60th High School Reunion: Partying With Classmates of the Class of 1955.
|Stoneham High graduates class of 1955 at our 60th reunion. Some had not seen each other for 60 years!|
" Jodgie, Jodgie Pollock (pronounced Poll-ick, sharp Boston accent), I didn't recognize you? -- (while eyeing my bald head that in 1955 had a dark, curly mop) Where the hell you been?"
Leaving out the foul language that routinely went with it, that was the typical greeting I got recently from former classmates of the class of 1955, Stoneham High School, in Stoneham, Mass. It was our 60th reunion at the Four Points By Sheraton, a luxury hotel and conference center in Wakefield, Mass.
Foul language was how we guys talked as teens oh so long ago and it was great to hear it once again. The name-calling and ribbing was quickly followed by big handshakes, smiles, hugs, and joking about the old days and questions about health and what everybody was doing all these years.
The place was packed with about 60 of us -- talk about an appropriate number! -- who had gone to high school together, sharing all that went with it: classes, sports, dancing to 50's hits, social events like the Carnival Ball, plays like "What a Life," and, most of all, indelible times figuring out life and finding ourselves.
The group photo at the reunion:
Even though she was not an alumna, Barbara was smiling and chatting the whole time and had a great time -- and I did notice her partying with my old buddies. Here she is cavorting with Phil Corbett:
I could hardly complain since I had grabbed Peggy Thiede and dragged her out onto the dance floor. Peggy lived across the street from me on Park street in Stoneham and knew me as a preteen foster kid.
I should not have been dancing with Peggy, not because my wife Barbara was right there watching, but because I had my left hip replaced three months before. But you know what? I didn't care.
I felt like dancing with my old friend Peggy and I went out there and gave it my all. So did Peggy. We had a blast. (I know a video was taken of our dance. If anybody has the video, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll share it with the world right here. I'm sure it will go viral.)
Except for you know what, we all had been through the entire life cycle: work and earning a living, marriage and family or going it alone, and all that it takes to build a life. Not to mention all the loss and heartache and health issues that go along with a long life. We're all pushing 80 for God's sake!
So for us -- been there, done that -- if we don't do what we feel like now, when? That was the feeling in the air, with this reunion possibly being the last. Five years from now, how many of us will be around and up to attending?
Surely, now is the time to follow our bliss. Judging from all the laughing and incessant raucous chatter at this reunion, the feeling was unanimous. The reunion was a blast with great food, music, dancing, catching up with everybody -- a wonderful trip down memory lane. And, oh what memories!
All the chatter and laughs about our high school days way, way, way back when we were teenyboppers, didn't surprise me one bit. Over the past few years I have attended several Stoneham High class breakfasts of a smaller group, all guys, girls not invited. Every one has been a barrel of laughs with joking around, filthy language, and routine name-calling the norm.
Four years ago, I wrote about my first breakfast meeting with my old buddies from Stoneham High class of 1955 in my blog, patientsprogress.blogspot.com. Here are short excerpts:
Oh, those were the days, in the 1950's, when we guys were kids together at Stoneham High in Massachusetts. We were all about sports, girls, and being "cool" and popular. We ran in packs like wild dogs. We had filthy mouths. We were teens in the fabulous fifties.
With the Korean War recently over, it was a time of Cold War with the U.S. and Russia locked in ideological warfare. With the two superpowers threatening each other with nuclear destruction, the "commie threat" and visions of mushroom clouds hovered over American society.
At Stoneham High, none of this mattered to us kids. Who cared about "commies"? We were into being young. We wanted to hang out, throw off parental controls (parents were to be feared in the fifties), to be good at sports (being a good student was so boring), and, most of all, popular.
A funny thing happened when I went to the first meeting at Brother's in Wakefield. Instead of feeling old, I became young again. Instead of nearly 73, I was 16, my age as a high school senior. I was the second youngest in the class. To my great surprise, I acted and talked the way I did then and so did everybody else.
End blog excerpts. To read the full story, click here.
Now let's go back to the big reunion, girls invited. Being shy with girls no more, with my wife Barbara right there watching, I went on a girl-chasing binge.
Photos from the reunion:
|Larry Weiss, left, of the old Weiss Farm and my reunion girlfriend, Peggy Thiede. I had not seen either of them in 60 years. And boy did we catch up on the good old days and Weiss Farm happenings.|
Here I am above with a bunch of pretty girls. I have my right arm around Peggy Thiede and my left around Barbara Smith, who organized the reunion. In the foreground, left, is Maryann Hefferman Lorance. To her right is Carol Klamans Greco.
Below,, I'm with a bunch of the guys. From the left are: John Bracciotti, Eddie Newton, me with my paw on Al Muse's shoulder, and Johnny Lawrence. The head above Al belongs to Bill McLaughlin. No doubt about it, I'm the good looking one. I hear groans from the other guys. Shut your faces, you assholes!
In the summer of 1956, Eddie Newton, Johnny Lawrence, and I, not knowing what to do with our lives, decided on the spur of the moment to join the U.S. Army. Off we went to Fort Hood, Texas for basic training. We remember it like yesterday. Johnny tells how after a recruit said something I didn't like, I jumped across the table and punched him out.
So watch what you say to me!
Seriously, I can't believe I did that. Johnny, are you sure you didn't make that up?
Sadly, many of our classmates from Stoneham High class of 1955 are no longer with us. But with a large display of their high school photos, below, they were very much with us at this reunion. Along with many others, I lingered over these photos, remembering every single classmate. (It helped to have their faces and names right there.) I missed them. I wished they could have been at this wonderful 60th reunion. On second thought, they were there with us, through their photos and our memories of them.
NOTE: My latest novel is Something Tells Her. Go to Amazon.
Jane is abandoned at birth and then placed in ever-changing, uncaring, and often abusive foster homes. At age 12, her latest foster father makes a sexual advance on her and, with something telling her this is not right, she runs out the door. On the street, alone, no family, nobody, not even a last name, how is she going to survive?
Other E-Books by George Pollock
"State Kid: Hero of Literacy" is fiction based on his real-life experiences growing up in foster homes; "Last Laughs," is the true story of how five foster kids (he and four younger siblings) found their way in life and each other. "Killers: Surprises in a Maximum Security Prison," is the story of his being locked up for 23 hours with killers in a maximum security prison; "I, Cadaver" is about his postmortem adventures and mischief in the anatomy lab at UMass Medical School. “A Beautiful Story” demonstrates the art and process of creative writing as a 16-year-old boy goes all out to write a story that literally saves his life.