50-Year Grand Reunion Gala and Weekend

 
   

 
 
 
June 25-27, 2010

 Presented to the class by  1960 Sailors Association Inc.     
                                                          

Grand Reunion Report

Our 50-Year Grand Reunion Gala and Weekend
was everything it was supposed to be and more.  It was:

   

  

Our Grand Reunion Weekend officially started, as our reunions have in the past, on Friday night

with a cocktail mixer, and ended on Sunday with a brunch. The highlight of the weekend, of course, was our Saturday night Grand Reunion Gala, when we celebrated the exact 50th anniversary of our graduation day and the brief time we spent together during the fabulous fifties, and together again that evening, we had a ballroom bursting with love and joy, we were energized, and we had a blast!

 

This comprehensive report and photo album are intended primarily to chronicle our fantastic weekend together exactly 50 years after leaving high school and going our separate ways, and to help those who were there that magical weekend to hold on to their precious memories of this momentous milestone event in our collective lives, and to share them with those of us who were not.

   

The feedback has been phenomenal!  Here are some of the words used by our classmates to describe our grand celebration:

    

v  wonderful

v  amazing

v  absolutely great

v  truly memorable

v  sparkling

v  marvelous

v  awesome

v  smashing

v  fantastic

v  an exquisite gift
 

v  astonishing

v  very cool

v  fabulous

v  magnificent

v  spectacular

v  brilliant

v  superlative

v  heartfelt

v  blockbuster

v  first class
 

v  better than high school                                               
   

Scroll down for more.

Although some small groups convened earlier on their own, we started to gather together in large numbers from all over the nation on Friday night under our very classy, satin class banner at a local, Smithtown Irish pub called Napper Tandy's. It was noisy and crowded (as such places tend to be), but we had a terrific time greeting each other, bending elbows, chowing down and sharing laughs, hugs and memories together, in some cases, after as much as 50 years!

Saturday was a free day to enjoy together the facilities of our beautiful resort location, the Hyatt Regency Long Island, for example, by playing golf or tennis, or by relaxing by the pool or in the lobby lounge.

  

                   

  

Some enjoyed a wonderful NY-style Chinese lunch at a local restaurant, while others took a ride to revisit our alma mater. (And some of us spent part of the afternoon frantically preparing for the big event our Saturday night Grand Reunion Gala.)

  

  

  (Sad, what they've done to our
classy Sailor logo, isn't it?)
 

And finally, at 7 pm. on Saturday, June 26th, 2010 ─ exactly 50 years after our graduation day in 1960 ─ the Grand Ballroom (of course, what else?) was ready, tables decked in blue and white with balloons and pennants in our special "45-rpm" centerpieces, and the doors were opened ─ thus, our long-awaited 50-Year Grand Reunion Gala began.

 

   

  


  

We had our special banners hung on all the walls, we had flowers and a jukebox and a classic Chevy in the Grand Ballroom, and we had special guests, Elvis and James Dean standing by.

  

 

       

    

                                               

 

          

 
  

And we had our own "Memory Lane" with five 36" by 24" poster boards with historic, 1950s photos of familiar scenes in our little town displayed on easels in one part of the Hyatt's Grand Ballroom. (These posters were later donated by our class association to the Oceanside Education Foundation, our little town's de facto historical society.)

  
 

    

 

          

 

    

 

 

These Grand Reunion Gala programs were on the tables:

 

  

After an hour of friends greeting friends with hugs, dancing and laughter, with James Dean standing behind her watching, our beautiful one and only Doreen began our presentation program once again by introducing Howie.

 

              

  

Dressed for our really senior senior prom, Howie began on a serious note by pointing out that "everything is not rosy and joy about reunions."  He went on to say that everybody "is probably feeling some disappointment or maybe even anger at those who did not make it as high a priority as they did to come to this party, but there are several from our group who had no choice and couldn't be here because they did not make it to this day." With that, before resuming our grand celebration, Howie began a memorial tribute slideshow to those of us who have passed on.

 

With our serious business now out of the way, our DJ played a 1960 recording of our own high school band playing "The Night They Invented Champagne," as they did at our graduation ceremonies exactly 50 years ago, and our Class President for all three of our high school years, Bob Renselaer, kicked off the rest of the evening as he led us in a champagne toast "to good health, to long life and especially to lasting friendships," the real underlying theme of this (and every) reunion.

Then, Howie introduced our Association Board and 2010 Reunion Committee members (listed on the program illustrated above) who worked so hard to make our Grand Reunion a reality and a success. After that, he turned the microphone over to Jay Katz so Jay could introduce our five faculty guests who honored us with their presence and who are listed below and pictured as then and now:

John Hay

Arlene  Nolan
(O'Leary)*
Helen Sedelmeyer Harriet Strongin Mary Williams (Cifarelli)

_________________________
*  Sadly, in early December 2010, Arlene Nolan O'Leary passed away.

 

As the Hyatt Regency staff began to serve us a first class, sit-down dinner, Howie took the microphone again. After an unsuccessful attempt (due to a technology problem) to show us a special music documentary video presentation entitled The Dawn of Rock ’n’ Roll ─ 1954-’59 that he prepared for our big party (which video may now be viewed on this website ─ click here), for the fifth consecutive reunion, Howie presented his welcoming address to the class gathering.
  

Howie started by pointing out that at prior reunions he spoke mainly of "our very own rock ’n’ roll music, of dancing, partying and of coming of age together." He said, "I spoke of hot dogs and cool cars, of  tailfins, teen idols and TV quiz shows, of hula hoops and poodle skirts, of saddle shoes and sack dresses, sock hops, malt shops, flattops and Chuck Berry songs.” And he said, "I spoke of heroes and baseball, of simple values and simple times, and of our little town, with its two ─ yes, two ─ world-renowned religious shrines, each of which attracted huge pilgrimages to it for decades ... of course, St. Anthony’s underground chapel ─ and the Roadside Rest that, in 1959, became Nathan’s Famous." But mostly, he said, "I spoke of our sharing incredible amounts of fun in a very short time together."

"But this time," Howie said, "I will get a bit deeper, a bit more serious and if you can imagine it a bit more sentimental than before. This time, I won’t speak any more about Oceanside or high school, rock ’n’ roll or the 1950s. This time, I will speak mainly about a subject I only mentioned in passing in past reunion speeches. This time, it's all about friendship, specifically about the value of old friends a subject about which I believe I can speak as an 'expert,' thanks especially to several members of this great class."  (Click here for the full text of Howie's welcoming address about the value of friendship or here to watch for the video of our ceremonial presentations.)

  

After dinner, the dancing continued, but later on, Howie took to the mike again to read us passages from two letters he received on behalf of the class, congratulating all of us on the momentous occasion of our 50-year reunion and our collective achievements over the last half century. Those letters came from Dr. Herb R. Brown, currently Superintendent of Schools of the Oceanside School District, and Betsy Transom, President of the Oceanside Education Foundation, our little town's historical society.
 
(
Click here to read those letters: Brown; Transom.)

  

Penny White then took the opportunity to address this class gathering and present a special tribute to Jack Beaulieu. Penny reminded us that almost 10 years ago, shortly after our 40-year reunion, Jack lost both of his legs in a terrible construction accident. But with remarkable strength and courage, as he recovered, Jack trained rigorously to set an example for other amputees and won the men's hand-crank wheelchair division in the Long Island Marathon in 2004 against much younger competition. Since that victory and the others that followed, Jack has virtually devoted his life to inspiring and assisting combat-injured veterans and other disabled people to maintain positive outlooks, to overcome their injuries and to achieve their full potential.

  

Later, Penny added a well-deserved acknowledgment of the "equally great courage and loving devotion" exhibited by Jack's wife of 46 years (and our classmate ), Nancy Koller, "standing by her man all these years ─ OHS '60 sweethearts, still in love." Way to go, Jack; way to go, Nancy ─ and way to go, Penny!

  

As the evening proceeded with more dancing, more laughter, more hugging, and more sharing of precious memories of good times gone by, we gathered for several group photos of those among us who shared common childhoods ─ even before high school and jr. high ─ in one of our five elementary schools.

  

 

 

 

           School 2

 

School 3

 

School 4

 

  


 

At our Grand Reunion Gala, we wore the coolest picture nametags (since most of us have changed at least a little in 50 years) and had the coolest table decorations, and of course our drinks were served with cool cocktail napkins.

  

   
For exchanging current contact information, and for submitting requests and dedications to our DJ, we even had special commemorative pens (blue and white, of course) imprinted with our original Oceanside High School sailor logo (the classy one, that is, from the 1950s), and identifying our class and the date of our Grand Reunion Gala. (We are, indeed, a first class class.)

  

 

That Saturday night was the most magical highlight of a most magical weekend, indeed. And our most magical reunion party ever!! When we stood together in the sunshine on the OHS athletic field that afternoon in June 1960, and we hurled our mortarboards skyward in a strange mixture of tears and glee as we prepared to set off in different directions on our life’s journeys, who knew that so many of us would be together again having so much fun exactly 50 years later ─ to the day?

 

  
After our main event, many of us went out to a local diner or lingered together in the Hyatt's lobby lounge until about 2 am, and mid-morning on Sunday, before departing for parts near and far, many of us regrouped for a couple of additional hours together at our now traditional post-reunion brunch, this time at the Paradise Diner near the Hyatt.

  

        

 
* * * * *

The pleasure and delight that can be seen in the faces in all the photos on this page, and in the following testimonials from our guests, clearly portray a very special weekend, one of old friends once again enjoying the relatively rare but refreshing and rejuvenating occasion of rejoining together to rock, roll and reminisce about the joyful time of our shared but uncommon youthful experience ─ as Howie said Saturday night, to "reunionate together again"

We have observed before that the success of any school reunion depends primarily upon those classmates and others who attend. So the Board and its Reunion Committee thank all of you who attended for making this event so pleasurable, memorable and successful in every way, and once again, we extend our heartfelt thanks in particular to those who took the time to express their sentiments to us in writing as follows:

  

  • You and your group did a wonderful job. I enjoyed every minute. Lots of love and heartfelt enjoyment by all. It was great. Bobbie Alfin  

  • A fantastic job! Reincarnated memories of great times past, and everlasting memories created with those not seen for decades was AMAZING. I will have added them in a special place in my brain's data bank ... they won't be lost. Denis Block

  • It was a wonderful and successful event.  I will enjoy the memory of the evening for years to come. It was absolutely GREAT!!! Thanks. We need to make sure we don't let so much time go by again. Our friendship is important. You did a good thing. Clark Marcus

  • Well, YOU DID IT AGAIN!!!!!!!!! You made us laugh and cheer and remember what good times we all had together. Thank you! Nancy Koller and Jack Beaulieu  

  • Thank you for planning such an enjoyable event!  ... it was a night that we won't soon forget.  Seeing old friends and classmates has sparked so many fond memories of OHS.  But it's still hard to believe that 50 years have passed all too quickly. I look forward to hearing from some long-lost friends and, of course, seeing the updates on the Sailors' website that is so terrific. Again, thanks for all your hard work. Eileen Carlock

  • Amazing what a spectacular event you pulled off. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed catching up with everyone. The event was awesome superlative! ...  It was so nice to revisit so many from so long ago. The brunch was a fitting end to a great weekend.  ... Thanks so much for all your hard work and making it happen. Love the photos and another opportunity to stroll down memory lane. Susan Rooder and Harvey Tauber

  • The reunion was all that you promised, and we had a blast. Great job. Jay Katz

  • I want to tell you how much I enjoyed our reunion, and how great it was to see so many of my old classmates. I really appreciate how much work you and the rest of the committee did to make it such a success. Well done.  Bob Renselaer

  • Thank you and all those who worked with you to make our 50th Reunion a truly memorable event. It was a fantastic evening. Thanks! Rudy Hrubala

  • Thank you for all the time and effort you put into the reunion. It was a wonderful evening and a wonderful party. I just spent a wonderful hour looking at all the reunion pictures. We certainly had a good time. Audrey Schneiderman

  • It was a wonderful reunion! Thank you for all of the work that you and the committee did to make it possible.  Eileen Brown

  • Let me add my appreciation for all your work and efforts, not only for the 50th but through the years, to celebrate the class of 1960. Ruth Ann Mosback

  • Well done, Howie, and my thanks to you for a wonderfully organized, fabulous 50th. Dan Nussbaum

  • You have done an astonishing job bringing our youth to life and keeping our class together.  We've been so lucky to have been born when we were, to have such an innocent childhood. Linda Feuerstein

  • Fabulous reunion ... and I do mean fabulous.  As a class, we seem to bond seamlessly each time we meet The warmth felt and friendships renewed that night are to be envied by anyone who ever graduated in any school, any city.  Everyone was enthusiastically talking, laughing and reminiscing with old friends and acquaintances.  Some even discovered new friends after so many years. As wonderful as OHS was, I think the love and joy found at our 50th brought us ever closer. It really was a magnificent three days. Sue Schlesinger

  • Yes, we might be older, look older and move a little slower, but our minds are sharp, and we know how to appreciate our history together. We are indeed oldies but goodies. Thank you and everyone else who played a part in making this reunion so special. The reunion reminds us of our roots and the times, places and people who helped to shape who we are today. The reunion gave us a chance to let people know how much we appreciated those experiences, how meaningful they are and that we made a difference in each other's lives. What is life without leaving a trail of important and influential memories? Bob Rubin

  • But a few thoughts ... with the memory of our sparkling evening still fresh and clear:  Our 50th reunion is like an original Renoir hanging in our hall of memories invaluable  and very difficult to recreate.  Those willing and able to attend this marvelous gathering to celebrate the anniversary, to the very day of our graduation, savored an evening filled with nostalgia, with the sheer joy of reuniting, rekindling lost friendships and renewing the sense of innocence of our generation in 1960. Our all too short evening together captured the beauty of our graduation day, the music, and many gestures of kindness and affection for one another. It seemed like time had stopped, returning to those feelings just as we parted on June 26th 1960, ending our high school years of closeness, and happily looking forward to our futures in our great country. This Saturday evening, it was an extraordinary experience of being together 50 years later.  Memories of our exuberance on our graduation day came flooding back. ... Saturday night felt like our senior-senior prom in all of its happiness. Thank you, Howie, and every member of the committee.  You presented us with an exquisite gift far beyond material value. With our true affection and caring. Lynda D'Acunto

•

It was wonderful.......and VERY cool!  You should be proud and delighted that you made so many of your classmates so happy.  ... Looking forward to the Reunion Photo Album. Bill Liebman

 

  

•

A good time WAS had by all. It was obvious that you put a great deal of time into this specific affair, and of course, over the years, to other reunions and the FANTASTIC website. Thanks for all you've done! Bill Schmidt

 

 

•

"Have I told you lately that I love you??" A brilliant, well-planned and very successful event. Now, if only you could stop time for a  few hours. Just never seems to be enough of it to chat, schmooze and catch up with everyone especially given the number of attendees. I hope  you grasp how much all your efforts are appreciated. I'm not sure we extend enough accolades or we do it often enough. Again, can't thank you enough for all you have done and continue to do. Marta Watts 

 

 

•

Thank you and all the committee for a most wonderful 50th. It will be a treasured memory, and I can't thank you enough for all the time and effort you put in to making it so. Fran Caporaso

 

 

•

I want to thank you, Susan and the committee for putting together such a memorable weekend.  I'm sorry I didn't make some of the past reunions...but at least  I made it this time.  It was fun meeting the classmates that I never really got to know and to reconnect with others. Hopefully some of us will stay in touch from time to time. Just finished perusing the pics from our reunion ─ what fun! It brought back great memories, and the music added just the right touch! Thanks for putting together such a wonderful trip down memory lane for all of us Maryellen Goldsmith

 

 

•

I can't thank you enough for all the hard work you have extended to make the our fiftieth reunion the smashing and heartfelt event that it was.  Joan Panebianco

 

 

•

The reunion was a blast good work! Tom Nasca

 

 

•

Thank you and everyone involvedthe event was something I will remember for a long time. Myles Tashman

 

 

•

The reunion was great. Ray Martinis

 

 

•

Thank you for all your work!!  It was a wonderful reunion, and I am savoring the memories!! Fern Firestone

 

 

•

FANTASTIC PARTY!!!!!!!!!  And it will be remembered fondly by all who attended. The committee did a fantastic job, and the party was first class. ... Once again, kudos to the committee for a super event, and many thanks from all of us who were able to be there. It was fantastic. It was even worth the two hours it took me to get through the tunnel on Friday. Congratulations on another blockbuster reunion! Rick von Brook

 

 

•

The reunion was such an exciting night, and it was wonderful to see so many of us Sailors again.  You are to be applauded for all your hard work. Thanks again for everything. Leona Kerpel

 

 

•

This reunion touched me deeply with the kind of intimacy and emotion that should be expected after 50 years of regularly renewing our bonds of friendship. Thank you and your committee for making it so. Penny White

 

 

•

It was so nice to just look at the photos and remember the good time we all had that weekend. Carole Cohen

 

 

•

Thanks for all of your hard work on the reunion!  I think everyone had a great time. The pictures tell it all. ─  Marilyn Cohen

 

 

 

I had such a wonderful time at the 50th reunion!  I didn't know what to expect since I hadn't gone to any previous reunions nor had I seen anyone in 50 years! I didn't know if anyone would even remember me. I could never have imagined the warmth that flowed that night from person to person. I was so glad that I made the decision to attend. You and your committee did a wonderful job covering it all. To me, it was better than high school!  Phoebe Lustig

 

 

•

Great job on the reunion. This was my first reunion attended. It was great seeing everyone from our graduating class. It seems 50 years has gone by in a flash. Bob Hirsch

 

 

•

WOW, what beautiful sentiments and not much more can be said to describe the whole weekend.  It's something we'll all remember with smiles.  I loved seeing and chatting with everyone of you, and I pray that we'll all be able to do it again in the future.  Not everyone has what we all have, and that's having been a part of each other's childhoods and now in our later years to reconnect like no time has passed at all. How lucky are we??? Nancy Keegan

 

 

And representing the five faculty members who attended our grand celebration:

 

 

•

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the reunion last night. It was especially thrilling to hear so  many of you tell me that I had made a huge difference in your lives. That is something every teacher longs to hear. It's wonderful how all of you have stayed in touch all these years. I hope you have many more wonderful reunions. Mary Williams

So do we know how to do a party or what??

  


With 235 selections from about 600 photos received from classmate celebrants!

    

         Photo Album, p. 1/The Friday Night Mixer, Warming Up for the Grand Gala Event
        
Photo Album, p. 2/Saturday Afternoon
         Photo Album, p. 3/The Grand Gala Event, Friends Greeting Friends
       
Photo Album, p. 4/The Grand Gala Event, Do Ya, Do Ya, Do Ya, Do Ya Wanna Dance?
 
        PhotoAlbum, p. 5/The Grand Gala Event, Talk to Me
 
        Photo Album, p. 6/The Grand Gala Event, Let's Stroll Once More

         Photo Album, p. 7/The Grand Gala Event, Updating Those Faded Pictures
        
Photo Album. p. 8/The Sunday Brunch, Still Groovin''

         Other 50-Year Grand Reunion pages:
   
        
/Ceremonial Presentations

         Full Text of Welcoming Address
         
Congratulatory Letter from the Superintendent of Schools, Oceanside School District 
          Congratulatory Letter from the President of the Oceanside Education Foundation
 

PLEASE: If you still have digital photos from our Grand Reunion Weekend
that you haven't sent to Howie
yet, do it NOW,
so all the best ones may be shared with the class
.

 

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