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Seniors celebrate the past on New Year's Day

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James Stancil, right, interacts with Donnie Barnes at the Edgecombe Street Riders Motorcycle Club and The Galactica Universal Social Club and Friends 19th Annual New Year’s Unity and Friendship Breakfast Monday at Abram’s Restaurant.

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BY AMELIA HARPER
Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

TARBORO — Former members of the Edgecombe Street Riders Motorcycle Club and the Galactica Universal Social Clubs kept up a time-honored tradition early New Year’s Day, despite the frigid temperatures.

More than 50 area residents who are former members of the clubs or are friends of members attended a New Year’s Unity and Friendship Breakfast at 8:30 a.m. on Monday at the Abram’s Restaurant in Tarboro. This was the 19th year of the New Year’s Day Breakfast.

Dorothy Davis organizes the event each year.

“Our clubs used to meet more often and we worked on community projects together, but now we just get together once a year and talk about the past. We also collect canned goods for the homeless shelter in Tarboro,” Davis said. “New Year’s Day is just a good time to hold this event. We can meet as we start a new year and a new beginning.”

The Edgecombe Street Riders was a motorcycle club formed in 1975. Eric Gray, the first president of the club, said the group started with about a dozen members, most of whom were married and all of whom shared a love of motorcycles. Later, the group grew to a maximum of 48 participants, who met together for events and to travel to places like Myrtle Beach, Virginia and even Pennsylvania.

“We didn’t want to be a motorcycle gang. We wanted to be a motorcycle club. We were something to see when we all rode together. The cops in Tarboro usually stopped us just to ask what we were doing, but they never really gave us any problems. I guess we just attracted a lot of attention when we rode together.” Gray said.

A few years later the wives and other supporters and friends formed a group for the women called the Galactica Universal Social Club. Pat Brown, the founder and former president of the club, explained where she got the name. 

“We called it ‘universal’ because it was open to people in other communities and we called it ‘galactica” after the television show. I just liked that name,” Brown said.

To demonstrate the universal nature of the club, this year, some members of the Skyhawks Motorcycle Club in Enfield and the Ladies of Essence Social Club in Rocky Mount were among those who joined the festivities.

Louis Higgs, the last president of the Edgecombe Street Riders Motorcycle Club, said the clubs technically shut down about 20 years ago when most of the members developed other interests.

“Everybody began to get so busy with their families and churches and some of them became preachers, so we had to give up that part of our life,” Higgs said. 

William Suggs, now the pastor of the Free Union Missionary Baptist Church in Lawrence, is one such example. 

“We just rode the street to have fun,” Suggs said. “I still have a motorcycle and ride sometimes, but not nearly as much as I used to.”

Gray said he really enjoys the annual New Year’s Day breakfast.

“We can laugh, tell jokes and have a good time,” Gray said. “I really must enjoy it to come out on a day as cold as today.”

The New Year’s Day breakfast  also allows the members of the clubs a chance to stay in touch each year, recall the glory days of youth and celebrate what is important.

“We can thank God that we are coming into another year,” Higgs said.

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