30-Year Reunion

Welcoming Address
by Howard B. Levy, July 21, 1990

   
 

Knights of Columbus Hall, Oceanside, New York
   

   

Hi!  For those of you who donít recognize me or donít remember me or perhaps never knew me, Iím Howie Howie Levy, Oceanside High School, Class of '60.

In high school, I was not a class officer or valedictorian; I was not a star athlete or actor in the senior play; I was not voted best dressed, most likely to succeed, wittiest, friendliest or anything else. (God knows I should have been voted best looking.)  Like many of you, I was just a kid interested in good times, girls, fast cars, rock íní roll and not much else trying to be about as irresponsible as I thought I could get away with.

The year, 1960, was a great deal more than just our graduation year the year we went our separate ways and began our lives as young adults. It was a year of many other beginnings. Most significantly, it was the beginning of the most turbulent, revolutionary decade of modern times, the beginning of a new, youth-inspired social consciousness and idealism in America. The times, they were "a-changiní."

Before the new decade would end, our generation would have had far reaching effects on national attitudes in such diverse areas as civil rights, environmentalism, war and sexual freedom. We would have seen men walk on the moon.  1960 was the beginning of a decade of campus unrest, violent conflicts, assassinations, upsetting moral values, intense space exploration and incredible technological development, Motown, Beatles, Bob Dylan and psychedelic music, hippies, and a drug culture that remains the number one social problem in our country today in the 1990s.


It was "the end of tailfins, teen idols and TV quiz shows, hula hoops and poodle skirts, saddle shoes and sack dresses, sock hops, malt shops and Chuck Berry songs."     


But as is with any other year of beginnings, 1960 was also a year of endings. Not only was it the end of our high school days our innocent youth the end of tailfins, teen idols and TV quiz shows, hula hoops and poodle skirts, saddle shoes and sack dresses, sock hops, malt shops and Chuck Berry songs; it was the end of Americaís innocence its high school days.

Most of us look back fondly at the "Fabulous Fifties" as an easier, happier time. But for us then the teenage youth of America those years were not totally carefree. The 1950s was a time when teenagers first began to challenge the attitudes and values of their parents and the "establishment," setting the stage for the decade to come. We were the "James Dean generation."

But it was also a time when teenagers first surfaced as an economic force to be reckoned with. We had a little money in our pockets, and we wanted to spend it. American business, for the first time, started to market to our youthful tastes first the recorded music industry, followed closely by the movie, automobile and clothing industries. Like all youth before and after us, we saw ourselves as the center of the universe. But as we reflect now upon the late fifties, when we were in high school, we can see that in many respects more so than in any other time we, the teenagers, really were the center of the universe.

Tonight, weíre all together again to remember those wonderful times we spent at OHS when we were together almost every day danced together went through puberty together when we formed many of the values we now hold dear, and many of the most intimate, precious and lasting friendships of our lives.


"... we formed many of the values we now hold dear, and many of the most intimate, precious and lasting friendships of our lives."


There are more than half a dozen people in this room who are still among my closest friends very special people who, after all these years, are dearer to me than ever people I still see often, but never often enough. There are others whom I havenít seen in 10, 20, or even 30 years, but whom I am nonetheless happy to see once again, tonight.  I love reunions and I love this class and I suspect many of you are here tonight because you share these feelings.

Ten years ago, I described our last reunion as "six hours of nonstop hugging. " It was great and this one will be even better. We are videotaping it, so we can watch you. Anyone caught not hugging at least 100 people tonight will not be invited to our next reunion.

While we were in high school right here in Oceanside, over 30 years ago, we had the greatest heroes, the coolest cars and the best rock íní roll of all time. But most important, we had funSo letís welcome one another with hugs to our 1990 class reunion. Letís dance, sing along to the oldies, party and enjoy.

[To hear more of "Rock Around the Clock," go to "Prom Night."]

     

 Click on the Brownie to view the 30-year reunion photo album.

 

 

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