August 31, 2018

Dear CCS Alumni and Friends, the Special Edition provoked a lot of response.  I hope this discussion will somehow help.  We cannot change the past but we can improve the future.


Name withheld by request
Some very good points were brought up here!  I am sure they affect the attendance at reunions.  I, myself have attended only one reunion, my 15th back in '86.  I remember seeing one of my good friends from high school days and not much interaction with others.  This was a reunion for only the class of '71.  I have kept in contact with a few friends and reconnected with others through Facebook.  I guess I was disappointed in the '86 reunion, though I have thought for years I would go to another, it just hasn't happened in this busy world..

Name withheld by request
I think that asking "What do you do?"  is not a status question but an opener for conversation about life since high school.   I don't attach any significance to the question except to get a conversation going.   I'm sorry it gets misinterpreted. I am truly interested in what others are doing as it leads to further conversation or insights.


Linda Finning Kelley 1971

This makes me rather sad.  I'm sad for the person that can't put the past in the past.  We ALL have things that happened to us as young adults or as children that are not that pleasant.  We can choose to dwell on those things, or we can honor them for making us the stronger people that we are today. We can choose to carry a grudge or to forgive and free ourselves of the negative energy that comes with holding onto them. As for people asking you,  "What do you do?", I can assure you that 99 times out of 100 it is just a conversation starter and not meant to pass judgment on anyone.  Who cares if you were the CEO of a major company or a doctor or you simply lived at home in your parents basement for thirty years while looking after your parents.   Seriously, who cares?  The main thing is..  did you live a happy life.  As we grow up and older the hope is that we get wiser and learn that each of us has value.  The all class reunion is always on the weekend that we celebrate my husband’s birthday. My grandchildren would not understand if they didn't get to celebrate with their papa.  That is the only reason you haven't seen my smiling face.  😉   I'm proud to have grown up in Cambridge.  I'm proud to have graduated from Cambridge Central.  I'm in awe of the things that are available to the students that are going there today and thankful that my nieces and nephews have had the same opportunities to grown up in a community that truly cares about their young people.    Thank you, for all you do. One last thing:    I never noticed that there were cliques in our class. Perhaps we were unique in that way.  Maybe I was just oblivious to it


Name withheld by request
I am not gifted with the use of words to relay my feelings but so many words that Oliver used I really agree with, such as:

 "What we have to remember is that our emotional maturity back then was not as fully developed as it later would become."

Also "bring our past immature selves up to the level of our improved adult versions…  psychologists might call it therapeutic."

I really never felt that my status was being questioned but these words were good also … "So it behooves us when we attend alumni gatherings to focus on the things that bring us together rather than on “status” items."

This sentence says it all --  "And let's remember… cancer, dementia, and old age put class ladders on their sides dumping all of us on the ground. Death plays no favorites.. and  everyone appreciates a warm hug, hello, and how are you, while we still have warm blood circulating through our lungs."

I would just like to add that I have not felt any of the status separation or whatever at the all school reunions even though I do remember on occasions when I was younger and "immature" those feelings of

Cindy Dunn Labish, Class of 1965
Thank you for your insights! Definitely food for thought especially on encouraging attendance. 
We do tend to focus on our circle of friends but in recent years (esp at our 50th) efforts were made to make contact with all former students who were in our class (even briefly). This did take a lot of effort ( certain classmates willingly took this on  and did a great job😀)but it did pay off and it has been great to reconnect !! 


Ken Gottry, Class of 1968
In general, I felt I had a happy childhood and experience at CCS. I did well in school and was in lots of sports and activities. However, I also can recall walking home crying some nights after a few of the bullies flushed my face in the locker room toilet. So I have many memories to choose from, some feel-good ones, some gut-wrenching.

Let me share 3 positives that I have experienced being part of the CCS Alumni and attending the reunions

  1. People 5+ years older than me were just names: Bobby Shay, Jimmy Arnold, the Dering boys, Angie Estramonte, Ann Thiessen, Ollie Perry, Brady Nennsteil, Bob Nygard, Bev Thomas, Linda and Dick Record. Some of them might have heard my name, but they didn't know me. The CCS Alumni Association has given me a chance to meet and know these fellow alums as people. I don't think of them as former sports stars or cheerleaders or scholars. I just think of them as people who grew up in a similar environment. What do I know about these people now? ... whatever they have chosen to tell me. I know if they went to college if they chose to tell me that. I know if they started a success business because they chose to tell me that. I know if they have motorcycles if that's what they chose to tell me. It's all good. It's how I get to know them.
  2. People within 5 years of me are people I knew or saw in the halls 50 years ago. When I bump into them at Reunion or at Stewarts, we're not strangers. We took different paths in our lives, none right or wrong just different. But it's a unique feeling to wave to someone who shared the same Kindergarten hall with you. I don't know where they live now, what their job is, but I have a solid common ground to reach out, shake a hand, and "hi there. How's life?" I can say "how's Buskirk?" and we're instantly on common ground
  3. People 5+ years younger than me were just names that I read in local newspaper for decades after I graduated. But thanks to the Alumni Association and Reunion, they come up to me, say "hi", and we start talking. We may talk about our kids taking driving lessons which may include a discussion of our driver's test on the hill in Greenwich. I've enjoyed chatting with the really young golfers at the Scramble, getting to find out what it's like to grow up in Cambridge in the 21st century. Without the common bond of being CCS alums, I doubt we'd ever have talked.

I am a naturally positive person but I do realize that I'm not going to like every alumni and they're not all going to like me. There are some folks from my class that choose not to engage in reunion activities. That's fine. It's not for everyone. But, for me, I consider it a successful Reunion if at the end of the weekend, I can look back on one person, one conversation, that would not otherwise have happened were it not for the Alumni Association.

Sappy, I know, but that's who I am. As for the face-flushing memories, I still have them. I have seen some of those folks over the years, we chatted, maybe not as friends, but definitely as people who grew up in a similar environment.

Jeff Woodward, Class of 1972
Thank you for sharing this. I was a classmate and friend of Mike Brown’s, and it’s fun to see that he’s still instigating all these years later.

I hurt for the person who had a bad experience at Reunion. I’ve experienced the same thing at my college reunions, and am reticent to attend as a result—my college friends don’t attend reunion, so I don’t know many people there, and end up standing around while other alums are engaged with their friends who did show up. It’s not fun.

I haven’t had that experience at the CCS reunions. I think partly because I was born and grew up in Cambridge, the people in our 1972 graduation class are basically the same group as our 1960 kindergarten class. All 76 of us knew each other, and those, like Mike Brown, who joined our class along the way, were just as important. So when I go to a reunion now, I look forward to catching up with everyone. 

I understand that there are some good high school friends who don’t enjoy coming to reunion because it’s not what their thing, and I’ll catch up with them in another setting. But for those who do attend, it is such a gift to be able to see them, hear how they’re doing, look at pictures of their grandchildren, and share a cold beer together.

Joel Collamer
 Thanks for the thought provoking "special edition".  Unfortunately, during our formative elementary and high school years, and also right into adulthood, we've all intentionally or unintentionally participated in mean or hurtful behaviors that have resulted in very painful experiences and memories for friends and family alike, and in retrospect, are very regrettable. Unfortunately we can't re-write history.  I'm optimistic that the vast majority make sincere attempts to get better every day at avoiding these types of behaviors and where possible attempt to make amends for past bad behaviors.  Alas, a few are unable or unwilling to forgive past grievances, and in other cases we may not be aware that our behavior caused a negative experience, and therefore not even aware that we need to make an amend.

 I wish that I had a magic bullet for solving this problem.

 All the best and hope you have an enjoyable, relaxing Labor Day.

Dian Ehrenfreund, Class of 1972
As far as the all class reunions go,  I love going to it  I love having people walk up to me and tell me they were my baby sitters and I love seeing people that I haven't seen in a long time because they moved away, like the Steens for example. So many people that my family was close that weren't necessarily in my class. I do know that when we have (in the past) had reunions with just my class they were a blast! My class really enjoyed each other and even though there were groups of friends that hung out, I never felt that anybody disliked  anybody just because they didn't hang out with them. I may be wrong but the roar of conversation that happened with my own class was amazing when we got together at our own reunions. We all think of everybody in our class affectionately to the best of my knowledge. We had a lot of fun experiences we shared and now we have experienced a lot of loss together.



Thank you for your responses.  Some opinions were voiced to me privately with requests not to publish.  I will say that these emails all express sadness, concern and a sincere hope that all CCS Alumni could come together in friendliness and peace.

I also want to thank all who had such kind and encouraging words for me personally.  I do not include them in the responses but I am gratefully and appreciative of your support!!!! 


Jane Wright
I think, Pauline, we have all felt “ on the edge” of groups starting , for me, in first grade, and it is always there, even in old age. There will always be the “new kid on the block”  no matter what you get involved in, from volunteering, to work, to church in a new community, and learning to cope with it began in school. Cliques existed, I wish they hadn’t, but like Oliver said, death and illness are the great equalizers. The older you get, the more you realize that cliques were petty, foolish, and unhealthy for all. 

So , fellow CCSers, take heart, attend your reunions and the all class reunion, and enjoy the present.



Ken pretty much summed up my experiences in Cambridge without toilet bowl diving but I did get clobbered fairly severely more than once by significantly older kids and a couple of my classmates as well. The reason - damned if I knew then and even less so know. And yes I recall their names but at least one had his time in hell and turned out outwardly at least into a decent person from what I have heard. And like Ken I realized (and taught my kids from their early ages} to accept not everyone I meet will like me and I won't like everyone I meet. Dwell on it no, accept it yes. 


Ken's observation about age gap, less the names - my list would be different - is spot on. While I haven't spent any significant time in town since the early 70s so I don't know the people or events, how we react to people is very much age driven. Found it funny while college that by my senior year Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you, as what you can do for your country" was as alien to incoming freshmen as if it had been translated into Swahili first. What we seek in any relationship is a common ground. Cambridge is a good start 


Having moved from Cambridge before graduating from CCS, I did end up going to three of my high school class reunions spread well apart, the most recent being but a few years ago. What did I find - at all three was old run-with-groups tended gather in old familiar groups for catching up. And logically that makes sense - if a person wants to jolly around with a bunch of unknowns, book a berth on a cruise ship. In my case at our most recent one, that proved impossible as I found that I am the last of my run-withs so I had the option of standing by myself nursing a slowly warming beer or finding others looking for the same train car which proved relatively easy if one simply ignores known old relationships. The fact that I hadn't been in touch with any in my class in years, we were a lot like a barracks full of draftees trying to find a top bunk and a person who heard of the place "I" was from. 


A lot is expectations : If you expect everyone to rush over, grab your hand and say "Welcome sinner, you are now saved" not gonna happen, not the right place. And there is a kind of built in embarrassment. I was in a college fraternity, graduated and through life's circumstances / interventions and a double dose or two of laxness on my part completely lost touch with the whole brotherhood A few years back, reestablished contact, each year since an All Years reunion has been held complete with pictures galore published on the net and I am embarrassed : With the exception of maybe three faces, I have no bloody idea who any of those guys are and I lived with some those faces for four years!! There is little more embarrassing in life than going up to that total unrecognizable soul, ignoring their face, shaking their hand while desperately trying to read their nametag stuck on a place that social graces say guys should not spend time staring at hoping against hope they are truly a stranger only to find you spent three years sitting next to them in Mrs. Bell's French class and in three other assorted classes every day for all three years of high school because of where your names fell alphabetically. Don't think it can't happen, it did. To me. A sense of humor helps a whole lot. 


As for "What do you do?" question being a problem, it is an ice breaker, not a third degree, an automatic put down. Absolutely every question asked can be great entrance, get acquainted line or an oh no, what have I done. All in how it is taken.


As to why I haven't made it yet to an All Classes reunion in Cambridge : Econ 101 - many, many plus miles between here & there


Shailer Evans -1956:

  I read all the comments from others so far. They are insightful. Without being overly redundant I would like to share mine.

  So much of our school experiences depended on where you came from, family, income, intellect, athletic ability, maturity, and a willingness to accept who you were in this context. My family was financially low class. Our heritage and values were middle class but the income was not enough to let me enjoy scout outings, dances etc. My father died when I was seven and I had no male role model- except for Scottie Laverty, our neighbor and scout master. No teacher ever encouraged me to be more than what they saw on the surface except the principal, Charles Bowler. I was immature to say the least. I was not a jock but loved baseball. I played one varsity game in my senior year. I was an awful student: how ironic that I became a teacher and held various leaderships positions.

   These days the girls might ask you out; in my days this did not happen for the most part. I met girls later who might have been interested in me, but I was scared that I couldn't do anything at the time. No money and no car is not very impressive. I envied the smart kids, the jocks. All those people that I did not think I could or would be like.

   I never suspected that I would be a teacher, ass't principal, summer school principal, head of a teacher union, chairperson of a credit union, and school board member and president. The bottom line was I was decidedly immature until I went into the Air Force and grew up.

   Lest you think that I got nothing out of Cambridge let me share some positive things. Some teachers were very nice to me. Miss Brown complimented me on a new pair of pants which I did not often get, Miss Gallitelli was nice and positive, Miss Weir, my 8th grade math teacher always tried to help me. I shook her off and continued on my path to getting nothing done until she gave me the final test and I got a 95 or so. She felt she had to pass me. I feel badly I did not do better for her because she did her darndest for me. Many teachers were dedicated to all the students.

   Looking back on the school atmosphere it was a place where you could feel mostly comfortable and I did. Not always and not with the few bullies, but in general a nice place to go from a kid to a semi-adult. It was our second home with a huge family.

   Proof reading what I wrote here I realize a few impressions might be better summarized: probably most kids had issues and I never realized that I was not the only one, I played with many kids and had many friends who accepted each other for who we were, not for what we had. I had a Tom Sawyer existence because of Cambridge and what could be more enriching. For this I am most grateful. Most of my schoolmates do not attend for whatever reason, but I will try to see as many as I can next July


Douglas Bovie,
I have to agree with Linda Finning.  Not sure who she is but in 2015 I shared a beverage or 3 with Lenny Finning at the Legion in Cambridge.  Lots of negatives here.  Some people are just like that.  I live 3150 miles from Cambridge.  I know I drove to my 30 year reunion from Seattle.  I enjoy every hour of every day in Cambridge.  I enjoyed my reunion very much seeing classmates I may never see again.  I enjoy Cambridge very much.   I appreciate the efforts put forward by people like Pauline to make these reunions possible.

I am a survivor and I just try to focus on the positives and currently I am very happy and surround myself with other happy people.  I would not change my growing up and graduating from CCS for anything.  I have done well, and I am still doing well.  I live a lifestyle that very few people my age can imagine.  I live the way I live because I put myself in an environment to live like this.  I am not at all saddened that some folks did not enjoy/stay more than five minutes at the reunion.  Many other people traveled distances and enjoyed reunions.  Seems like too many people focus on the negatives.  I know we live in a info society.  This is all part of that.  Just my thoughts and this is way more than I like to share!!!


Thank you to all who shared their feelings.  I pray that even though we cannot change the past, we will all endeavor to improve our present and future by moving forward and not living in the past.


God bless all of you