Friday, June 20, 2014

MY 50th

Me in the circle

 Dearest Readers,
Here we are. The returning class of 1964-Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Friday, June 6th, behind the Italian American Club in Rutland, Vermont (pop 17,000). Seventy+ out of 164 graduates showed up to receive our “golden” diplomas at the end of the graduation ceremonies for the class of 2014. 

We honored the dead (25), and danced Saturday at the Country Club to celebrate our friendships, our lives and our resilience. I’m honored to be a part of this group. 
I personally danced my brains out with and without a partner. My torso muscles are still charlie horse from too much “twisting”!

We look old. No getting around it.  It didn’t matter. I heard that two classmates didn’t come because they had gained so much weight. Looking good and having some measure of success in life seemed to be unstated motives for attending. Cost, commitments, distance and lack of interest could also have been factors.
Cecelia "Candy" Kane

 I was afraid that my memories of our young, strong, hopeful faces would be ruined by the reality of our wrinkles and droopy chins–like smashing the heads on Mt. Rushmore. Luckily, my brain refuses to remember all the new faces. Two weeks out, and I’ve already reverted to visualizing the yearbook originals–(mostly).

Some memories:
Pappy McGann
Pappy reminded me of the morning she saw me come to school a little late. I guess she asked me what happened and I told her I had failed my driver's test at the Rutland DMV.
She said I burst into tears. Such humiliation!

Suzanne Richards
At the Saturday night reunion dinner, Suzanne, Pappy and I discovered that all three of us had been dating Peter Pond around the same time. He was the rich kid a year older than us who drove  a new Porsche, went to Williams College and was a good dancer. At the time this might have been shocking news. Now it was wildly funny. None of us knows where Peter is today.

Frank Short
I asked Frank at the reunion if he remembered the time I gathered my courage to ask him to the "Sadie Hawkins" dance (a girl could ask a boy), and he refused me. I was crushed. He was shy and I lacked self-confidence. "Yes"., he said...and his wife told me he has often mentioned it. Sorry now, I think.

Mary Margaret Connelly
Mary Margaret was a cheer leader...very cool. One night I was driving from the Hampton Manor– a dance club "over the line" in NY state where you could drink at 18. Mary Margaret told me to slow down. It was late, the 2-lane road was curvy, and I probably had drunk some beers. The Monkees were singing "I'm a Believer" on the car radio. (This may have been a year after graduation).

Hunka Marro
I came to MSJ in my junior year from new Jersey. Hunka reminded me that when a nun asked me for something, probably on my first day, I stood by my desk in class and gave her the answer. He was surprised because no one at MSJ got up when called on. My former school, St. Aloysius Academy in Jersey City required it.

John Spencer

John died in 2005. He was my Junior Prom date. I remember I spilled red grape juice down the front of my white scoop neck gown. I think he brought me a wrist corsage. That's all I remember about it.

Dennis Cosgrove
Dennis died in 1998. He was my Senior Prom date. His passing and John's hit me hard.

Sally Wall

Howard Shortsleeve
Howard and Sally were the golden couple-athletic, friendly, good looking and popular. He was a football player and Sally a majorette. They married and stayed in Rutland. Howard was mayor I'm told. He died in 2000 from cancer and Sally in 2006 from a fall down her basement stairs.
Life is indeed fragile. Even the strong do not survive. They were my friends.

I'll close on a happier note: Maryann Belfore McDonough who I've circled in the picture below
was one of my first friends. I remember she told me she was an only child too, "...but I'm not spoiled." she said. This was joyous news for her and for me, an only child, new to a high school in a very different town.

Maryann Belfore McDonough in front

Our Uniforms–Reunion logo shot and designed by me

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