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Saturday, April 01, 2017

This class can be included in the "Hornet Class with Class!" These folks are going all out with a 50th to remember down in Atlantic City! Further info on the reunion can be found at their website www.hhswreunion67.com. Have a great time, fellow Hornets!

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

1948: MEMORIES OF THOSE GREAT HHS OPERETTAS!

I would have been in that operetta if I was at Hamilton High in the 1947-148 era. However, in those years, my neighborhood did their freshman year at Kuser School in what was then known as Kuser Annex. This graphic, courtesy of my friend Audrey Homan Sperling shows just a portion of the cast for that great musical. My singing buddy Lee Belardino is see as a fellow freshman under the orange "v" adding his splendid tenor voice to the chorus. What wonderful memories!

2016: GOODBYES ARE SO SAD; FAREWELL HARRY!

Harry Hall and I didn't re-establish contact until computer technology came on the scene. Harry surfed the web and found my Kuser School website www.kuser-school.blogspot.com and we became fast friends. How well I remember Harry and his neighbor Marty Majarowitz walking down Newkirk to Kuser School back in the 1940's Harry and I became very close e-mail swapping friends and carried on nearly daily email exchanges until he became ill a few years ago. I will always remember Harry and his reverence for our school days from Kuser School to Hamilton High. Even though I was a couple years his senior, we had enough in common to proudly claim each other brothers,, even to our birthdays; both of which occur in September; mine on the 29th and Harry's a couple days earlier on the 27th. Rest in peace and finally free from all that pain, Harry. We WILL meet again!

Saturday, March 05, 2016

FROM THE APRIL 1950 CRITERION - MEMORIES OFMY FIRST TRUE LOVE

It was March, 1951; time for our class trip to Washington in 2 buses. I was on bus 1 and as luck would have it, the girl of my dreams was on bus 2. I'll never forget that day when we stopped at the Luray Caverns and explored Mother Nature's incredible underground display. It was here that I fell in love with Judy Britton. She had on a very stunning navy blue suit, and was movie star pretty. I will never forget the thrill and electricity that surged through me as we walked hand in had in those dark caverns. Here's a pleasant memory of my classmates that I scanned from a 1950 "CRITERION" which I received from Bob Oliver HHS '50.

Monday, January 11, 2016

1951 - 2016: "PRECIOUS MEMORIES, HOW THEY LINGER.."

I am no longer posting on my Hamilton High School class of 1951 CLASSMATES.COM pages. I find that the site is much too limited in bringing the larger and more legible photos and articles. All of which brings me to this post: I have devoted my retirement years to my memories of growing up in a very rural Hamilton Township. I know there are a number of my contemporaries who have absolutely no interest in their past life, but as I grow older and older and older, I find that the memories I hold deep down in my very being should not be repressed. In short I am a hopeless romantic. I am also a hopeless, aging old guy looking back on how blessed I have been with my COUNTLESS precious memories. For instance: The photo I took was on one of my MANY passes I take to the best high school in the world (My opinion, of course.) I can't express the deep, delightful emotional wave that comes over me when I see that lovely settee under the school flagpole. School is ending, we were graduating seniors with our yearbooks at our side, garnering signatures of our classmates, and then that miraculous and never to be forgotten act of young love between me and the girl I would ultimately marry. Some folks take those memories to the cemetery. I take mine to the place where the memories were made, and this is one of those treasured landmarks for me.

Monday, September 14, 2015

2015: GOOD BYE, DICK. YOU BROUGHT A LOT OF JOY TO YOUR COMMUNITY

I received a phone call last evening via voice mail from a relative of Dick Chmielewski, our class of 1951 classmate who went on to form the DICK CHIMES polka band. His incredible group brought many wonderful hours to the Kuser Park gazebo when the township engaged professional groups to play at that great venue. Dick was known for a very warm and cordial personality and he had a killer smile for everyone. We'll miss you Dick, and your surviving classmates will re-unite with you in the Hamilton High class of eternity! Rest in peace, my friend.

Richard "Dick Chimes" Chmielewski, 82, of Hamilton, NJ, passed away on September 9, 2015 in Chandler, AZ. Richard was band leader for Dick Chimes and His Orchestra, worked in security for the State House and was is a US Navy Veteran. He is survived by: daughters, Amy Mourkas of Chandler, AZ and Audrey Healy of Murrieta, CA; grandchildren, Jake Mourkas, Alexis Mourkas, Max Mourkas of Chandler, AZ; Megan Johnson, Michael Moran, and Michael Healy of California; and brothers, Ronald Chmielewski of Saluda, NC, Bill Aring of Columbus, NJ, and John Aring of Idaho Falls, IA. Richard is preceded in death by his brother Robert Chmielewski of Trenton, NJ. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Alzheimer's Association . Services will be scheduled at a later date through Winowicz Funeral Home, Trenton, NJ.

Monday, August 31, 2015

2016: THE WOMAN WHO MADE ME THE MAN I AM TODAY - 60 PLUSE YEARS LATER

I was one of many fortunate Hamilton High School students who studied and performed under the tutelage of Miss Louise Baird who was the vocal music teacher there from the first year of Hamilton High School until she retired in 1961. I will be forever indebted to her for instilling a love of music and philosophy.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

As anyone who has followed the hundreds of columns I have written over the years will agree, Miss Louise S. Baird, the vocal music teacher at Hamilton High School during Judy Britton Glover and Tom Glover's attraction to this incredible lady has left an indelible impression on both our lives. Those of us who were privileged to have been in her music classes as choral singers will agree that we not only learned how to sing in 8 part harmony, we also learned about the cultural and theological aspect of living. After we graduated together in 1951, my dear wife Judy and I maintained almost daily contact with Miss Baird, or as she was known to her very closest friends, "Ouise" pronounced "Weeze." At the time of our graduation in 1951 Miss Baird was caring for her aging mother and it was that summer that she passed away, leaving Ouise alone and very lonely. Judy and I loved being with her as she taught us the wisdom of the ages as seen in the 5 or 6 scrapbooks that she kept with notable quotations from the likes of Helen Steiner Rice, Kahlil Gibran and other deep thinkers. She also had a delightful piano in her Hamilton Avenue apartment and would always sit down and play our favorite musical pieces. Judy's was "Traumeri," and mine was the "Moonlight Sonata." To be honest, Ouise is largely responsible for the man I have become. She has left me with memories of some of her quotes which she said every man should live by. Three of them are alive and well in my lesson on living: "Greatness is Humble," "The true test of a man's character is what he would do if he would never be found out," "Though you travel the world over in search of the beautiful, you must carry it with you or you find it not," and this gem from Keats: "A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases. It will never pass into nothingness."



Monday, April 13, 2015

1965 AND 1966 ANNOUNCING AN OCTOBER REUNION!

 
Above is the announcement of the 50th reunion of the combined classes of 1965 and 1966. I have always felt that the combining of classes would make for a much more interesting reunion. Having been very active in reunion activities over many years, I find if so very disappointing number of classmates who never come to reunions outnumber those who attend by a huge majority. Sad to say (and this is my opinion) many guys and gals don't like what father or mother time has done to them physically over the years. On the other hand, there are those of us who wear those wrinkles proudly and carry all those other vestiges of aging confident in the realization that "we're all in this aging thing together." I have found that personal appearance takes a back seat to being with that person or persons we loved and respected during our young years. Personalities shine, not personal appearance.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

2015: PARDON MY GRANDFATHERLY PRIDE

Congratulations to my lovely granddaughter, Jessica Saiia, Rider University Class of 2016. Your accomplishment was only exceeded by your hard work to earn such a distinguished honor, Jess. Love you deeply.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

1946: FIFTIETH REUNION


Over the years I have been quite active in tracking reunions from my era as an alumnus of Hamilton High school. The 50th anniversary of HHS included my sister in law, Dolores Britton Paul and I was approached by Ms. Grace Wallace to publicize the event. I had a HUGE cardboard wall size display on which I posted memorabilia from that era. Look closely at the black and white graphics and you will see many memories of the 40's and 50's.

Friday, October 17, 2014

1950: HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEARTS




High school sweethearts. As I find them, I will be adding to those who were included in the category of "High School Sweethearts," and in some cases, "Grammar School Sweethearts."  One of the songs I sing during my sing along programs provides a perfect addition to these posts. It's called:

"When I fall in Love, it will be forever, 
Or I'll never fall in love.
In a restless world like this is, love is ended before it's begun, 
And too many moonlight kisses, 
Seem to cool in the warmth of the sun.
When I give my heart, it will be completely,
Or I'll never give my heart.
And the moment I can feel that, you feel that way too,
Is when I fall in love with you."
Ahh---they don't write 'em like that any more!

Monday, August 04, 2014

1951: MARRIAGE WAS FOREVER

One of the songs I sing at my numerous community singalongs is the Vince Gill classic, "Look at Us." The lyrics are especially apropos to those of us who have married our high school sweethearts. In my case, in my 61st year of wedded bliss.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

1947: SIXTY SEVENTH REUNION! SURVIVORS ALL!

I saw the notice of HHS 1947's 67th reunion in yesterday's Trenton Times and am proud to post it on this website as well as www.glover320.blogspot.com and my Facebook pages. As I paged through that beautiful copy of "RETROSPICE," many old friends were pictured. Eddie Kamp, Clem Edmonds, Merrick Francis, etc. Having just attended my class of 1951 60th reunion, it warms my heart to see that the orange and black lamp still glows brightly for the class of '47. God bless all of you and may you all have a wonderful afternoon remembering those good times we had in the 1940-1950 era.

Friday, July 25, 2014

1954: CLEAR THE DECKS! HHS 1954 TO CELEBRATE 60!

This Sunday's "Sentimental Journey" column on page 2 of "The Times" will recall the year 1954 and the many friends I have from that Hamilton High school class. The 1950's are quickly moving back in time with distant memories still retained by those of us in the 70 to 80 age group who remember a much less hectic and slower lifestyle. Back then high school girls wore modest skirts and blouses, and the boys neatly dressed with a necktie or attractive sport shirt. Drugs were sold in a drug store, and Coke was a delicacy at Hamilton High's Park Avenue teen hangout,  "Toon Towne." Weather permitting, this week's Kuser Park Tom Glover music program will concentrate on the great songs from that era.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

1950: HORNETS I REMEMBER

As I peruse my extensive collection of HHS yearbooks, find I am drawn to the years between 1948 and 1953 where many of my friends were contemporaries. Bill Flury probably doesn't remember me, but I remember him quite well. He was a very soft spoken and humble individual. Here is an extract from the 1950 RETROSPECT wherein Bill tells his classmates of his distinguished career.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

2014: TRIBUTE TO MISS LOUISE SIMPSON BAIRD

We all had a teacher or teachers who had an influence on our lives long after we left the hallowed halls of grammar and high schools. For me, there were three: Miss Louise Baird, Miss Julia McClain, and Miss Ruth Margerum. Miss Baird and Miss Margerum were the two teachers who cultivated my lifelong interest in music, while Miss McClain encouraged me to focus on my natural talents of reading and writing way back in the 6th grade at Kuser School. These teachers instilled in me an incredible interest in these fields that has remained with me at the age of 80 plus. 

Monday, March 03, 2014

2014: MARCH MEETING CANCELED

Tonight's Hamilton Historical Society meeting has been cancelled due to inclement weather.
Mark your calendar for April  7th at 7 P.M.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

TOM GLOVER, REMEMBERS HIS HHS '51CLASS

Here's a link to a presentation I have been working on for quite some time. I hope to add to it as time allows. They were great years as we grew up in a much more innocent society. Coke was Coca Cola, we chased girls who were chaste, and we got a very well rounded education.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

1951 THROUGH 2013: PROUD OF MY HAMILTON HIGH '51 CLASSMATES

We're all familiar with those reunions where our classmates tell us of the great success they have had since leaving the hallowed halls of learning; many times regaling us with stories that foretell a fantastic and affluent lifestyle. Back in Hamilton High, Louise Baird asked us to memorize the following quote and to live by it:
"GREATNESS IS HUMBLE." 
That personifies Pat and Bob Beckett who as you can see in the graphic above, have quietly shared their intellectual accomplishments for the benefit of others. Indeed, they have remained true to the slogan of the high school of our youth, "ENTER TO LEARN, GO FORTH TO SERVE." You and Pat have done that, Pat and Bob, we are very proud of you and what you have accomplished.

2013: A HHS WEST MUSICAL LEGEND TO RETIRE

I received the above email from Mr. Brian Maher advising me of the forthcoming retirement of Suzanne Proulx from the Vocal Music program at Hamilton High School. Over the ensuing years this very talented and music-minded lady has kept the tradition of musical excellence alive at Hamilton West as she very admirably continued the tradition of musical excellence set by her predecessor. I'm sure all HHS alumni wish you a very happy retirement, Suzanne. You have given the Township of Hamilton a reason to be proud of your incredible music talents. 
Anyone who has followed my column and my internet sites knows the great love I have for my musical education beginning way back in 1943 when I was in Miss Ruth Margerum's Kuser School "Glee Club" to 1948 when I was privileged to have been a student of Miss Louis Simpson Baird who was the Vocal Music teacher at Hamilton High before it was known as "West." When "Ouise" retired in the early 1960's Hamilton lost a lady who left her musical mark on countless alumni. Sue Proulx filled that spot and has maintained the tradition of vocal music excellence that has become a Hamilton West hallmark. As that song I often sing from
the movie "Momma Mia" goes, 

"Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing,
Thanks for all the joy they're bringing,
Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty,
What would life be,
Without a song or a dance what are we,
So I say thank you for the music,
For giving it to me.."
May God bless you, Suzanne, and a very long and happy retirement!

Monday, September 24, 2012

1948: WILL THERE BE A 65TH IN 2013?

It seems like only yesterday that I heard Dick Soffel and Rudy Gering on Trumpet and Bob Reed tickling the ivories in the Hamilton High School band.with Jack Hartman the band leader. My sister Dorothy was to have been in the class of '48 but the Glover finances were at the poverty level and she had to leave school and went to work at the Circle F Manufacturing Company in order to help with the family finances. 
I completely missed the recent class of 1947 reunion, and even though there is a very remote possibility that there is a Hamilton Hornet from that class or an adjacent class who is on the computer, I would be interested in posting a possible 65th on this website if indeed there will be one. Unless my math is faulty, these "kids" are now averaging 82 years young. How time has flown!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

1960: A MINI REUNION COMING UP IN OCTOBER 2012

Above is a "Photoshopped" 1960 yearbook which has the reunion committee superimposed. If it were my class of 1951 I would be able to identify each and every one in the photo. To any Hornets from that class, I'm sure you can to!
********
Below are the details of a "52.5" reunion to be held by the Class of 1960 at Hamilton High School Watson West. (Known to my generation as "Hamilton High."

Friday, June 01, 2012

http://smilebox.com/play/4d7a45344d6a51314e546b3d0d0a&blogview=true&campaign=blog_playback_link 


BEFORE YOU CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE, A WARNING:
1)  YOU MUST BE A REAL LOVER OF HAMILTON HIGH SCHOOL, ALSO KNOWN AS HAMILTON HIGH SCHOOL WEST WATSON OR WATSON WEST. REASON: IT HAS TAKEN ME HOURS AND HOURS TO COMPILE THIS INFORMATION AND INCORPORATE IT INTO A PUBLIC PRESENTATION. THERE ARE 400 HAMILTON HIGH SCHOOL DIGITAL GRAPHICS IN THE PRESENTATION, AND IT WILL TAKE A VERY LONG TIME TO VIEW THEM ALL. HOWEVER, TO SPEED THROUGH THE PROGRAM, PRESSING THE "  > "  ICON WILL ADVANCE IMMEDIATELY TO THE NEXT SLIDE, ETC. 
2)   YOU WILL NOTE THAT MANY OF THE PHOTOS ARE NEWS ARTICLES WHICH ARE TOO LARGE TO BE LEGIBLE. THIS IS UNFORTUNATE, BUT IT WILL GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF THE DEPTH OF THE HAMILTON LIBRARY'S HAMILTON HIGH LOCAL HISTORY DATABASE.
3)   DESPITE THE ABOVE DISADVANTAGE, MANY OF THE GRAPHICS ARE QUITE LEGIBLE. THOSE THAT ARE LEGIBLE MUST BE PAUSED IN ORDER TO READ THEM. CLICK ON THE PAUSE ICON TO READ IT COMPLETELY AND THEN CLICK THE PLAY ICON TO RESUME.
4)   AT THE VERY LOWER LEFT OF THE SCREEN, CLICK ON THE FULL SCREEN ICON TO ASSIST IN READING THE SMALL PRINT. REMEMBER TO HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON. IF YOU FORGET, CLICK ON THE " < " PREVIOUS SLIDE AND REPEAT THE SLIDE.
5)   THE MERE SIZE OF THIS DATABASE PRECLUDES THE POSSIBILITY OF PRESENTING THE GRAPHICS IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER. IT CAN BE DONE, BUT IT WOULD TAKE MANY HOURS. THEREFORE, CONSIDER THESE GRAPHICS AS RANDOM SUBJECTS. 
******
YOU WILL NOTE THAT THERE ARE NOT MANY POSTS AFTER THE EARLY 1960'S. THERE IS A REASON: AS ONE OF THE VERY FEW SENIOR CITIZENS WHO ARE SOMEWHAT COMPETENT IN ARCHIVING LOCAL HISTORY, I CONCENTRATED ON THE FIRST HALF CENTURY OF HHS, LEAVING THE  MORE RECENT YEARS TO SUCCEEDING GENERATIONS. 
TO ALL THOSE DYED IN THE WOOL HAMILTON HORNETS WHO TOOK THE TIME TO GO THROUGH THIS EXTENSIVE DATABASE, THANK YOU. SEND YOUR COMMENTS AT TGLOVER320@OPTIMUM.NET

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

2012: TOM GLOVER'S HHS THE GOLDEN YEARS



CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW AND TURN YOUR SOUND ON. THIS WAS HAMILTON HIGH'S "GOLDEN YEARS." BE SURE TO USE THE PAUSE (II) BUTTON TO READ THE TEXT. PRESS RESUME (")>" TO CONTINUE. FULL SCREEN IS IN THE VERY LOWER LEFT OF THE PRESENTATION.



Saturday, May 26, 2012

1950 - 1952: FROM "RETROSPICE" TO "RETROSPECT"

Over the years, a number of Hamilton High alumni have asked about the transition from the Latin "Retrospice" to the much more logical "Retrospect." As you might imagine, this website is a retrospective visit to our past. Some Hornet in the past was probably a 4 year Latin student who was on the yearbook committee, or perhaps a faculty member who had a mania for Latin, and wanted to save just a bit of his or her high school memories and voila! "Re tro spee che" instead of "Re tro spect."

Thursday, April 19, 2012

1952: ANOTHER HHS "CLASS WITH CLASS"

The late Shirley Sneath Benton was my next door neighbor. She and her brother, the late David Sneath were very close friends. After graduation, we went our separate ways and lost contact with each other for a number of years. Shirley's pretty daughter Nancy contacted me a number of months ago, and sent me this photo, recalling Shirley's 129 Hartley Avenue years. I assume this to be Mr. Bill Collis' Social Studies class, although I am only assuming. The above photo shows a young lady in the foreground wearing a plaid skirt. Shirley is in the 3rd seat, and Madeline Bencivengo the 4th. I had a flaming crush on Madeline, but alas, my lovely Madeline among many girls who made me a another example of "unrequited love." I hope that a member of the class will contact me and identify the rest of the students in the photo.
Incidentally, I will be the guest at the class of 1952's 60th reunion in October. Details will follow.

Monday, April 02, 2012

1962: HHS '62 ANNOUNCES THE 60th REUNION

I received an email from my old friend, Freddie Schulz asking that the fall 2012 reunion of HHS 1962 be posted
As usual, I am happy to act as a publicity source for local reunions. It is usually a moderately easy task to draw on my extensive collection of HHS graphics from my collection of Hamilton High memorabilia and ephemera.
This post will be re-posted as the event nears. As I age, I find that my memory is "long term" which allows me to remember 60 and 70 year old persons, places,and things. So Fred, having said that, I ask that you understand that I have been known to have a problem with "short term" memory and I know you will remind me, when you think you would like a re-posting of this page.

Friday, March 23, 2012

1951: LEE BELARDINO "OLD FRIENDS ARE THE BEST FRIENDS"

A THANK YOU NOTE FROM HHS 1945

Miss Louise Baird was the vocal music teacher at Hamilton High School. Among the countless things she taught us was the ability of music to raise the human spirit and elevate it to an incredibly wonderful experience; lifting the soul to unimaginable heights. This year, I will once again try to raise that spirit in the few music lovers who will come to Kuser Park for an afternoon of good old fashioned sing along music on the lawn in front of the beautiful Kuser Park Gazebo. The program I present is called "THE MUSIC WE GREW UP WITH." It's nice to sing along to songs that have understandable lyrics and ballads that bring back many sweet memories. Details to this free program will be forthcoming as the spring-summer season progresses. The graphic above came from a class of '45 Hornet who was on the committee for the HHS 1945 reunion. Over the years, I have presented the program to the Trenton High Class of 1942, Hamilton's class of 1942, Hamilton 1949, and perhaps more, but time seems to dim those memories. Misty eyes proliferated as we sang the songs that were popular during their high school years. The music brought back pleasant memories of that first dance, first girl or boy friend, and the songs that were on the "Big Top Ten" during those years. Music does indeed have a soul touching ability. It is one of the many gifts our Lord has bestowed upon mankind.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Notify me at tglover320@optimum.net for any upcoming reunions. (Not only HHS but all area reunions.) Also, if you learn of the death of any HHS alumni from any year. I will post information on their passing. Be sure to include the year of graduation when known. Also notify me with that fabled list of "MISSING CLASSMATES" that accompanies most reunion notices They will also be posted.

1951: HHS: "THE CLASS WITH CLASS"

Even though this column I wrote back in 1983 related to Hamilton High School, Kuser School and Kuser Annex played a major part in my 12 years of education. With all the humility I can muster, I think this is one of the best columns I have written for the newspaper over the past 30 years. As you will see as you read my "Odyssey," the part my fellow "Kuser Kats" played in my grammar and high school career reached a climax on the warm and rainy June night in 1951. Even in this year of 2009, I still feel a very close kinship with all my wonderful alumni from both Kuser and HHS.

Tom Glover’s

Hamilton High School Odyssey

************************

I drove by the place the other day. Something made me go around the block and drive by a second time. As I rounded the corner of Park Avenue and South Clinton, I decided to stop and take a closer look. I pulled over to the curb, parked, and for a minute or two, just stood on the sidewalk, closed my eyes and savored the moment.

One of my favorite movies of all time is the 20th Century Fox production of "Twelve O’clock High." You may remember the opening minutes of the film, as an aging Dean Jagger journeys back, alone in time, to the very spot where he spent a very memorable period of his life, with very memorable people. The background music, the prop wash from the B-17s readying themselves for another mission, the almost ethereal sound of male voices coming from out of the past in song:

Bless them all, bless them all The long and the short and the tall…”

Dean Jagger was on a nostalgia trip; a mental journey, if you will, into the past. Such a journey may be taken by anyone who has pleasant memories, just sitting there; awaiting recall. As I stood in front of Hamilton High School, thinking about "Twelve O’clock High," I became aware of the warm spring breezes rustling through those familiar Sycamore trees on the front lawn of Hamilton High School. I took a seat on the settee at the base of the equally familiar Hamilton High flagpole. My thoughts of the movie vanished, and were replaced by pangs of bittersweet nostalgia ... sort of a melancholy feeling that I had been here before ... right here, on this settee ... with a lovely girl ... the girl I would ultimately fall in love with and marry. It was spring. It was 1951. I was a senior at Hamilton High.

A strange, almost supernatural sound came to my ears as the breezes whispered through the trees. "Good morning... Hamilton High School ... Yes, this is Miss Gropp. Yes, Mr. Hesser is in ... he's in a meeting. Mr. Coursen? Yes, one moment please.

Six or seven cream-colored Trenton Transit buses pull up to the curb; their doors open and busloads of 1950's type teenagers jump to the sidewalk. Over on the Park Avenue side, Joe Layton pulls up with the "Blue Goose"... repeat­ing the same ritual his competitor is doing on South Clinton Avenue. The "Blue Goose!" What a bus ...beautiful velour seats, a roof-top luggage rack ...a remnant of the depression. Still another Layton bus pulls to the curb. It's "Red." He does have a last name, but we don't know it; all we know is he is a nice guy. He still doesn't have any teeth, he still needs a shave, and his cigarette has a one inch ash hanging from it. How vivid everything is in my mind!

"Richard, Did you read chapter two of "David Copperfield?" "Yes, Miss Cornwell."

"If you read it, Richard, which is highly doubtful, I would think you would have gotten at least one question correct."

"Yes, m’aam," came the plaintive reply.

I pass Miss Cornwell's English class...pausing at the entrance way to Mr. Bird's history class: "Listen, you birds, tomorrow we will have a quiz on chapter 14. Be sure you study."

"Mr. Bird, these shoes are too small."

"It doesn't matter. I can get you any size you want."

"OK. Get me 8-D's in brown." Mr. Bird is moonlights as a shoe salesman for Mason Shoe Company.

As if on a magic carpet, I am standing outside the Park Avenue door of Hamilton High. It's a very cold winter day; too cold to go out past the third telephone pole for a cigarette. I have one cupped in my right hand; my hand is in my pocket.

"Thomas, put that cigarette out and come with me." It's Wendell Phillips. One of his assignments as a teacher is to police the "first," "second," and "third" lunch periods for those of us who choose to break the rules of the school. Mr. Phillips is a small, slight, man. He is very soft-spoken, and at the same time, a strict disciplinarian. He wears rimless glasses, and is impeccably dressed. He has a super white, stiffly-starched white shirt, and shoes so shiny, one's reflection can be seen. His uncanny ability as a faculty detective con­stantly takes us by surprise. He leads me into the office, and matter-of-factly tells Mr. Miss Gropp to write me up for "five hours" of detention. Detention; How we despise it! We miss the bus, and it's a long walk home; especially in the rainy weather.

And now I'm out in the athletic field. It's Friday afternoon, and the end of another week. Don Devine, Kip Breese, and Joe Bartlett are super­vising intramural sports. We're playing softball. My team is batting ...I'm up. At home, when we play softball at Plaag's Grove, I smack the ball a country mile. Why is it when I'm playing high school sports, I can't get a hit? For that matter, I can't field either. I don't understand. I'm fac­ing Buddy Rick. Rick is good at all sports. He looks in at Art Perry and winks…..a windup, a sting­ing underarm fastball….. another….. then a third. I'm called out on the third strike...I'm embar­rassed. I didn't even swing at one of them. I'm such a wimp!

Gene Grauer's up next. As I hand him the bat, I hear somebody say something about a barn and a snow shovel. I mumble something about a sore shoulder. I have to have some kind of excuse ...I mean ...three straight strikes...not only that they all saw me miss that fly ball out in right field ...hell, I would have one-handed that if we were playing over at Plaag's Grove...how come? I'm confused.

Now I'm off the athletic field. I seem to be in a shop ...yes..."Hamilton Job Press"...print shop! Who's the teacher?..."Remember boys, FFI and FFL are called ligatures. They are next to each other in the California Job Case. You must learn where each and every letter is stored. Spaces are called "quads "...there are "em" quads and "en" quads.

That Charles Dickens accent! It can only be "Pop" Mitchell ...It is! He sits at his desk with a green celluloid visor over his forehead. It contrasts with what is left of his silver hair. He stops his dis­course on ligatures long enough to rebuke one of his talkative students:

"Mr. Wilson! I shall recite a poem just for you. You would do well to listen to every word. I shall be happy to explain it should you not understand the meaning. Are you ready?

Charlie Wilson is a happy-go-lucky guy. He likes Pop, and Pop likes him. Charlie is a good print shop student. He tells Pop he is ready. "Very well, here it is:

A WISE OLD OWL LIVED IN AN OAK.

THE MORE HE SAW, THE LESS HE SPOKE.

THE LESS HE SPOKE, THE MORE HE HEARD.

WHY CAN'T WE BE LIKE THAT OLD BIRD?

Do you understand the poem, Mr. Wilson?" "Yeah, I do, Mr. Mitchell."

"Very well, if you try to be like that old bird you will have very little trouble understanding ligatures. FFI, FFL..."

The voice trails off, along with the hum of the Hamilton Job Presses. And suddenly, I'm seated in the third row, front section of the Hamilton High School auditorium. It's operetta time. We're hav­ing rehearsals for the 1951 production of "Tulip Time". Louise Baird is playing the piano, accom­panying Bill Baggott. Bill's lovely tenor voice obviously pleases Miss Baird as she plays the piano with a smile of satisfaction. Bill's solo ends and the chorus called to the stage. For the umpteenth time we will go over the one song which seems to need work.

"All right, choir, listen to me." It's Miss Louise Baird. Petite is stature, but with the uncanny ability to demand, and get, attention, and then perfection. "The last time we did this song, some of you basses were growling around off pitch. Was it you, Keith Kauffman?"

"No Miss Baird, it was probably Clark Perry." Clark is a tenor. We laugh at Keith's always­ present sense of humor.

Miss Baird's glasses are tilted on the top of her head, aviator style, as she calls Saundra Smith in to provide the accompaniment. Miss Baird takes up a position at the front of the stage so she can hear the offending voice, or voices. She taps her pencil for attention, and Sandy begins to play. We wait for the introduction, which by now is more familiar than out national anthem, then we sing:

“..TULIP TIME IN HOLLAND IS A TIME FOR MERRY FUN.

MARKET PLACE IS CROWDED, AND THE JOY HAS JUST BEGUN,

WE ARE HERE TO CELEBRATE, AND WHEN THE DAY IS DONE,

WE WILL NOT FORGET THE HAPPY HOURS...”

Again, the voices fade, and just as suddenly, I'm out of the auditorium. It's a warm June night. School will soon end. It's the last canteen of the year. It's such a delightful evening; almost as if God mandated soft moonlight, rustling leaves, and the heady smell of romance.

"Let's go outside and get some air, Jude."

We hold hands and walk out into the delightful spring evening. I can't explain the vibrant elec­tricity I feel between my hand and hers. I wonder to myself if I'm trembling. She looks fresh and clean as the spring. I'm in love. We face each other ...holding each other's hand. We look at each other and wonder at the strange and beautiful happening. I kiss her. She's soft and fresh, and beautiful. She is becoming a woman ...I'm becom­ing a man.

And now there's a clap of thunder, followed by a brilliant flash of lightning. It's still June, but it's our big day. Graduation! My brother drops me off at the side entrance to the War Memorial Building. Many of the guys are standing on the sidewalk. All of us feign confidence and com­posure. Inside, we're all experiencing butterflies. I walk up to Larry McGlynn. "Hi Stony ! ... `be glad when this is over, won't you?" Joe Kasian saunters over; always ready with that smile. Geez! I've gone through 12 years of school with Joe; from kindergarten to senior. I've grown up with him ...and George Morley, Joan Tart, Karen Peterson, Shirley VanMarter, Charlotte Wilson, Ronnie Tarr, Tony Gies, Elaine Globus, Jess Anderson, Don Slabicki…..all those "Kuser Kids"...I silen­tly wonder to myself if I'll ever see them again after tonight. What an unsettling thought. There's uneasiness about this graduation business. The lightning flashes and it rains….hard. We rush for the protective shelter of the huge awning at the side of the War Memorial. My Uncle Charlie Gaudette comes out in his short sleeves and unlocks the doors. He's the superintendent here, and I'm kinda proud that my uncle has such an important position.

"Hi ya Tommy…. 'Ya all ready for the big night? Tell your Mom and Pop we'll be over Saturday". Almost as an afterthought, he reaches into his wallet and hands me a five dollar bill ...then wishes me well.

And suddenly, we're all on the huge War Memorial building stage. We're sitting on bleachers. The kids in the back row are way up there ...I mean way up...near the roof. The pro­gram begins. A minister delivers a stirring invocation. Reverend John Oman delivers a short, relevant prayer. The minutes tick away. Feet rustle and throats clear, more out of nervousness than necessity. On cue, the choir takes a place in the front of the graduates, center stage. We look down beyond the footlights and see the friendly and familiar face of Miss Baird, as she begins to lead us in song ...her smile is reassuring:

Our harmony is superb. All of a sudden, I realize the beauty of these lyrics. We've been singing this song for 3 years, and I never understood the full beauty of the thing.

“Now the day is over, night is drawing nigh,

Shadows of the evening, steal across the sky.

Jesus gives the weary, calm and sweet repose,

With thy tenderest blessing, may my eyelids close..”

As I ponder the lyrics, I am strangely choked up; my eyes are glistening ...the end is in view. I cast a furtive glance at some classmates...am I the only one with this intense emotional feeling? There's Judy Britton, Shirley Whiteb­read, Phyllis Booz, Joan Delowise, Karen Peter­son, Charlotte Wilson...all crying. Most of the girls are crying ...what about the guys? ...Geez! I have this lump in my throat ...I feel the tears welling up to overflowing. The song ends. Miss Baird looks up at us, a smile of complete satisfaction on her face. She nods and silently sounds the word "good". We assume our places with the graduates. My nose is running ...I need a tissue, and don't have one. Who would have thought I would have needed one? ...I sniff and swallow.

And now, Mr. Hesser is presenting the class to Mr. Howard D. Morrison. We're on our way! They're handing out the diplomas. The applause, as each name is called, seems to emphasize the popularity, or lack thereof, of the recipient. And suddenly, they're all distributed ...there are no more ...this is the end. Twelve years of school ..this is really the end! Am I glad or am I sad? Mr. Morrison speaks the final words:

"And so, to the class of Hamilton High School, 1951, good luck, and may God Bless each and every one of you."

Suddenly the scene changes. I'm out of the War Memorial. It's September ...I don't know what year...yes I do...it's 1983...a school bus rumbles up to the curb on the Park Avenue side of Hamilton High School. Now they call it "Hamilton High School West". Here comes another bus, and another. They're not Trenton Transit ...not Joe Layton...they're all bright yellow and black. 1983-­type school kids hop, skip, and jump to the curb and head toward those familiar old doorways. I'm standing in their midst but they don't seem to see me. Strange! How I envy them! I remember Vic­tor Herbert's song, "Toyland"...how does it go...let's see...

"Toyland, toyland, dear little girl and boy land,

While you are within it, you are ever happy there,

Childhood joy land, dear little girl and boy land,

Once you've passed its portals, you may never return again..."

How true! Look at those Freshmen! Four years of high school still ahead of them! Oh, please enjoy it...Learn! Live every golden minute of it...someone please tell them it's all over so soon ...it ends so fast!

The bell rings; a bell much louder than the bell we had, and they are all in class. The breeze rus­tles through the trees, and ethereal voices, clear and bell-like, echo through the grand old building and a song mingles with the rustle of those big Hamilton High Sycamore trees….

“The New Years Eve, we did the town, the day we tore the goal post down,

We will have these moments to remember.

The quiet walks, the noisy fun,the ballroom prize we almost won,

We will have these moments to remember..."

Saturday, March 03, 2012

2012: HAMILTON HIGH CLASS OF 1951 TO CELEBRATE 60TH


ABOVE IS THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE 60TH REUNION OF THE HAMILTON HIGH SCHOOL'S CLASS OF 1951.SENSIBLY, IT WILL BE A LUNCHEON AT BEAUTIFUL MERCER OAKS OVER ON VILLAGE ROAD WEST IN PRINCETON JUNCTION.
SPEAKING OF HIGH SCHOOL REUNIONS, THE POEM BELOW IS A CLASSIC AND UNCANNILY TRUE REPRESENTATION OF REUNIONS FROM THE FIRST 5 WHEN WE ARE ALL YOUNG AND BEAUTIFUL TO THE LAST WHEN WE ARE SADLY CLOSING IN ON ETERNITY. AS A MEMBER OF THE CLASS OF 1951 AT HAMILTON, "THE CLASS WITH CLASS," I PROUDLY AFFIRM THAT I AM A CARD-CARRYING MEMBER OF THE RESIDENTS OF WHAT I LOVINGLY REFER TO AS "WRINKLE CITY." WE EARNED EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THOSE WRINKLES! I GOTTA GO NOW ....Uhhhh. I FORGET WHY......WAIT, IT WILL COME TO ME.....Hmmmm.....MUST BE THAT DAMN SENILITY THING I HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT OVER THE YEARS.

This poem is a classic! It should be read aloud at every high school reunion:

Every ten years as summertime nears,
An announcement arrives in the mail,
A reunion is planned; it'll be really grand;
Make plans to attend without fail.

I'll never forget the first time we met;
We tried so hard to impress.
We drove fancy cars, smoked big cigars,
And wore our most elegant dress.

It was quite an affair; the whole class was there.
It was held at a fancy hotel.
We wined, and we dined, and we acted refined,
And everyone thought it was swell.

The men all conversed about who had been first
To achieve great fortune and fame.
Meanwhile, their spouses described their fine houses
And how beautiful their children became.

The homecoming queen, who once had been lean,
Now weighed in at one-ninety-six.
The jocks who were there had all lost their hair,
And the cheerleaders could no longer do kicks.


No one had heard about the class nerd
Who'd guided a spacecraft to the moon;
Or poor little Jane, who's always been plain;
She married a shipping tycoon.

The boy we'd decreed 'most apt to succeed'
Was serving ten years in the pen,
While the one voted 'least' now was a priest;
Just shows you can be wrong now and then.

They awarded a prize to one of the guys
Who seemed to have aged the least.
Another was given to the grad who had driven
The farthest to attend the feast.

They took a class picture, a curious mixture
Of beehives, crew cuts and wide ties.
Tall, short, or skinny, the style was the mini;
You never saw so many thighs..

At our next get-together, no one cared whether
They impressed their classmates or not.
The mood was informal, a whole lot more normal;
By this time we'd all gone to pot.

It was held out-of-doors, at the lake shores;
We ate hamburgers, coleslaw, and beans..
Then most of us lay around in the shade,
In our comfortable T-shirts and jeans.

By the fiftieth year, it was abundantly clear,
We were definitely over the hill.
Those who weren't dead had to crawl out of bed,
And be home in time for their pill.

And now I can't wait; they've set the date;
Our 55th is coming, I'm told.
It should be a ball, they've rented a hall
At the Shady Rest Home for the old.

Repairs have been made on my hearing aid;
My pacemaker's been turned up on high.
My wheelchair is oiled, and my teeth have been boiled;
And I've bought a new wig and glass eye.

I'm feeling quite hearty, and I'm ready to party
I'm gonna dance 'til dawn's early light.
It'll be lots of fun; But I just hope that there's one
Other person who can make it that night.

Author Unknown

************
FROM ED MILLERICK:
Well Tom, the first comment about "closing on eternity", brought a bit of a tear since I am not that far behind. But, the tear was quickly replaced with a smile when I read that delightful poem. And the author was?

Ed Millerick

Saturday, November 19, 2011

***********
SORRY I NEGLECTED TO LIST THE AUTHOR AS ANONYMOUS, ED. HE OR SHE SURE IS A SPECIAL TALENTED POET.
TOM GLOVER
Anonymous Lee said...

Tom
That poem rings true. 60 years.Lots of water under the bridge. Never made any of the reunions. either was overseas or out of state like I am now. Love to see the the old "wrinkled crowd.By the way I see that one of the commitee members is named Mueller. does she have a sister named Edith?
Just wondering.

Lee