The Golden Reunion
October 16-18, 2015
GHS Class of 1965
We did it. Our half-century mark has been achieved!
Back to Greenfield we all streamed, perhaps 105, and certainly more than 160 of us counting friends and spouses -- looking back, looking ahead. It was a golden, glorious weekend, seasonably cool and windy but with grand blue skies (take a look at the photos of the Quinnetucket II boat tours of the Connecticut River - following on subsequent pages. To leap to the action go to the Photo Album link in the menu on the left, select The 50th Reunion and you'll see five pages of activities and events in pictures and words).
Events were scattered over a three day period, stretched to four for some of the early-birds. Thursday evening was pre-reunion partying, in advance of the actual reunion. Various groups of classmates informally got together here and there throughout Franklin County and into Brattleboro, in anticipation of what the weekend would bring.
Then Friday exploded on the scene. Early in the afternoon golfers did their best to stay warm on the Greenfield Country Club links. By 4 p.m., some 65 classmates had gathered at the entry of the "new GHS" for a first tour. And what a place it was. The building is completely done -- the track is still under construction. Welcomed by Mayor Bill Martin and Principal Donna Wookcock, we learned that the school houses 8th-12th graders now, and has no vocational program, quite different than our day. But that helps to explain the enormity of the facility. It is truly huge. We also learned that not only was the physical structure new -- everything in it was new too: the computer labs, the pottery throwing wheels, the weight rooms, everything - way more than one would suspect. It is truly a magnificent house for learning!
We are only the second class to complete our secondary education at the old high school (Greenfield Middle School on Federal Street) and the old GHS. While the last GHS was built in 1957, it's "modern" structure took a toll - a flat roof is a leaky roof and a long, sprawling building complex is very hard to heat and cool. So it's history, yet the old Junior High still stands proud (even though it did have a protracted and contentious total makeover at the turn of the 21st century - see photos from our 46th Reunion).
The takeaway comment of the GHS tour, and maybe the weekend took place when a GHS coed who was perhaps just leaving the volleyball practice that was going on in the gym, questioned some of our classmates as to who this big group of old folks was. Blood drained from her face when she heard the reply, "take a good look dearie, in half a century, this is what you and your friends will look like". Just like we might recall a visit from the Class of 1915 back when we were GHS seniors!
By 7:00, we convened/invaded Taylor's Tavern on Main Street. The bar was reserved for us and closed to the public for a few hours, but in all honesty, there was no room for any 'outsiders' to slip in anyways. It was wall-to-wall Green and White. Sadly, the concurrent GHS football game taking place at Vet's Field against Easthampton, came up without a win that night... even with Bill Phelps calling the play-by-play as he does for every home game. Bill and other hardcore football fans appeared at Taylor's after the game was over. In the front window, the original GHS 65 Playboys gave us all a thrill. We heard Don Holmes, Rick Richardson and Dave Wartel together again for the first time since high school days, knocking out great old hits like "Walk, Don't Run".
Sue Mack had arranged for a great snack buffet spread that just kept on coming, into the wee hours. One of the highlights of the Friday night "Happy Hour" was that was a free gathering and many classmates who had weekend schedule conflicts, or just couldn't make up their minds regarding the Saturday banquet, were on hand for cameo appearances. We really didn't take attendance, but, without a doubt, we can account for more than 124 at the tavern. So it was absolutely a great mix of characters.
Officially, Taylor's Tavern reverted to the general public after 9:00 p.m., but you surely couldn't prove it by us. The partying went on and on, gradually drifting away to other venues around town, Village Pizza, motel lobbys and what have you. We did not look like a group of folks who are fast approaching their 70th birthdays!
Saturday began with water adventures. Steve Garanin led a small but brave crew out into the Connecticut River for a leisurely kayak tour in the morning. For the less hardy, class Vice-President Ken Burdick had arranged for two 90 minute boat tours along the Connecticut River, starting in Northfield, and traveling down to the Turners Dam, and back again. One boat set out in the morning and a second load of classmates took the afternoon cruise. Overally some 70 or so classmates road the river --- and it was cold! And then there were Ed Hall and Bob Giffen, who arrived in Northfield for the boat cruise, thought better of it, and instead escaped to a nearby bar - subsequently texting frozen classmates about the ambience, warmth and beverages they were enjoying.The photos will attest to all that. And it was great fun, educational, and cold.
After the river tour,we all went our own ways for a few hours, to prepare for the evening banquet. Some nearby haunts, such as the Wagon Wheel in Gill proved to be a grand rendezvous spot for more than a dozen looking to get warm fast!
While some frolicked on the river cruises, Shirley Brightman Nelson, Beth Anderson Roy, Phyllis Stone and Jane Lapointe Kosterman put the finishing touches on the banquet hall at the Country Club, ensuring that all the decorations were in perfect order! Green and White, and pumpkins and autumn leaves adorned the banquet hall of Terrazza Ristorante at the Greenfield Country Club. Ken Burdick had green and white bricks, that he'd salvaged from our old high school for party favors. Jane Lapointe Kosterman made a huge welcome sign, and Ed Hall coordinated a hugely successful gift exchange and raffle of items shared by classmates. Guests of honor for the evening were Betty Nee, longtime office secretary at GHS, and Jim Fotopoulos, teacher in the social sciences department from our era.
Don Holmes and Amy Lloyd provided warm and wonderful live music for the evening, in addition to some pre-recorded background oldies. If you live in the Southern New England area, consider Lloyd & Holmes to entertain at your functions [Don: 860-463-5188]. Then there was the dancing -- made possible by TJ Strahan's new, digital, retro jukebox. All the old music without the scratches! Throughout the evening the Master of Ceremonies was Class President Rick Richardson. Undoubtedly, the highlight of the night was the class conversation with Dan Wright. Danny had prepared and sent and video to us. It was projected on the big wall screen at Terrazza through the technological wizardry of Bill Seretta. Then, Bill had set up a reply booth where many classmates made short audio/video greetings for Dan. In the end, Bill compiled the whole works and sent it along to Dan. Both Dan's remarks to the class and our well-wishes to Dan are posted on the Saturday events page.
Sunday morning resulted in a variety of on-your-own brunches scattered throughout the county, and we all departed -- promising to get together again soon. It may be for a 70th birthday gathering, who knows.
Following are three chapters of photos from the reunion: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, plus some bonus Miscellaneous shots. Click on the day and enjoy the reunion images that highlight our fun. These photos came from many classmates. The advent of really fine digital cameras built into cell phones has enabled many of us to shoot good memories, even videos. Should you have any additional images which you'd like to share with classmates, send them in and I'll add them to the mix shown here. Also, you may wish to look at the many pictures which already been posted on our class Facebook site, GHS65.
Saturday Daytime Activities
Saturday Banquet Activities
How About Some Miscellaneous Photos