POINT RICHMOND, Calif. - My wife Sylvia and I arrived safely here in California a little over a week ago, after driving our Toyota Tundra pickup, heavily ladened with boxes of precious cargo, (ok, a lot of it was junk) from the home we sold in Watkins Glen. That was Part I of the trip. Part II starts in early September when I fly back to New York and grab my other pickup truck - a 1990 Nissan that I will drive slowly across the U.S. back here to California. Which brings us to John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley. I purchased a copy at a local Barnes & Noble bookstore (an hour ago) using a portion of the gift card you all gave me recently. Perhaps I'll use the balance of that gift card at some Barnes & Noble in some other state. My driving/camping trip will not be a zip and zoom, cross-country sojourn. Instead, I plan to take a largely blue-highway tour, stopping whenever I feel like it, checking the pulse of communities in several states - a la Travels with Charley. I won't be retracing Steinbeck's trip. Instead, I will retrace (more or less) my own Travels taken in 1970 in a battered VW bus I bought in Jamestown. That bus would only go 45 mph. My Nissan can do 65 in a pinch. In 1970, I followed Interstate 80 from New York, diverting often from the four-lane highway once west of Chicago. And I'll do that again, I hope. Thanks again for the gift card, classmates. I'm putting it to good use.
POINT RICHMOND, Calif. - You got me! Totally! After our amazing 50th SWCS Class Reunion, I went intofull-tilt moving-mania mode. My wife Sylvia and I had just sold our house in Watkins Glen, NY and were in the process of moving from there to our new digs here in California. The whole process of moving was nuts. But this past Thursday morning we arrived after a one-week, cross-country drive in our Toyota Tundra, arriving safely here in Point Richmond. So it wasn't until yesterday - Saturday Aug. 6 - I began sifting through a mountain of mail and found this fabulous thank-you card (below) with a Barnes & Noble gift card inside... As I said, you got me! It's a tribute to some teacher somewhere that I could read every single inscription. (OK, I did have to use some pretty powerful reading glasses. But still ... ) Thank you all for your thoughtfulness. You're a great group and we did have an amazing 50th reunion, didn't we?
MAYVILLE, New York - The 50th reunion of the Class of '66 of SWCS was - as we used to say - a total blast. I had sooooooo much fun, I devoted a good part of my newspaper column Friday to talk about it. Below is a video from the reunion, just snippets, plus the videos of those people who stepped in front of the camera to deliver a message to classmates. My sincere apologies for the sound quality on some of the clips. I had no idea that the DJ's music would be that loud. But then, he probably is familiar with the hearing issues many of us have! There is always loose talk at these about the next reunion. But I think it's very likely we will have another. And I agree with the folks who said let's do it in five years, not 10. Maybe Dalton Berringer will play a concert for us! Thank you to all who attended and especially all those who worked sooooo hard to put it on: Randy Carlson and Jim Lindell and others whose names I don't know at the moment, but will highlight in a future post. I hope to see you all again in five years - and those of you who couldn't attend this year's event. Go Trojans!
MAYVILLE, New York - Saturday night at the SWCS Class of '66 reunion, I will have a video camera set up for classmates who want to record a short memory from our high school years - or just comment. This is partly for classmates who could not attend the festivities to get a look at those of us there - and hear our voices. Plus, for people who do attend, this will be a keepsake, sort of.
So, what to say? Well, here's some suggestions for comments:
• A favorite memory from high school
• A least-favorite memory
• Comment about a teacher
• Comment about classmates
• Favorite class
• Least favorite class
• What you would do if you could go back
The comments don't need to be lengthy at all - and this is strictly voluntary. See you all tomorrow night in Bemus Point and Saturday in Mayville.
BEMUS POINT & MAYVILLE, New York - If you have any historical photos from our high school years - maybe of plays, sports, parties, dances, or whatever - please bring them along to the class reunion. Randy Carlson will be setting up bulletin boards where they can be posted on display. You will get them returned. The display will be just for the reunion. Personally, I wish I had been shooting photos a lot in those days, especially of our off-campus activities. Then again, maybe it's just as good we don't have any photographic evidence lurking. Below are few shots from our SWCS Yearbook of stage plays our classmates were involved in. I suspect many classmates who were in the casts - or working behind the scenes - have less formal shots that would be fun to see.
BEMUS POINT, New York - The final countdown has begun. Just 9 days from now (as of this writing, anyway) a quorum of members of the 1966 graduating class of Southwestern Central High School will gather in Bemus Point for the first night of a two-night celebration. Celebration? Yes. That's my plan anyway. There's golf, dancing, yakking, and possibly some imbibing of beverages. Possibly. Friday night the assembly - more fun than any assembly we probably ever had in high school - will be at the site of the old Surf Club, now theEllicottville Brewing Company. That soiree starts at about 5:30 p.m. and runs until we run out of steam. Try to make it to 7 p.m., please!
Saturday night is at the Chautauqua Suites in Mayville. There will be cocktails before dinner, cocktails with dinner, and cocktails after dinner while the dancing goes on. Rereading that last sentence suggests that I should grab a glass of wine to finish this post. If you have any last-minute questions, concerns, ideas or anything else, give Randy Carlson a shout via email by clicking on his name. And below is the balance of the photos of classmates who said they will be attending. Hope to see y'all in Bemus and Mayville.
BEMUS POINT - Bemus Point and Mayville are probably bracing for the arrival of the SWCS Class of '66 for our 50th Reunion celebration & shenanigans. Classmates are polishing their golf clubs (Do you polish golf clubs?), shining their dancing shoes and getting ready for two days of non-stop fun - and nostalgia. Of course, in the intervening 50 years, some memories have dimmed, mercifully enough. Others are vivid. They will all be on the table for chattering about Friday and Saturday. In the meantime, here's another gaggle of nine photos of classmates who have said they will be at the reunion the evening of July 1 in Bemus (at the site of the old Surf Club), then Saturday night, July 2 in Mayville at the Chautauqua Suites. See you there soon, amigos...
Michael J. Fitzgerald has been a journalist for 40 years, working as a writer and editor for newspapers, magazines and web publications. In 2014 he published the novel, "The Fracking War." This year he published his second novel, "Fracking Justice." He writes or contributes to five blogs. He and his wife Sylvia Fox are the owners and principal partners in *subject2change Media, a multi-media firm involved in print, video and broadcast. He writes a weekly column, "Write On" for the daily 'Finger Lakes Times' newspaper in Geneva, NY. He was a journalism professor at CSU Sacramento from 1986 to 2011 teaching Newswriting, Column Writing and Magazine Writing.