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50th Reunion

Created on: 06/10/11 09:57 PM Views: 2428 Replies: 1
50th Reunion
Posted Friday, June 10, 2011 04:57 PM

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--”

And the THS 50th reunion, which was a great experience. My hat is off to the people who put it together. Many thanks. I’m sorry to take so long to offer a comment. Somehow the days fill up.

I hadn’t been to any of the previous reunions, and originally I was taking a pass on this one. But after posting my biographical remarks on the web site I received a surprising number of emails concurring with some of the sentiments or simply saying hello. Jesus, I hadn’t heard from those folks for 50 (50? Can’t be!) years. It was enough to change my mind, at least halfway. I decided to attend the get-together on Friday and the tour on Saturday. And that’s what I did. Now I wish I had stayed for it all.

It was good to see everyone after so long. Whatever we were back in the day, whatever we’ve become, Teaneck and its elementary schools, the junior high and the high school, the streets and parks and playgrounds, the classmates and friends, they contributed mightily, for good or ill, to who we are.    

I hope I’m not careening down a sappy road here. But if I am, so what? I’m sixty-fucking-seven years old. Yes, I’ve arrived at the you-can-kiss-my-ass stage of life. It’s not cranky-old-codger yet; that’s still a bunch of years off, I hope.

I drove through the town twice, after arriving Friday and again on Saturday before the tour. I hadn’t visited Teaneck in at least 35 years. Actually hadn’t changed much. More traffic, more fast-food places (nobody eats at home? I’m sorry I never thanked you, Mom, for all those hot meals around the kitchen table), a big ol’ hotel and whatnot, but otherwise quite recognizable.  I stopped a number of times and took photos, at a park I loved (one place that’s changed considerably, alas) at each of the schools I attended, at the church where I played the Innkeeper in the Christmas pageant on the lawn (forgive me, church, despite all your best efforts I became an atheist), at the location of the candy store where I worked after school and on weekends (some garish establishments there now, alas again. Mr. and Mrs. Ruskin always treated me fairly, more than I can say for many other employers in the decades that followed) . . .

You get the idea. Talk about a heavy heart. At Longfellow Elementary School No. 1 (a church now?) I stood for few minutes gazing at the concrete wall that bordered the old ball field. We used to hang out there, younger adolescents from the neighborhood, on warm summer evenings. We sat on the wall, smoked the cigarettes we weren’t supposed to be smoking, and listened to somebody’s portable radio, to the earliest and most wonderful rock ’n roll ever created. We hadn’t been exposed to rock from birth, like kids now. So when it hit, along about junior high school, it was a complete rush, the first mind-expanding drug. Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Eddie Cochran, Little Richard, the Platters, the Elegants (“Little Star” -- somebody play that when they’re scattering my ashes), Dion and the Belmonts, Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis -- they were gods come to earth.  I still remember the day a kid showed up with the first transistor radio any of us had ever seen (a white Emerson Vanguard, if memory serves). O wondrous day! Such fabulous technology! The son of a bitch wouldn’t let anybody else hold it.

Okay, I’m wandering. I’ll stop. For now. Suffice it to say, I hope I’m still around if there’s another reunion. Some of us will be gone. Some of the people at the 50th will be gone. I can’t grasp this business of growing old. It ain’t natural. In my mind I’m still about 15 and sitting on that wall down at the school, sucking on an Old Gold. “In the still of the night. . .”

Thanks again, everyone. If you ever want to chat, my email is; my cell is 908-319-9365. I’d be pleased to hear from you.



John Monteith

RE: 50th Reunion
Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2011 12:35 AM

Hey John;

Thanks for a terriffic rememberence of our great times of our youth.  Your message has cristilized the essence of our being.

I wish you Health, Wealth and Prosperity.

Len Q.