" ... a time for joy, a time for tears"


Despite all the fun we were having, it seemed like we had waited an eternity for graduation day and it was finally here. We couldn't wait for high school to be over, but when it was, and we knew we had to move on, we suddenly began to realize how much we would miss it. As the kids in Grease did, we thought, simplistically and on the surface, that we would always be together. But deep down, we knew it wasn't going to be so. 

Even after everything we were told about it by our parents and teachers, we still had no real clue how different our lives would be after leaving high school.  

We felt like we had really achieved something  and we surely did. 
 We were happy to be done and to move on to the next stage of our
  lives. We thought we were finally adults finally in control and
   finally ready for the world. It was certainly a time to celebrate. We
   had dozens of graduation parties to go to that last weekend in June.
  And we went to several every night in the knotty pine-paneled
 basements of the period and we partied like it was well,
it was 1960!


As noted on the invitation depicted below, our commencement exercises were to be held on the OHS athletic field, but in the event of rain, each graduate received two tickets (also pictured below) to admit family members to the auditorium for the exercises.

June 26, 1960

   The Four Freshmen, 1956  



It didn't rain.

Weather in Oceanside, New York, on our Graduation Day, June 26, 1960:

  • High temp: 85.3F
  • Low temp: 63.3F
  • Average temp: 74.8F
  • Dewpoint: 49.1F
  • Wind speed: 5 knots
  • Precipitation: 0 inches


  Author unknown

Truly, it was "... a time for joy, a time for tears."


And here's how our graduation day went (kind of):

   The program began with band playing the Overture ― "Selections from Gigi."

(Click to hear a live recording of our 1959-'60 OHS band performing "Selections from Gigi" in concert in 1960.)


"The Gift Outright," by Robert Frost

(Presented at our graduation by H. Mitchell Hall and again at
John F. Kennedy's inauguration in January 1961 by the poet)

The land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours.
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England's, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves,
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright.
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war.)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become

Click here for the full text of Gerda's valedictory address, which she was so kind to share with us again.  And Gerda graciously supplemented it for us in February 2000 with some present day updating commentary. 

Following Mitch Hall's reading of the Robert Frost poem, we heard the words of our own class valedictorian, Gerda Balding (now, Gerda Balding Kunkel, married to classmate, Joe Kunkel), delivered to us on our graduation day in 1960.


  As reported in (click on the logo at left for more Beacon clippings):

The crowd waits for the graduates.



     The graduates wait, too (tassels on the right).


Miss Kinkade leads the police on the never-ending search for 
contraband gum-chewing.

The procession is under way.

Caps in the air

And now it is over (tassels on the left).  

The end of a great day, June 26, 1960

And a time we'll treasure through the years.

 "We'll remember always, graduation day."


Read Our Letter to the OHS
Graduating Class of 2020

Trivia Questions:

1.  What was our senior class gift to the school?

2.  What was Billboard's  no. 1 song our graduation day?     

Clue:  Our graduation day was its last day of five weeks as the chart-topper. That means it was also no. 1 on May 28th, the night of our senior prom.

(Click here for the answers.)



Use your BACK button to return
to wherever you were.

             (or to repeat the music)

TO 1960Sailors HOME PAGE

Copyright 2000-2020 by Howard B. Levy and 1960 Sailors Association Inc. All rights reserved.