Our Tottenville High School class of 1967 was celebrating their 50th class reunion; we decided to hold a two-day affair on Saturday, October 21 and Sunday, October 22, 2017. Since so many of our classmates were traveling from other states, a lot of classmates took time to visit friends and family on Staten Island and to visit Manhattan.
We had our first event at the Hilton Garden Inn, where we hosted 97 people at a cocktail party. We had a DJ who played songs from the 1960’s. One of the ways we took a step back in time was to do a highlight of our class history. Here is what I read at our reunion:
FRESHMAN YEAR: After our short-lived reign as lordly eighth graders, we were well aware of our newly acquired plebian status. Our registers were numbered by ’67 the magic year in which we were expected to emerge polished and pruned graduates. We couldn’t even find our register homerooms! Once we arrived we were alphabetized into neat little rows and promptly saturated with Delaney cards. Some of us were subjected to freshmen initiation. Lipstick, shoe polish and whipped cream does come off. We were getting into the swing of things when on November 22, 1963 we joined the world in mourning our President, John F. Kennedy. The spring brought us a trip to the World’s Fair.
SOPHOMORE YEAR: Sophomore means a wise fool, but looking back we only remember feeling foolish. Geometry and world history attempted to give us something to think about and Shakespeare defeated them both. November 22: Mr. Kirchmeyer led the purple and white across the newly completed Verrazzano Narrows Bridge to celebrate its opening.
JUNIOR YEAR: We attempted to unravel the mysteries of trigonometry and chemistry in hopes of passing those notorious Regents. The city elected a new mayor, John Lindsay. The city as well as much of the Northeast was plunged into darkness for a night by a power failure. With the month of March came the distribution of school rings. Then came the gala event, the Junior Prom. We knew then that we had taken the last step on the long road to seniorhood.
SENIOR YEAR: There we stood on that September morning, at the top of the heap. We were now the mighty seniors with lipstick in hand and college on our minds. Winter came and with the snow came the SAT’s. The blizzard of ’67 swept New York under 14” of snow and forced Tottenville High School to close its doors for two days.
The incoming of 1967 was somewhat saddened by the fatal fire which killed U.S. Apollo astronauts: Grissom, White and Chaffee. Once again reality had shocked our youthful ideals. Yearbooks were distributed and senior dues were paid. And so one day the class of ’67 left, just as quietly and serenely as we had entered. But now we walked with a sense of confidence, accomplishment and anticipation.
To honor our classmates who had died we had a list of their names in frames placed around the room.
On Sunday, October 22 at 11:00 a.m. we held our event at Nansen Park where 74 people attended a BBQ. One of our classmates, Michael Mitchell, was killed in Viet Nam. As a tribute to Michael, the Tottenville High School United States Marine Corps Junior ROTC, organized by the school’s teacher-coordinator JoAnne Nolemi, performed a flag folding ceremony at Nansen Park. Michael’s sister Renee Mitchell Lang and her husband, Shorty Lang, flew up from South Carolina to attend. It was extremely emotional for her, but she wanted to be with us for our 50th as we honored her brother.
I have been to other flag folding ceremonies, and I must say that the students performance was of the highest standard. I was deeply moved and so were all of those who witnessed this very solemn ceremony. The cadets performed with true USMC tradition — respectful, disciplined and extremely dignified.
It was hard to believe that 50 years had gone by, but it was really, really nice to see some of our classmates again. A lot of old friendships were renewed and a lot of catching up was going on. We had a 20-year reunion, and now a 50th, people don’t want to wait so long for another chance to get together. In 2 years we all will be turning 70, so we are thinking that we should have a 70th birthday party for ourselves in Florida!
50th Reunion Committee: Linda Grabowsky Galante, Kathleen Golop Quinn, Diane Armstrong Schaming, Lois McKeon