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South Williamsport, PA
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Imagine – 50 Years Have Flown By

“Imagine” — that famous song by the late John Lennon formed the backdrop for the 50th Class reunion a few weekends ago for the then Bishop Neumann High School and had sparked the “imagination” of 62 idealistic young men and women as we prepared to fly from the nest of a seemingly utopian high school

“Imagine” — that famous song by the late John Lennon formed the backdrop for the 50th Class reunion a few weekends ago for the then Bishop Neumann High School and had sparked the “imagination” of 62 idealistic young men and women as we prepared to fly from the nest of a seemingly utopian high school life, to the uncertainty and scary reality of the real world.

“Imagine” was our Class of 1972’s theme song, which most of us had clearly forgotten, along with a whole lot of other things. Some guessed our class song was “We’ve Only Just Begun” or “Born to Be Wild,” both of which were probably appropriate enough back in the day, but “Imagine” it was.

“Imagine” back in 1972 — the first “Godfather” picture was released; the Vietnam War raged; the Watergate scandal occurred; George Carlin was arrested for public obscenity for reciting his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television;” the US Supreme Court held that the death penalty is unconstitutional; USA’s Bobby Fischer defeats Soviet Bori Spassky in a chess match; terrorists storm the Olympic Village killing two and taking nine hostage-just to name a few.

“Imagine” — locally, the flood of 1972 inundated the City of Williamsport, courtesy of Hurricane Agnes. Imagine as I did, placing sandbags around a downtown building in unrealistic hopes of keeping the waters at bay and wading up a river-like Market St., hoping against hope I did not fall into an open manhole cover.

“Imagine” — out of those 62 classmates, 54 are still with us, and 35 signed up for the reunion weekend, with 33 actually showing up along with two others who failed to sign up in time but who were nevertheless welcomed as we crashed the party anyway — some things never change!

“Imagine” — how, once people began to recognize who was who, helped by a few beers the first night at New Trail Brewery and an excellent dinner Saturday at the Valley Inn, there was such lively ongoing banter about each classmate’s lives.

“Imagine” — our delight to find that we have classmates who have lived far and wide across the country searching for hopes and dreams, one as far away as Amsterdam, another in Oklahoma, and many other locations across the state and county. Imagine how some of us live very close to each other, but it took this reunion to bring us together.

“Imagine” — how stories of the glory years of 1972 abounded, including how a bunch of upstart players, led by a determined head coach, beat a team from the west that was 30-0 coming into the game and won a State High School Basketball Championship.

“Imagine” — after 50 years, a former cheerleader telling me I always seemed so aloof and uninterested. I told her she had no idea how socially awkward I was in high school. Put me on a basketball court, and I was good to go, but talk to a girl back then — you might as well ask me to scale Mt. Everest.

“Imagine” — how we laughed that night about 50 years ago some of my classmates got busted for breaking into the high school — to drink from the water fountains — after a rousing game of basketball on the then outside courts. Imagine when a certain nun confronted me the next morning asking where I was last night, I was quick to respond that I stayed home to study my religion — I should have known then I was destined to be a lawyer. Imagine my friends were just sent home with their parents, which many said was worse than any possible Court sanctions.

“Imagine” — how we all learned that reunion-night how each of us had successfully faced that scary new world after high school. We all had some failures but many more successes; we all had loved and lost loved ones; we all had stumbled or fallen, but we all had risen up for 50 years to face the next day with vigor and purpose.

What a Class — what a memory! Bring on reunion 55!

Paul Petcavage
CONTRIBUTOR
PROFILE