Friday, July 5, 2013

2013 July: post-party update

Why, yes, we did have a 60th birthday party for the entire CHSE class of 1971 a few weeks ago! It was in the Stage Door restaurant, which is part of the newly renovated Park Theatre, right across the street from Cranston City Hall. A great location, with a nice bar area in front, and lounge area with dance floor inside. It was a beautiful summer night, and about 120 classmates and guests turned out to party and catch up on their friendships.

As always when attending one of these reunions, my goal was to meet old friends and make new friends. I always see plenty of people I knew in the day and, in a class of 720, where it’s impossible to have known everybody, I also get to meet and hang out with people I’ve never met before. I talked to all kinds of classmates about all kinds of things, including retiring and starting new jobs, kids and kids’ kids, caring for or grieving parents, dealing with ailments minor and major, and discovering and rediscovering faith. People laughed, talked, ate, showed and took pictures, and danced. We keep moving forwards, and it’s inspiring to be part of such a great group of people.

These events don’t just happen. You would not believe all the work that has to go on behind the scenes. There were hundreds of emails exchanged during the year before the big night. All of this effort is led by Dan Barry. I am constantly reminded how lucky we are to have such an active class president. I know other CHSE classes whose presidents are MIA, but Dan is always front and center making things happen. This time around, Paul Verduchi did a ton of work, including finding and negotiating the place we actually used, creating a web site and online payment system for the party, printing and mailing ALL the invitations, getting all those birthday cupcakes made, and finding a last-minute DJ when the scheduled one fell off the earth. Pat Giarrusso handled all the money once again. Ernie Rheaume managed all the checks. Many people, including Dale Waterman Bonanno, Cosima Fallon, Linda DiMuccio Pontarelli, Juliana Pastine Reilly, Pat Dewey Giarrusso, and Susan Rotella, called missing classmates. Several people, including Pat Dewey Giarrusso, Carol Myron, and Cosima Fallon checked people in. Contrary to popular belief, my role in this was very small: sending emails and keeping lists. Please take the time to thank these people, without whom, literally, this party never would have happened.

If you’re looking for pictures from the party, check here:
and here:

And if you want to see video, check here:
(thanks to Art Toegemann for this gem)

This is our Facebook group:
And this is the Facebook event page:

I’m not going to give the usual monthly count of numbers of classmates this time. I’ve just been handed the 89 invitations that were returned because the addresses are no longer correct. Whenever we have a party or reunion, it’s always a rude reminder that we don’t know as many whereabouts as we thought we did. Oh, well. Back to the people-finder sites.

I do have some sad news to report. At the party, I found out that classmate Robert Geller died in 2007. Condolences to his family and friends.

Dan Deery couldn’t make it to the party, for a very good reason: “my 2nd daughter getting married in SC on 6/15 and some visitors hanging out afterwards”. Congratulations on your daughter’s wedding!

Harry Law also couldn’t make it. “I am working on a project in Long Beach . The project is to provide shore power stations for the container ships, so that when the ships are at the dock being unloaded or loaded, they will no longer run their diesel engines, which are extremely dirty. Having the shore power up and working will be the equivalent of taking 33,000 cars off the road every day.” Cool work!

We have lots of ways to keep in touch online, now. For example, we have a web site:
(thanks to Ernie Sutcliffe for starting and maintaining)
and wiki:
(also thanks to Ernie)
and Facebook group:
Check out one or more of these easy ways to see what people are up to.
And, by the way, I post these updates online at

That’s all from me. Share your photos. Share your stories. Enjoy your summer!

Ed DeJesus

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