Friday, August third, arrived in a sweltering fashion. Joining the growing throng of excited alums in the reception area of the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, my classmate, Mike Rupert and I were instantly engaged in some great conversations with many of those assembled for the purpose of a raucously enjoyable get together.
It hardly seems possible that over thirty eight odd years ago, we found ourselves the players in a very different scenario. Oh so long ago, our demeanors were so much more serious as we dawned both cap and gown to promenade in the processional, amidst the popping of flashbulbs and the cheers of adoring families and friends.
Every two years find so many of us eagerly looking forward to a weekend where fun and merry-making are the order of the day.
While so many reunions have to do with everyone trying to impress each other with their myriad of accomplishments, our conversations tend more towards hobbies, crazy stories from days gone by, and vignettes about what our current lives present us with. I was interested to learn that one fellow I knew since we were in nursery school, Frank, has been working on writing a book since 1971. Helen, now a Californian whom I hadn’s seen since she graduated in 1972, loves to work out on her treadmill and regaled us with interesting stories about her husband and children.
It was wonderful for me to be able to once again connect with the grounds and facilities management crew at school, whom I hadn’t seen since my retirement this past winter. The air was electric as we awaited our picnic supper and the gentleman, Bob, who would provide the entertainment Friday night with his endless supply of songs and his terrific karaoke machine. A knack for knowing every song imaginable encouraged those aspiring talented singers amongst us to carry the day.
The crowning point of the entire weekend was a terrific trip down memory lane, brought to us in a delightful fashion by our locally prominent speaker, Mr. Bill Cardille, former host of Studio Wrestling and Chiller Theater, who is also a daily spinner of nostalgia on radio station#1320 WJAS, from ten a.m. till three p.m. Not only did Mr. Cardille delight us with his humorous tales of the formative years of television, he also took quite a bit of time answering questions for the assembled group of seventy-two attendees.
We are a very fortunate group, since we come from a multitude of people who graduated during a span from the late forties to the beginning eighties. Reminiscing amongst the divergent folks from so many graduating years poignantly illustrates how the school began to grow and progress in the education of blind children during the latter half of the twentieth century. Having attended so many of these alumni association reunions, I often think how much I’ve been able to glean from the fondest memories of others who came of age during each significant era.