This week-end my lovely wife and I attended my 50th high school reunion and what a time, a time it was too. That is not to say I attended 50 reunions, it was the 50th year since we graduated.:) It was held at the Double Tree hotel on Rt.17 in Mahwah, New Jersey about 45 minutes from where we live now. People came from far and wide to attend. There were fellow classmates from as far away as California, Massachussetes, Maine, Texas , Arkansas, Florida as well as here in New Jersey of course. Our class had 250 people and close to 100 attended. Not bad at all.
Since I hadn’t seen any of these people in 50 years I wondered who I would recognize and how would they be? I must say I couldn’t get over how great everyone looked. The women were all beautiful and guys were all handsome and well preserved. My class aged and matured nicely. Everyone changes and if I ran into any of these folks on the street I wouldn’t have known them so all were given name tags so we would know who was who.
On Friday night they had a mixer in the bar/restaurant area of the hotel which was quite nice. Everyone was so cordial and friendly and it was great to meet them all and find out what they had been up to in the last 50 years.
On Saturday they arranged a tour of our old high school to see how things have changed. What a difference these kids have today. The chemistry labs and library have ultra modern state of the art computer equipment they recently brought. There were beautifully decorated and elaborate paintings the students did themselves right on the walls. See above. The lockers were all a green color while ours were brownish tan color. They had special wall honoring past teachers which were ones we remembered having and truly deserved to be there.
Saturday night was the main event where everyone attended. Several of my classmates were Vietnam Vets and I shook their hands and thanked them for their service sincerely and they appreciated it in turn. It was interesting to see all the different occupations they were from. One woman was a retired flight attendant with American airlines who was all over the world, there was a teacher from Arkansas who was an American history teacher for the past 30 years, several accountants now retired, a person still working in real estate and myself a retired newspaper writer and retail salesperson.
Some women classmates brought their husbands and men brought their wives like myself. Some were grandparents, some just had one child, some were just a married couple like me and my wife and still others were engaged several times, but never married while others were married, divorced and remarried.
We lost many former classmates who passed away (23 in all) and they had a special table set up for them where we shared memories of them. A few were killed in Vietnam, some died in auto accidents, some died from diseases like cancer and one suicide. They had another table honoring the vets who died in Vietnam.
There was a fabulous dinner consisting of chicken primavera, filet of sole stuffed with shrimp and crabmeat and baked ziti parmigiana, a carving station of flank steak, seasoned vegetables, tossed garden salad, various soft drinks and a large vanilla sheet cake with mocha lining.
Everyone was so easy to talk to and I didn’t sense any cliques which I hate. Sometimes you have these cliques in high school and when you get together many years later they still hang with each other. I didn’t see any of that here and everyone was so glad to see everyone again. Everyone was honest, sincere and themselves and not the least bit phony. My wife who is a very amiable and chatty person even found herself in conversation with some of my fellow classmates while I was mingling with others.
At one point I was given a copy of an article I wrote in the school newspaper from 1964 I had completely forgotten about. I wrote a satirical piece about the state of the human race at the time with countries threatening nuclear annihilation and people passing by as others get beat up on the street and don’t stop to help. My wife laughingly said, “This sounds like the kind of stuff you write today.” 😀
At the end we were presented with a super fabulous slide show (soon to be on you tube) of the year we graduated done with music popular at the time. The average yearly income was $5,100, a house sold for $14,000 and gas was $.31 a gallon. It was super and the music perfectly synchronized. It brought tears to many an eye including mine. I want to go back to that time. What a night!!!!
I want to say a deep heartfelt thanks to my fellow classmates Chip Tanis, MaryAnn Toell, Pat Mace and Mary Fraccola for all their hard work and diligence in pulling off such a successful evening. Thanks guys. You’re the best. As we were leaving my wife said to me, ”You have such a great bunch of classmates so warm and friendly.” Yes indeed and so they are. Another reunion is planed for next month in Florida for all the Florida classmates who live there and anyone else who wants to attend.