By KENDRA LEIGH MILLER
NORTH KINGSTOWN – It’s been 60 years and they’re all older, wiser and have learned not to take things too seriously.
North Kingstown High School’s Class of 1952 gathered together for their annual reunion at Richard’s Restaurant and Pub Monday afternoon and classmates took the afternoon to relax, enjoy lunch and joked about days gone by.
As people showed up, hugs, compliments and stories from the past year were passed around the room. Many of the guys joked with each other as though 60 years hadn’t come and gone since the last time they roamed the school halls together and, despite their age, acted as though they were teenagers again.
“It’s a great bunch of people,” said Leonard LaFreniere. “It’s great to be in the company of my classmates.”
“I never thought I’d be in a room with so many bald guys and white-haired ladies,” joked one classmate.
Marlyn Nagy, chairperson of the reunion committee, said the reunions used to just take place once every five years but because the class is older and some are no longer around, she plans it each year.
She had a spark in her eye as she recalled giving her teachers a hard time in high school.
“One of my teachers had a pretty bad lisp with certain letters,” she said, “so I used to step on her toes so I could hear her lisp when she scolded me. I used to make fun on it. I used to pass out gum to everyone too when that was never allowed.”
Nagy believes it’s important to come to the reunions and get out of the house to do things. And it doesn’t hurt that the annual events give her and her classmates the opportunity to see the people they care about and have some smiles and laughs in the process.
“You have to laugh and have a good time,” Nagy said with a shrug of her shoulders. “If not, why bother? This is what life’s all about.”
Jean Palazzo says she loves it when everyone gets together for the reunions.
“It’s great to see everyone because we’re all spread out now across the states,” she said. “We try to keep in touch by phone.”
Another classmate who still resides in North Kingstown grew up going to the little red school house in North Kingstown, where the Wickford Middle School is now. She and two of her other classmates began in that same school and even now attend the reunions together.
“The three of us all went from first grade through our senior year,” she said. “We’ve got to come to the reunions to see who is still with us.”
Committee member Irene Pierce says she has never missed a reunion.
“You have to keep in contact,” she said. “I love seeing everyone and these are great people. You have to do what you can while you can.”