“I knew it had potential,” Motgomery said. “The kids on the island, even through we were all friends, it was more like family. Whenever we went off the island to go to school, when you'd see someone else from the island, it was a good feeling. You know they got your back.”
Larger venues may be required as the event's popularity continues to grow.
“After the first one I knew it was hard to talk to everybody so people wanted more time,” Montgomery said. “The night just flew by. I don't think everybody got to spend as much time as they wanted to spend with everybody.”
Snatching precious moments with island “family” members revisiting shared memories is what helped create the reunion, Montgomery said.
“I called Darlene Edic and said: 'Every time I see fellow islanders it's for a funeral or a wedding. We ought to consider creating a Kids Reunion so we don't have those obstacles. Thanks to Facebook, oh my gosh, the responses were coming in like crazy.”
Darlene (Edic) Crawford, now of West Palm Beach, said she left the island to attend college in Gainesville in 1985 and never really returned to live on Boca Grande although her parents still do.
She said it had been frustrating staying in touch long-distance over the years.
I thought if we all knew when to show up at the same time we'd do it,” she said. “The first year a lot of us hadn't talked to each other or seen each other in 30 years. But it keeps getting better. Last year, PJ's was wonderful. Betsy is an island kid. And every generation showed up not just mine.”
Montgomery said he's not sure he'll be able to make it back this year but he's working at it.
“I'm planning on it,” he said. “Lots of business things are trying to get in the way.”
Crawford said she'll be there.
Oh, yeah. I'll be there without my four children so I'll have more time to socialize,” she said with a laugh.
Invitations were sent out on the Boca Grande Reunion Fan Page, with coverage in the Gasparilla Gazette and on Facebook for the Boca Grande Kid's Reunion 3.0.
“We have now heard from approximately 85 people in regard to RSVPs for this year's reunion.,” said organizer Jackie Silcox Fogarty before the holiday weekend.
A dinner buffet and cash bar will be offered for $20 per plate. RSVP by replying on the Facebook Fan Page, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org'>email@example.com or calling Fogarty at (941) 475-5843.
Boca Grande native Caroline Nabers, right, chats with Suzanne Fugate of Sarasota at the second-annual Boca Kids Reunion at P.J.'s SeaGrille.
Fact BoxTo go
What: Boca Grande Kid's Reunion 3.0
When: 6-10 p.m. July 30
Where: Miller's Dockside
RSVP: July 16 deadline
Contact: Jackie Fogarty at (941) 475-5843.