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Ol' school crowd still can party
A high school reunion is a great time to cherish old friends and special memories

LEE WOOLF
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Date published: 9/1/2004

By LEE WOOLF

I HAD THE CHANCE to spend an evening in a banquet room full of 18-year-olds recently.

That might not sound so unusual except for the fact that I was one of them.

OK, I know, one look at the photo with this column will tell you that I am well past 18.

How far past?

Here's a hint. I was born during Harry Truman's administration.

But on this recent Saturday night, I sure felt like 18 again. And for a few hours, it was the summer of 1969.

I laughed with my "teenage" friends as we gossiped about classmates, talked about proms and football games, and danced to music from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

We looked at yearbooks and old high school newspapers, recalled teachers we liked (and some we feared) and sadly reminisced about friends no longer with us.

As you've probably guessed, this was a high school reunion--the 35th for the Class of '69 at James Wood High School in Frederick County near Winchester.

And while some have experienced lives with enough twists and shouts to rival a Chubby Checker stage show, it was a hardy group of about 150 class members and spouses who came out to swap memories. Some drove to the party from just down the street and others traveled from California and Florida.

Of course, we have changed. Waistlines are thicker. Hairlines are thinner. And those youthful faces in the yearbooks now have a few wrinkles.

But there still are familiar smiles and laughs, and legendary exploits--some athletic and some romantic--that seem to get more embellished over the years. And there were several hugs followed by this warm welcome: "As soon as I heard that voice across the room, I knew it was you!"

We reminisced about how the new junior high school we were supposed to inaugurate was not finished on time. That meant our eighth-grade class began the fall in the high school auditorium. And with more construction delays, we wound up staying there all year.

Teachers conducted classes from the stage using an overhead projector. Students were organized in groups, each with a homeroom teacher.


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