The Much-Anticipated Reunion

seniortrip After over a year of planning, then anticipation, then realization, and now reflection, I am finally writing this blog about my high school 50th reunion. This photo taken in 1967 is our senior class trip to Washington, the first senior class trip for Jericho High School. We were a class of firsts — the first to go all four years at JHS, the first to name the newspaper, the JerEcho, and the first to name a mascot, the Jayhawks (apparently Jericho High School has had to pay the University of Kansas $1 a year ever since!).

I had not been on Long Island in 30 years. In my journey from Manhattan to Flushing to Little Neck to Jericho, I thought it was far from New York City. In reality, it only took a few minutes from the bridge to the exit which ran right beside the area where I lived. I found the hotel in Plainview and ran into Wendy who was to pick up Sheila at the Hicksville LIRR station. So, we went together and decided that we would visit our houses and take photos which we did. 36orangedrive I was absolutely stunned to find that my home for middle school, high school, and college hadn’t changed a bit. To say that it was a strange feeling is an understatement. We did a lot of fun driving around and revisited the sites of some old haunts but the changes were dramatic and Whole Foods and Starbucks took the place of Sandy’s where we used to go after basketball games so it was bittersweet. Once back at the hotel, others began arriving and a really amazing thing happened. We all sat together and chatted. The conversation was easy and years melted away as we talked about family, travel, the reunion, and all sorts of things among about 10 of us. My theory has been that the shared history enables us to be so comfortable with one another — all grandchildren of immigrants who moved to Jericho in search of the American dream of home ownership and great educational facilities. Others noted that it probably was just the fact that we had such a small graduating class and everybody knew one another.

Interesting to me were Jimmy Davis’ comments about the 1950s in Jericho where his family has lived for many generations. Our homes were all so new, developments (East and West Birchwood and others) carved out of farmland, that I thought everyone there was new just like us. But that wasn’t the case — some people looked at us as interlopers, moved their children to private school so they wouldn’t have to attend with the Jewish kids from the city. Thinking about the history of Jericho made the reunion even more meaningful and I hope Jimmy will write it down before and share his wealth of knowledge about the area.

The night of the reunion held at a restaurant in Huntington, we arrived to find that the balloons were sent in error with 2013 instead of 1963, so the manager and waiters cut out numbers from butcher paper, hung them, and we were welcomed as the class of 1693! About 30 people attended and it was amazing to see everyone again, instantly recognizing old friends and all of us coming up with stories that had been long stored away. debandreapaula Deb, Andrea, and Paula pictured here reminded me of our one and only stage performance with Andrea as Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun and Deb and I on stage singing some random song that I think was created so we had something to do — we had no lines and that was our only moment on stage. I don’t think we were very good but we both remembered it all these years later.

The day after the dinner, some of us visited our high school which is ranked as one of the top high schools in the northeast. The old part of the school that was our junior high school still exists and we had lots of stories to share about the halls of high school. Lois Smith, art teacher in 1963 and friend to many in our class, guided the tour and is still working at the school. atjhs In spite of this lengthy blog, I am having trouble putting into words the affect this experience has had on me — the reconnection with a very important four years and the feelings that the two days evoked. I am so happy to have had the opportunity to re-find friends that helped shape my life. There are at least several more blogs to come about my home, meeting up with a friend of my mother who is still in her home just down the street, and thinking about how high school influences our decision making (that mean old guidance counselor) and ultimately how we conduct our lives.