The faces I haven’t seen since 7th grade, the memories remain

My old friend Luke Heaton sent me some photos from the Division Avenue High School 40th Reunion.

The kids are alright.

The kids are alright.Luke, Dave, Peggy and Holly.

I flashed on the faces of my old friends, four across. Luke. Dave. Peggy. Holly.

I didn’t graduate from Division, mind you. My high school is Ward Melville, further east on Long Island. I attended that Nassau County school, though, a 7th-through-12th grade biggie, for one year before moving to Suffolk County, were I had two years at Murphy Junior High before my three years in high school there.

But I had been in three years of elementary school classes with the kids in the photo above, culminating in Mr. Leo Nolan’s sixth-grade class, a gathering that made its mark on all of us, apparently forever.

Luke and I have been trading emails of late.

Here are the touching words he sent me a week ago.

Hi Mark,

By all means, please post the reunion pic!

The Leo Gang was very well represented that night. I had hoped we could get everyone together for one pic but it didn’t work out.

I saw Abby Levison, Kevin Rockitter, Cindy Walker, Rich Daskin, Dave Clark, Kathy Carr, Billy Euell. There may have been others as well. I’ve stayed in touch with Dave, Kevin and Peg pretty regularly over the years. One of the things we continue to take constant pride in is our Levittown roots.

I was texting back and forth with Peg yesterday. She mentioned that today she and Dave are going for a drive to look at the changing foliage, just for a little field trip for Peg.

I’ll tell you what I told her yesterday: I was educated in the Levittown school system for 12 years (kindergarten was spent in upstate New York). In the 40 years since I graduated from DAHS I have made a lot of friendships but none are as strong or enduring as those forged during those formative years in Levittown. I am proud of my blue-collar roots and grateful for the values and friendships I was able to take away from those years.

I guess that’s a long-winded way of saying I’d be honored to be included in any piece that draws attention to the friendships I was able to establish all those years ago.

Mark, you may not have graduated with us but I can still remember you playing “Mary had a Little Lamb” on the saxophone and I remember you catching in 8 year old little league at the VFW field on Strawberry Lane. Austin Esso or B&B Sunoco, if memory serves. Not many people have these types of memories and friendships all these years later.

At the reunion it was very sobering to see the table dedicated to members of our class who had passed away. It also made these friendships all that much more important to me.

I know you asked a simple “yes” or “no” question about using the pics but I am a bit of a wind bag!

Anyway…………….

Enjoy the Sunday and please send any links to your work, I’d love to see it.

Enjoy the rest of that Sunday I did, indeed, Luke. Thanks for including me in the class memories, my friend. I feel as if I were there, just like when we learned so much together in our Wonder Bread years.

Do you have any high school reunions in the recent past or near future? Do you remember your friends from school or is it the distant past to you? What’s your favorite school memory, and why?

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34 thoughts on “The faces I haven’t seen since 7th grade, the memories remain

  1. I was never very popular in high school so I just separated myself from that group and was already doing my own thing by the time I graduated. The friends I did have, I was able to stay close with through social media. Nice that you can still keep up with the old gang, Mark.

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  2. what a great letter and happy he let you post the picture. i went to a high school reunion 5 years ago and had a ball hearing stories about what happened in high school, especially things i had forgotten about.

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  3. I never go to my reunions. I collected a few people here and there, I even have a friend I made in the 2nd grade! I’m just not people-y enough to encounter them en masse like that.
    Now, my few friends from high school do seem to have friended our entire class on Facebook, so sometimes there’s chatter among us, but I’ve no interest in opening my social media and feeling like I’m back in high school, lol!

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  4. I have never been to a class reunion. High school was like a blur, I graduated in 3 years, had lots of friends along the way, but having moved so much through my life, I have lost touch with all of them. It kind of sucks, because I don’t have someone to recall the memories with, they just mill about in my brain, popping up at the most unusual times. I think it is really cool that you guys are keeping in touch. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be in a town where you knew everyone as kids. That’s the problem with coming from a nomadic family.

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    • I wonder what it would be like, too, SD. I have no clue at all. I’ve lived in the Syracuse area for 31 years, but I’m still an outsider to the natives. Odd, this is. My daughter, on the other had, is 25 and lives within two miles of the hospital where she was born. I’m so glad for her.

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      • Wow, that’s really cool. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what hospital I was born in, only that it was somewhere outside Sydney. 31 years – that’s a long time to live in one place. I have lived here for 9 years and can feel the moving bug tugging at me!

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      • Well, after I typed that, I realized I actually moved here in 1983, so that makes it 33 years. I moved to several different locations around the Syracuse area over that time, but within 30 miles or so, SD. As for you, wow, the 9-year itch. Will you and hubby scratch it?

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      • We would like to, but we are both getting older and both have really good jobs, the housing market still is in a slum here in California and the kids are established and cemented, but I think they too would like to get out of the Central Valley as well. If I could do anything I wanted, I would probably move back to Australia and live on a ranch with hairy nosed wombats.

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      • I think it is a good dram – some day maybe I will get back. I did look into at one point, and according to the immigration guidelines I could go back, and my kids could go with me as I am Australian, but we couldn’t bring my husband because of his age (he is 12 years older than me). How horrible is that?

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  5. I wonder if we need reunions at this point, when we can be “friends” on facebook. I went to my 10 and 20 year reunions, having gone to the same schools from K-12. Good to see folks in person. I think it’s great that you went to yours. Only a handful of people share those same memories with you, o’ one who plays lullabies on sax.

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  6. I helped plan my 45th high school reunion, in September. I encouraged people who didn’t graduate with our class to attend. I never miss a reunion, Mark; they seem very important to me. Thanks for inviting us to this reunion.

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  7. I think it’s great to reconnect with friends from childhood- I have done so through FB and have attended all my reunions, and 30 women from our graduating class made our own “get together” last year which was really fun. There is something very special about the people we shared childhood with- same memories, perspective- even more so for me than my high school friends. One of my close friends grew up in Levittown- I wonder if Luke and he crossed paths! (His name is Bruce Kamins)

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  8. My 55th was this year bro Mark, but I didn’t go. Kinda hard to find transportation for the chair on Sunday, the usual day for the big doings. I seldom attend though, just not comfortable in crowds cause I don’t remember names very well. Make that ever. Faces look familiar, but names? Nope. Just not there. I’m so oooollllddd.

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  9. I was always an outsider in my senior school. Then when I was 19 I joined the Royal Air Force and the few frends I had didn’t want to know me after that. I guess I had moved on and they hadn’t. My closest friendships have grown from my earliest years of moving to Ireland, and one from my RAF days. But I love to hear stories of people who have maintained close friendships from their schooldays… my youngest son in particular has a tightly knit social group he will be moving up into senior school with next year. I hope the bonds endure.

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    • Oh, Ali, I’m glad you have the friends from the move to Ireland. And now WordPress BloggyVille, too. Count me for the rest of the days. ❤ I hope your son gets to experience the whole life after-school spectrum. 🙂

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