45-Year Reunion

Memorial Day Weekend
Long Island, New York,
May 27-29, 2005

 Presented to the class by 1960 Sailors Association Inc.

  Reunion Report





The main lobby of the LI Marriott (right), in "Re-Uniondale," New York, looked as if it were

designed specifically for OHS Sailors. And that Saturday night, with our elaborate decorations, the grand ballroom was magically transformed into a virtual cruise ship, "The Spirit of 1960," rocking our Sailors and rolling the calendar back 45 years to 1960.

Our Sailors converged to board the fabulous, fantasy cruiser,"The Spirit of 1960,"  from all over our nation from California, Nevada, Arizona and Texas, from Florida and Georgia, from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, from Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, and, of course, from all over New York State, to cruise back to the happy

days, that special time that we spent together in high school in our little town.


Our miraculous, magical reunion weekend began with a group of our Sailors meeting for lunch Friday, May 27th, at the new Nathan's Famous, half a block north of of the original site of our Nathan's Roadside Rest.





Simultaneously, old friends got reacquainted with those incredible Nathan's hot dogs and fries  and with each other  on that beautiful May afternoon in our home town.

The banner hanging on the window at Nathan's read,


And for the whole weekend, we did just that.


From there, our group went back to OHS for a guided tour led by then Principal Dorie Ciulla (just to the right of center in the photo at right). We can report that in the oldest part of the building, where the green tiles are still on the walls, the ghosts of our former teachers still haunted the halls, the classrooms and elsewhere. And we sure felt their presence while we walked around.

Our tour of OHS was brought to a fitting conclusion with a lively discussion led by Richie Woods
(at right), a member of the OHS class of '76 and its faculty since 1981 and author of the pictorial history of our little town, Oceanside (the book), published in 2004. Richie would return on Saturday night to do a booksigning as our Sailors boarded our rockin' reunion "cruise ship," and since Richie's book depicted our home town's history only though 1960, his contribution added a unique feature to a very special weekend.

Our grateful thanks to Dorie Ciulla and Richie Woods of OHS.


Friday evening was a time for old friends to gather in growing numbers at a pub in Rockville Centre, MacArthur Park, to greet each other and just talk and have a drink or some food together in anticipation of the main event, our virtual "sea cruise" on the"Spirit of 1960," that would follow on Saturday night.


Members of the decorations team worked all day Saturday to turn the LI Marriott's Grand Ballroom into our virtual cruise ship, the"Spirit of 1960." 


Our Association's official logo
banner proudly displayed on the
wall (next to a porthole, no less)

And like any real cruise ship, it rocked!


The Spirit of 1960 decorations team  (l. to r.) back row: Nancy Keegan, Pete Wittemann and Kathy Cullen; middle row: Jeff Tilford and Joe Wittemann; front row: Howie and Sue Levy, Sue Schlesinger and Bill Baylis; holding the camera here and shown only in photo at upper left: Jay Katz  (The sea 'n' sky mural you see behind us was 50' long!) 


The crowning glory of our decorations package, this life preserver stood almost 10' high.


The decorations were barely finished when our "ship's" doors opened for boarding at 7:30 pm. But when our team was all done, one bland, basic beige ballroom was all "decked out" proudly in bright blue and white for the 1960 Sailors of OHS.


Our rockin' reunion cruise party began as we approached the magically transformed Grand Ballroom and were presented with our commemorative 45-year reunion sailor hats and 1960 class pennants made especially for the occasion and, of course, our yearbook picture nametags.


Then, together with their spouses and other guests, with their special pennants and hats in hand and their picture nametags pinned on, our Sailors boarded the"Spirit of 1960"  and set sail.


                      Click on the class photo to enlarge it.


Earlier in the evening, there was a lot of talking going on among small groups as old friends greeted each other on the "ship" while the appetizers and salads were served.

And to get things rolling slowly before the real rocking began, the ballroom lights were dimmed, and our Sailor couples first took the dance floor to call on the memories to the very fitting, beautiful, romantic and retrospective song:

"Lost in the '50s Tonight."



                  Sue Schlesinger/Dave Schwarz

       Nancy Koller/Jack Beaulieu           Kathy Cullen/Rick vonBrook

Watch out for the seagulls overhead, folks! 


Detail of sailor hat patch


As at earlier reunions, our beautiful, one and only Doreen introduced Howie, who then took the helm, welcomed all of us, and led us through two slick PowerPoint slideshows. First, there was a memorial presentation honoring the memories of all our mates known to have passed on in the 45 years since we were graduated; then, we were treated to a nostalgic slideshow, a virtual trip back in time to the Oceanside, and to the OHS, of our youth, featuring black and white images such as may be seen on various pages elsewhere on this website. But in this case, the images were almost approaching life size. What a trip!



Our town triangle in 1956        

This 1954 image of the Rainbow Diner drew the most applause of all the slides.

Tom Nasca, recreating his 1959 role as Popeye, the Sailorman

And when on the screen appeared an also almost lifesize image of a certain 1959 black and white Newsday photo, a familiar theme was heard, and we got a surprise visit from none other than our school mascot, Popeye, the Sailorman, himself, who walked in the door of our cruise ship ballroom in full living color after returning from 45 years away at sea!
Our sentimental journey slideshow also featured a
1960 Oceanside Beacon photo highlighting the fact that we had the unusually high number of eight sets of twins in our graduating class, half of whom were present at the reunion and were introduced to everyone else: the Colodner brothers, the Hassett sisters, the Katz brothers and the Wittemann brothers.


In his welcoming address (click to hear yes, HEAR voice audio of the full speech), Howie, once again, reminded us why we were there and why we were so fortunate to have grown up at such a wonderful time, in such a wonderful place, and with such wonderful people.  And when he finished, he cued the DJ, once again, to play "Rock Around the Clock," and he invited us all to rise and rock 'n' roll.


But our rocking and rolling was quickly (but only briefly) interrupted when Jay Katz took the microphone and, on behalf of the class, presented a tribute to Howie for the work he has done

to bring us old friends and classmates together once again.


After we were served an outstanding dinner, the beautiful and  delicious commemorative cake bearing our logo was cut and served.





See our familiar blue banner back from our 40-year reunion in 2000,
this time positioned over the bar (with portholes)?


If you heard or read Howie's welcoming address (click and you can), you may have noticed that he introduced three faculty members who were our guests for our rockin' reunion cruise. These were among the most popular teachers of our time at OHS: Harriet Strongin and Coaches, Roy Chernock and Frank Januszewski, each pictured below enjoying the evening with some of our classmates.



Those of us who just could not get enough of each other returned to MacArthur Park in Rockville Centre on Sunday to wind down our wonderful weekend and keep it going "just a little bit longer" with a quiet brunch and more reminiscing about long ago and the cruise we took.


* * * * *

The pleasure and delight that can be seen in the faces in all the photos on this page and the others, and in the following testimonials from classmates and other cruisers, clearly portray a very special weekend, one of old friends once again enjoying the relatively rare but refreshing and rejuvenating occasion of rejoining together to rock, roll and reminisce about the joyful time of our shared but uncommon youthful experience.

The success of any school reunion depends primarily upon those classmates and others who attend. The Committee thanks all of you who attended for making this event so pleasurable, memorable and successful in every way, and we extend our heartfelt thanks in particular to those who took the time to express their sentiments to us in writing as follows:


Leona Kerpel: "Last night was great. It was so good to see so many people after all these years. Thank you for ... this special night. ... I'm looking forward to our 50th!"


Steph Droboty: "Ten years between is too long ... hope the committee keeps it up until we're all in wheelchairs." 



Nancy Keegan: "... how good it was to see each and every one of you. It was really a wonderful weekend in all respects. Good friends, good times, good weather!!! 


Pete Wittemann: "... the reunion was a great success and the preparation a great deal of fun ... the outcome certainly justified the work ─ I think we all had a wonderful time ─ I know we [referring to himself and twin brother Joe] did ─ it sure was fun to get together."


Bill Liebman: "What a GREAT night! Your efforts were most appreciated ─ and all the 'extra' touches were fun."


BJ Diamant: "... the absolute greatest, bar none.  Actually rejuvenating."


Jay Katz: " 'The beauty of friendship never grows old.' Our 45th proved the poet right. If you missed the 45th, you better start making plans to attend the 50th."


Sue Schlesinger: "... are we having fun or what???"


Jeff Tilford: "This has been the absolute greatest ─ until the 50th."


Bob Johnson: "Great job!! It was  good to see those who came from such long distances."


Jeff Menton: "It was wonderful to see Harriet Strongin. It was like old home week, and we set the clock back. Mr. Jan was great."


Rudy Hrubala: "I can’t thank you enough and all my other wonderful classmates who worked so hard to make our most recent reunion a truly memorable occasion."


Rick von Brook: "... a three-day extravaganza ... a trip down memory lane that all of us thoroughly enjoyed. If you missed it, you missed a fantastic weekend. Just telling it like it is. I'm looking forward to our 50th. ... I don't know how we're gonna top the 45th, but I'm sure the Class of '60 will still be up to it."


Cathy Hassett: "What a terrific time I had ... a great weekend ... an incredible job. ... I am so looking forward to going to the next one although I don't know how this last one could be topped."


Carole Hassett: "A special thank you to you and your committee for a very special weekend. Cathy and I had a great time and what a wonderful opportunity (after so long) to see classmates and find out how they are and what they are doing."


Chris Knorr: "It was wonderful to get to see everyone. I hope we have a 50th.  I won't miss a minute of it."
(NOTE: Chris did make it to our 50th
─ and did not miss a minute of it, but sadly, he passed away on July 26, 2012.)


Bill Baylis: Had a great time at the Reunion! ... an awesome job! Many thanks."

And from our teachers who joined us that magical night:


Harriet Strongin: "It was a wonderful tribute ... to keep the class of 1960 together. I enjoyed seeing so many friends ─ it was a beautiful evening."  


Coach Jan: "I really enjoyed the affair ... outstanding. Thanks for inviting me."  


Coach Roy Chernock: "It was a great night for me, too! Thanks for thinking of and inviting me!"

So do we know how to do a party or what??
(You ain't seen nothin' yet!  Click on the links below for lots more.)

Click on the Brownie to view the 45-year reunion photo album in sequence.

So when is our next reunion? Click here.

Other 45-year reunion pages:
Photo Album/Friday Afternoon/Lunch at Nathan's
         Photo Album/Friday Afternoon/OHS Tour
Photo Album/The Friday Night Warm-up
        Photo Album/The Main Event, p. 1, Greeting Old Friends
        Photo Album/The Main Event, p. 2,
Call on the Memories
        Photo Album/The Main Event, p. 3, Oh, What a Night!
        Photo Album/The Main Event, p. 4, POPEYE's Page
        Photo Album/The Main Event, p. 5, Whole Lotta Shakin'
        Photo Album/The Main Event, p. 6,
Well, Rock My Soul!
        Photo Album/The Main Event, p. 7, May It Never Reach an End
     Welcoming Address
        Class Photo
        Photo Album/
Sunday Brunch, Aaaah, Just a Little Bit Longer


PLEASE: If you have digital photos from the reunion that
you haven't yet e-mailed to Howie
, do it NOW,
so the best ones may be shared with the class.


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Copyright ฉ 2005- 2009 by Howard B. Levy and 1960 Sailors Association Inc.  All rights reserved.