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Louisa County’s matriarch celebrates past

Posted on Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 9:00 am

At 97 years old, merely having the memories of nearly a century’s worth of life isn’t enough for Eugenia Bumpass. She wants to share them with others.

On Tuesday, Oc. 29, she was able to do exactly that.

Eugenia Bumpass speaks to attendees at the annual party she organizes at Lake Anna Rescue Inc., along with the assistance of Mabel Nelson.

Eugenia Bumpass speaks to attendees at the annual party she organizes at Lake Anna Rescue Inc., along with the assistance of Mabel Nelson.

Gathering at the facilites of the Lake Anna Rescue Squad, Bumpass held a reunion for more than 50 of her close family members and friends in what has become an annual tradition unofficially called “The Bumpass-Buckner Reunion.” The event serves as an opportunity to rekindle the fire of past relationships that began many years ago as classmates and neighbors.

“It’s just a happy time for everyone to get together,” said Mabel Harris Nelson, who helps organize the event with Bumpass.

The event started in 1990 as a way for Bumpass to reconnect with members of the community and friends that had moved away.

“I decided we should have a lunch,” Bumpass said. “I was lonesome and I didn’t have time to be, and since then, we’ve always enjoyed it.”

Over the years, the event has grown larger than Bumpass or Nelson every thought possible. Family groups from the Boxley and Harris clans slowly joined the festivities, and eventually it became somewhat of a community event.

“It has meant a lot to everybody,” Bumpass said. “Some of us go to different churches, but this was a way of meeting with our friends and relatives.”

The festivities were originally held at Gilboa Christian Church, but due to the damage from the 2011 Mineral Earthquake, they have since been moved to the Lake Anna Rescue Squad. Wherever it is held, though, the fourth Tuesday of every October has become a date that is marked off on many people’s calendars.

A full lunch featuring appetizers, chicken, country rolls and refreshments were provided by the staff of the Lake Anna Rescue Squad, which was followed by a time for attendees to share their personal memories of days gone by. Louisa County Public Schools Superintendant Deborah Pettit took the floor first, recollecting a time where she was known simply as “Bump,” by college classmates due to her hometown’s unique moniker.

Pettit also updated the group on the progress of the county’s schools and construction, and made sure they knew that the town’s matriarch would be a central figure as the county pens another page of history when the new Louisa County High School building is complete in 2015.

“We’re going to cut that ribbon and open up that new high school together,” Pettit said.

Nelson cited the privilege that it was to gather at the facility, a thought that was echoed by many others. Nelson moved from the county many years ago. The reunion is one of maybe a handful of times she is able to see Bumpass during the year.

To read the entire story, see the Nov. 21 edition of The Central Virginian.