20-Year Reunion

July 26-27, 1980     


On Saturday evening, July 26, 1980, at the Holiday Inn in Rockville Centre, NY, our dear old friend, Joel Pravda (whom we sadly lost in 1999), welcomed us to our 20-year reunion in the one way we would all expect from big Joel
with laughter

And although hearing of the passing of any of our classmates (see Memorial page) may bring many of us to tears,
"it's the laughter we will remember, whenever we remember" the way Joel was.

Joel gave Howie the microphone and allowed me to make his first sentimental reunion speech. It went something like this:  (Click here to hear Howie's first nostalgic reunion speech in its entirety.)

And who could forget the sight of over 200 almost 40-year olds doing the Stroll or the sound of them singing "ľ and you've got ― personality."

*  *  *  *  *

By 1980, we were beginning to hear our music (which was renamed "oldies but goodies" in the early '60s and then shortened to just "oldies") being played as theme music for TV commercials. (The fact that nostalgic people of our generation were now beginning to wield some decision-making power on Madison Avenue was, no doubt, the reason for it.) The national feeling of nostalgia for the '50s had escalated from its gradual beginnings in the '60s to new heights, fueled by the 1973 movie classic, American Graffiti, and the highly successful, long-running, and aptly titled TV show, "Happy Days" (both of which, by the way, like Blackboard Jungle in 1955, also featured "Rock Around the Clock" as the opening credits rolled), and the popular TV champions of old time rock 'n' roll, Sha-Na-Na (whose popularity soared after their unlikely triumph at Woodstock in 1969).  

We had all endured the '70s, with its dull disco music, its bold and often tasteless fashions (for example, polyester leisure suits, platform shoes and Afros), Gilligan, the Partridge family, Charlie's Angels, the Cunninghams and the Sweathogs, the BeeGees, the Village People (UGH!), the death of Elvis, and the long, disgraceful lines at the gas pumps followed by Ford Pintos that were good on gas mileage (except when they exploded) and downsized Lincolns, Buicks and Cadillacs. We endured the ups and downs of the Apollo space program, and an escalating divorce rate that was the apparent backlash to the dramatic rise of aggressive feminism. 
Whether we liked it or not, we watched the aftermath of Nixon's Watergate, Ford's clumsy golfing and Carter's Camp David Peace Accords, streakers, the Symbionese Liberation Army's kidnapping of Patty Hearst, the Three Mile Island crisis, Legionnaire's Disease  and, of course, those incessant bicentennial minutes.

Yes, by 1980, we were ready to let the good time roll again at another reunion. 

I'm Howie, and thatís the way it was.

Click on the Brownie to view the 20-year reunion photo album.

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