Thursday, December 8, 2011
So we had a junior high school reunion recently - everyone including my non-Ridgewood friends and family said "What!? Who goes to something like that?" Not an unreasonable question - I mean there can't be many classes that would take the time to do something like that I suppose - a junior high reunion. Unless of course, you graduated from high school in Ridgewood, NJ! Fly out from California - no problem. Chicago - of course! Canada, Colorado - count us in! I mean everybody was on the same page - for a junior high school reunion!
Staurday November 12, 2011 was the reunion - and it was perfect! Aside from a hotel issue (that has since been resolved) and the lack of sufficient time (we only had 8 hours!) - it was perfect! In fact, I guess you could say the lack of enough time makes it even that much more special. I'm so glad I started writing about Glen School which is what ultimately led to all this - though that wasn't the original intent of it.
Tom and Jimmy - many thanks for your moral support and for just being at the reunion. Terri, Rusty, Mary Ann, Sue L, Cynthia, Anita, Sue Y, Tom, Jimmy, Luann, Nancy, Gayle, Helen, Cathy, Corey, Dinardo, Vazzie, Rick Hartung, Perry, Denise, Frank, Margaret, Tad, Elise, Fred, Jeff, John, Jack, Dan, Elaine, Cathy - ugh, please forgive me for missing anyone - it was the best! For those on the fence about reunions - ours aren't your run-of-the-mill kind reunions - they are indeed fun!
It is a difficult thing to explain to people - and that's what makes it so great - you can't reallly explain it! You really have to experience it to understand it - BUT you also need to genuinely like the people you went to school with too - I graduated with 658 kids and there were probably another 30 or 40 that went to private high schools - and yes I liked all these people!
Some of us were ahead of each other academically, others ahead socially and others - well just always behind (like me!). But the bottomline was that we all kind of were there for each other - even then during the tough years of 14, 15, 16 and 17 years old! There's truly nothing I wouldn't do for these "kids" I grew up with - it's a bond that doesn't go away. We obviously were and are all different - Karen, she's such a talented artist, living her passion - Annie, wow - that smile that could disarm anyone - Katie, who is one of the dearest people I know - Cara - what can't you say about Cara - I could listen to her for hours - Ken Merrill - Ken I look so forward to our semi-annual dinners / brunches with each other - everybody in the circle (and there are a ton of us) - know how special it is - I always wish Artie was here - when I go "sentimental" on everyone - he would always understand - though I wish I could keep a lid on my enthusiasm sometimes! If there was anything I would ask of all these people it's "Can any of you start aging - please?" I guess at times like this - with such strange things happening around the globe its truly nice that Karen, Annie, Katie, Ken, Daun, Luann, Cara, Chic, Tommy, Tad, Appleton - well, that you're all still out there! It brings you back to a great place in your life and which helped to make you who you are today.
About 20 years ago, a company began publishing high school directories - in these $75 books is all the information (for those who participate) on when someone graduated, their married & maiden names, addresses and phone numbers, etc of people who attended your high school. The first time I ordered one (I have 2) I poured over it - I'm not ashamed to say I looked up everyone - there's no one I did not look up - it was interesting to discover that some kids I went school with - their parents were RHS alumni too. I checked out O'Connor - Strype - Annie - Karen - Lisa Faeth - I wanted to know where these people ended up, what they were doing and was always disappointed if someone hadn't sent in their info. The directory was indispensible for getting in touch with some very special people like Jan Potdevin - despite how long it took, I took great pleasure in seeing Jan in 2009 at the Glen School reunion - do you know Jan still has the ring I gave her way back when - how cool is that! In fact - selfish is the perfect word - I think I do this because I am indeed selfish - I don't mean that in a bad way - how can all these people mean so much to someone who was basically - at least until his junior year in high school - so quiet and seemingly shy!? I do get a helluva lot out of these things! I wish I could explain it but all of these people represent what it was like to attend school in Ridgewood NJ at that time - we were all a part of each other's lives in town sports, church, scouts, school - the names are all synonomous with my memories of those times - Speechley, Rimmer, Shepperd, Cancelmo, Perdue, Wescott and obviously the rest of the 658 - so it's not surprising that you could feel so comfortable with any one of them!
If the reunion wasn't enough, the next morning I had breakfast with the girls I always thought the most of when I was a kid - amazing in every sense of the word are these girls who to this day - remain such good friends with each other just as they did back then - but here they were - the next morning after the reunion and you're having breakfast with them - it was perfect - Daun, Karen, Annie, Katie - you are special (missed you Cara!)! I have the greatest affection for you all! And yes - my wife Caryn was there too!
The above photo was one of my favorite classes - 4th grade. 30 kids! Miss Prescott how did you do it? Anyway, all the girls I had crushes on when I was little were there - in one class - wow, talk about tripping over your words and desperately trying not to look stupid.....Annie, Katie, Cara, Karen, Beth Daly and Beth Perdue all here! This class probably best epitomized my life at Glen School - nothing but the best memories...............the saddest thing about it is that, though this was very much my 4th grade class, I was out sick the day this photo was taken!! One of my favorite classes and I'm not there the day they took our class photo!?
4th Grade Mrs. Prescott:
Front Row l to r: Robbie Whittemore, John Petirk, Corey Duvall, Frank Fortino
2nd Row l to r: Susan Andersen, Lisa Faeth, Annie, Sue Nunno, Mrs. Prescott, Cara, Beth Daly, Katie, and Barbara Durheimer
3rd Row l to r: Karen, Lynn Malley, Kara Degraw, Beth Perdue, Martin Vaz, Greg Rehe, Betsy Kline, Irene Williams, Jennifer Rudy
Back Row l to r: Bruce Meneghin, Ken, Bobby Stewart, Wayne Bond, Gary Vukov, Jim Smethurst, Alex Kramer, Chic Voorhis
Other great "kids" I grew up with were in another split 4th/3rd grade class at the time - they included: Artie Brierley, Linda Pursiano, Maryann Vaz, Carl Vrabel, Jill Neandross, Carey Hoff and Jan Koper.
I had such a great time you guys - thanks for what you did that weekend too! I toast all of you and can't wait til we get together again!!!
Posted by Rick Flannery at 8:00 PM