A note from Jim Neil
July 18, 2023
Dearest LHS73 people!
So, after talking with a few classmates recently, I have been reminiscing about our youth. I’m sure we all have done that, some much more than others, but I think it is safe to assume we all look back a bit when we try to make sense of who we are today. I mean who we are today is in great part the sum of our past experiences, relationships, as well as our environment, right? And that great life calculation of course began when we were young. When we were young, we were in Ledyard and southeastern Connecticut for at least a little while, for some a lifetime.
So, our class reunion, one that celebrates 50 years since we have been imprisoned in that public school system, is quite monumental if you think about it. First off, if you are reading this you have survived - an honor not bestowed upon everyone, including our friend, Gary Atkinson (for whom we are having an auction Saturday night to benefit the scholarship fund in his name). In those 50 years, we have been the masters of our own life and our own decisions and we have naturally drifted apart. Kids, jobs, the military, training, college, travel, struggles, successes, sadness, and laughter - we have experienced it all.
For one weekend this fall, we have the opportunity to gather and to say hello, perhaps to catch up a bit, to see how we have taken and used these building blocks of our youth and transformed them into a lifetime. For some of us it may provide an opportunity to have a conversation we never had, to renew an old friendship, or to create new ones - we are totally different people now than we were then. It’s interesting to observe aging and to marvel at how we change, sort of a slow-motion metamorphosis from child, to young adult, to 68 years old. It’s all quite fascinating really on whatever level you approach it - for me, when we meet, it will be with beer in hand and a smile.
My hope is that those of you on the fence about attending the reunion will join us. For those of you who have already decided against attending, for whatever reason, I ask you to reconsider. Some of us felt out of place in high school and simply couldn’t wait to get out and never come back, some of us felt ignored, perhaps bullied or made fun of, some of us see them as glory days. While all that may be true, 50 years can certainly be the great equalizer through the metamorphosis I mentioned above.
I, for one, have these awesome random memories that bring a smile to me, some at school, some not - perhaps most not. And I am sure we all have them, some about people we haven’t seen in 50 years and some that may have shaped a part of our lives. For example, I can remember the night I fell in love with the theater. I need to credit Dianne Rands and her performance as Gypsy for that. I worked in the kitchen at night one summer at the Officer’s Club on the Subase with Charlie Kelsey who taught me more about working efficiently, smart more than hard, and the importance of training than anyone since.
And I can remember the moment in the hallway when a very quick exchange with Gary Atkinson unlocked my brain regarding solving algebraic equations (it has since locked back up!). And seriously, how could you forget how radiant Linda Bellone was in the back of that Cadillac convertible at the Homecoming Game? Finally, Tom Bakke singing America’s Pigeon Song at the variety show remains one of the most impressive things I witnessed any of us do. I’m confident we all have good memories and stories about those years. It will be a gas to share them.
Anyway, this was supposed to be a message about the Saturday night Auction and Scholarship. My apologies for rambling cryptically and mumbling about the past, but my hope is for a big crowd reunion weekend. The more the merrier!
And the Auction? We have some cool stuff, but we need more cool stuff. Anybody got an old Willys out there they have restored and can donate?
More at lhs73.com
I’ll be a little more auction-ie in a few days.