms, Calif., where he retired from teaching. Bond married his high school sweetheart, Sharon Boyer, who was from Topock.
With his children, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren in California, Bond doesn't see himself ever returning to live in Kingman, but he's looking forward to seeing friends he grew up with.
"My best friends are my high school friends. It's not the same in college. I was raised with these guys, I stayed at their house and they stayed at mine. We rode horses and we'd go to the show for a dime at the downtown theater," he recalled.
Thomas, who left Kingman in 1969 and ran companies with 8,000 employees, said he never lost touch with his small-town roots.
He remembers selling the Miner, a weekly paper in those days, making a nickel off the 10-cent price. He would go into the old Gateway Lounge and perform magic tricks for patrons, who then gave him $1 for the paper.
"It's an emotional thing for me," Thomas said. "I spent my life talking in front of people in Chicago and New York, and I lived and worked in those places. I'm just a kid from Kingman and I'm part of it. Everything I achieved in life was a function of growing up in Kingman in the '50s and '60s."
Limited dinner reservations are available. Cost is $65 a person. Call Mary Brock at (928) 753-3884 or Dan Roy at (928) 753-4037.