Monday, October 17, 2022

The BIG 50 High School Reunion


Rumford High School Class of 1972
Click on photos to enlarge

Throughout my post-high school life, thinking about an upcoming reunion always made me feel uneasy to the point of being desperate. In retrospect, I'm sure high school was among the most uncomfortable times of my life. Attending a reunion brought me right back to the hallway battlefields I skittered through as a  teenager.  During those years, both of my parents were ill; I didn't know who the fuck I was, and I fabricated a life while on the run. 

But that was 50+ years ago. 

I've been to four reunions thus far and the 50th proved to be the best. People were easy-going--no one needed to posture or chat about their successes. Mostly, we focused on high school stories and how  people were managing retirement--if they had retired. A number of us are still working. During the 50th celebration, laughter proved to be our second language. 

The two-day affair began on Friday, October 7. About six of us showed up to decorate 49 Franklin here in Rumford. It's a terrific venue. That Friday evening we had a cocktail party. No one appeared to be drinking heavily and everyone smiled. On Saturday morning, we toured the high school ("Back when I was here, it felt so large and I felt so small," said one classmate), we visited the town hall, The Stute. Some headed to the House of Pizza for lunch while others took naps. 

Saturday afternoon at Veterans Park, we sang along with the LeBlanc Family Band, a Canadian folk group who were, in a word, spectacular. The youngest member sang our class song 3 times having just learned it the day before.  In the evening, another cocktail party and then a tasty banquet dinner. Afterwards, we conducted a silent auction and raised somewhere in the neighborhood of $800. I believe this money will go toward a hefty, steel bench for the welcome area at the high school. Both the RHS Panther and MHS Pinto Classes of 1972 will be memorialized on the bench with a plaque. Pretty cool.  

People loved talking with one another. You could see it in their expressions. One of my favorites conversations was with Walter Chazin, our class president. Walter runs The Chazin Lab at Vanderbilt University.  Professor Chazin and his team study, in the simplest terms, ways to improve human health. I read about his work on his lab's website, but soft-spoken Walter talked about how important Rumford and the high school were in his development as a young man. He also shared his father's remarkable life story. Walter and I were in Bye Bye Birdie, the spring musical. He was the rock star and I was the mama's boy manager.  I so appreciated hearing Walter's reflection of his high school experience.   

Good-byes took a half an hour, and after complementing the staff of 49 Franklin, I lucked into 3 doggie bowls of strawberry shortcake. Throughout my lifetime, I've always left every event early, except the shindigs I organize. I headed out the door at a little before 10pm, thinking there's only so much an anxiety-ridden, reclusive writer can handle of the ghosts from fifty years past.  

Yearbook picture 1972

Charlene still in the 1970's 

Pam Kimball and Andy Capponi with Ray Broomhall

Lee and George

Julie and Debbie


The guys


More of the guys

High School Front Entrance

Concert pix

Reunion committee, selfless workers

Oh brother

Bruce and Rosie

A successful selfie

Maureen & Bob

Julie and me. 

Congress street

Singing "Imagine"

Congress Street

Rayna and Pete

Mike Puiia Gym

MVHS Trophy Cabinets

Jeff and Dennis

Glenn & the girls

Don, Diane, Nancy

The women!

LeBlanc Family Band

Another group featuring Jimmy Austin

Gearing up at the Stute

Those who've passed

Debbie, the lucky winner of a "Gallant Original." 

No comments:

Post a Comment