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Welcome aboard the
for your 45-year rockin’ ‘n’ rollin’ reunion cruise.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends
and classmates, we have come here from near and far both to share
and to celebrate our fond memories of what now seems but a few brief
moments of our youthful past together. But before we resume our
joyful celebration of the past, I want to be seriously sentimental
for a few moments and focus on how precious are these opportunities
to come together to reminisce about those wonderful and carefree
days, the “happy days,” or as I have called them, the days of
“tailfins, teen idols and TV quiz shows, hula hoops and poodle
skirts, saddle shoes and sack dresses, sock hops, malt shops,
flattops and Chuck Berry songs,” the days we spent together growing
up in our little town in the 1950s.
A little over a year
after our last reunion, we were most suddenly and violently shocked and reminded
on September 11th, 2001, of
how fragile and fleeting our mortality really can be. And I recently heard from
a classmate who had just learned of the passing last year of a treasured friend,
another classmate, with whom, sadly, he had lost touch. When time and distance
separate old friends like that, such losses become even more tragic for with
them are also lost the opportunities to reconnect to reminisce fondly together
as we are all doing tonight. That is why it is so important, as we grow older,
to make extra efforts to stay in touch with the dear old friends we all too
often take for granted, and that is why I have devoted so much energy as I have
to this reunion, to our class website, and to helping classmates reconnect and
stay connected with each other.
In the five years since
our last reunion, out of a total of 36 classmates now known to have departed,
the passing of 11 of us has first come to our attention. So before we resume our
joyful reminiscing and celebration of the past, let’s take a few moments to
remember them, along with any others among the many missing of whose passing we
are not now — and we may never be — aware.
A memorial slideshow was presented,
accompanied by Elvis Presley's "Memories."
Our little town, Oceanside, Long
Island, New York, 25 miles to the east of the great center of just
about everything, New York City, was where we spent our teenage
years together. Many of our parents thought our little town would be
a better place to raise us than the crowded streets of Brooklyn or
Queens. And there is no doubt they were right.
I’m going to take you on a little time trip back to the Oceanside of
our youth. This will be just a small taste of our class website
where many of you have seen these images before, but probably some
have not. Some of these images may be as fuzzy as our memories but
nonetheless delightful to our nostalgic sensibilities.
little town, Oceanside, Long Island, New York, 25 miles to the east of
the great center of just about everything, New York City, was where we
spent our teenage years together."
A nostalgic slideshow was presented while Howie narrated.
Then, he resumed his welcoming address as follows.
(Click to continue.)