A Boomer’s 50th High School Reunion

The number is daunting, but every year, millions more baby boomers face it: 50 years! It was 50 years ago — or a few more than 50, or almost 50 — that we graduated from high school! Communications specialist Larry Checco from Silver Spring, Maryland, recently went to his 50th reunion. Some people go to reunions and wish they hadn’t; Larry’s glad he did.

It felt more like a family gathering than an alumni get-together when our high school class celebrated its 50th year reunion.

“Sin, sex, booze, kicks ….We’re the Class of ’66!” The term “Boomer” had not been coined, or at least it wasn’t applied to us yet.

The reunion was all hugs, kisses, smiles, shared memories, dining, and dancing — and sadly, a shared moment of silence to remember 79 of our classmates — out of a graduating class of 435 — whose life journeys ended all too soon.

Image credit: Brad Lehrer

Image credit: Brad Lehrer

Little wonder this class remains so tightly knit. We grew up together during the 1950s and ’60s in a small working-class town about 20 miles north of New York City called Port Chester. In those days it was a melting pot of Italians, Jews, African -Americans, Irish, Polish, Russians, Hispanics, and others.

Our parents were mostly tradesmen, waitresses, laborers, small-business owners, housekeepers, accountants, small-town doctors and veterinarians, and a handful of executives, all working hard to make better lives for themselves and their kids.

Now we are our parents!

As I scanned the crowd that night, however, I didn’t see aging 68-year-olds. I saw kids I walked to school with, played marbles and tag and kickball with, had childhood crushes on, shared one-cent stick pretzels and small three-cent cartons of white milk with.

Larry Checco in high school years.

Larry Checco in high school years.

I played football with many of them, sang in the choir with others, and we all cheered on our forever fighting Port Chester Rams sports teams.

Together we “ducked and covered” in school hallways while the Cold War played itself out. The Cuban missile crisis, with the prospect of nuclear annihilation, had us shivering in our shoes, and JFK’s assassination had us in tears. Many of us got involved in the Civil Rights and Women’s Lib movements, and one way or another we all got swept up in the Vietnam War, all of which reaffirms the fact that nothing brings people closer together than shared adversity.

That’s not to say that we lived free of racism, segregation, or income inequality. But this celebratory gathering demonstrated how, as a diverse group of baby boomers, we were able to survive and get beyond all that, something I fear much of America is no longer capable of doing.

Fifty years ago, I was humbled, honored, and proud that my classmates had voted me their senior class president. I feel even more humbled, honored, and proud today than I did all those many years ago.

The Class of ’66 turned out pretty darn well.

16 Comments

  1. My thanks to all for your kind words, but the people who truly deserve recognition are those on the Reunion Committee who made this wonderful event possible. Thank you! And thank you again!

  2. Larry,
    Everything you wrote was perfect. I felt like I was home again and seeing everyone time stood still. We may have aged some but our spirit is still 18. Be well hope to see all in a few years.

  3. Larry, your article about our Reunion was spot on. I know I don’t stop and think about all the events that we went through during Jr and Sr High School that ultimately would shape our future and us as well, but as you list them consecutively it becomes quite a historical timeline. Our bond has been made stronger. The memory of this Reunion will last a very long time!! Hopefully we can celebrate our 70th birthdays in a couple of years. Thanks for the memories.

  4. Larry
    Thanks for a great article. This reunion made me regret not going to any of the others. If there is another one I’ll be there with bells on.

  5. Larry as usual a fantastic article. Little did you know you would always be our class president when you were elected 50 years ago. You brought up many things we were all thinking and talking about that night. Stay well and see you at our next reunion.

  6. Loved reading this Larry. Many memories……Sorry I couldn’t be there for the reunion. So happy y’all had such a good time.

  7. As always, Larry, a well written piece and accurate description of our 50th reunion!
    It’s no wonder you remain our class president!

  8. Wonderful article, Larry! Well written as usual And little did you know that when we elected you Class President, it would be a lifetime job. Keep on keepin’ on until our next reunion, whenever and wherever that may be.

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