ReCommencement: A Tribute to the CSHS Class of ’78, on the Occasion of our 35th ReUnion

Back in October, Members of the Cardinal Spellman High School Class of ’78 enjoyed our 35th High School Reunion.
Reconnecting with all of these Wonderful People inspired me to write the following piece.
It is lengthy, and in that sense, not a typical Blog Post.
If you are so inclined, you are Welcome to read it.
If you are of this Generation, you may find it of interest.
If not, please feel free to skip this posting.
But if you have a Reunion coming up, do, by all means, attend.
It is Fun to reconnect with all of which you are a part, and all that is a part of you…
 
The Spirit of this piece seemed appropriate for the ending of one year and the Beginning of a New Year, filled with the Promise of Amazing Magical Things…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
HAPPY SIXTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS!

ReCommencement

A Tribute to the CSHS Class of ’78, on the Occasion of our 35th ReUnion

By Arnold J. Mungioli

It was an Extraordinary time
For a Generation without a Name…
Born into a Modern Age – We had Touch Tone Telephones, Kodak Film, and Color TV!
Calculators were getting popular, but we did not use them.
Our Freshman Year, there was a purple-ink mimeograph machine in the History Department Office
that certain students were allowed to use.
By Senior Year, we had a Photocopy Machine. We called it a Xerox.

Later that year the YANKEES would beat the DODGERS in the 75th World Series.
REGGIE JACKSON was our hero.
A-Rod was 3 years old

ANNIE HALL had won Best Picture at the 50th Annual Academy Awards
TED BUNDY was captured and SON OF SAM was sentenced to 365 years in prison.

Charon, a satellite of Pluto was discovered
Pluto was a planet.

FLEETWOOD MAC…
DIANA ROSS…
MEAT LOAF…
CHER…

Vietnam attacks Cambodia
Though it had been declared that the Vietnam War had officially ended three years earlier
with the Fall of Saigon.
A predecessor to “Mission Accomplished”
We are still feeling the effects.
Of course, back in those days, the Coffins of those who served and died in Battle
were allowed to be shown on Television.

The Camp David Accords are signed between Israel and Egypt.
ANWAR SADAT and MENACHEM BEGIN receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Pope John Paul I, with his progressive liberal policies, mysteriously dies after only 33 days of papacy
HARVEY MILK is assassinated.
SEAN PENN turns 18 years old.

KATIE HOLMES, KOBE BRYANT, and ASHTON KUTCHER are born.
EDGAR BERGEN, LOUIS PRIMA, and GOLDA MEIR die.
NELSON MANDELA, is serving time as a prisoner on Robben Island.

Later that year — the minting of the SUSAN B. ANTHONY Dollar Coin,
the First US Currency in history that would honor a Woman.

THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW, HAPPY DAYS, and LAVERNE & SHIRLEY…
That Amazing CBS Saturday Night Line-up:
ALL IN THE FAMILY
MASH
THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW
THE BOB NEWHART SHOW

There was no “THAT SEVENTIES SHOW”
They were ALL That Seventies Shows!
And if you wanted to see them, you had to stay home on a Saturday Night.

Disco is In but Rock is not Out.

THE EAGLES’ “Hotel California”
KANSAS releases their Live Album, “Two for the Show”

DONNA SUMMER’s “I Feel Love” is topping the charts.
“Last Dance” is still twelve years away.
DEBBIE BOONE’s “You Light Up My Life” is the most successful single of the decade.
Her Cousin, 17 year old GEORGE CLOONEY, an unknown, makes his
television debut in something no one remembers.
BARRY MANILOW’s “Copacabana” is played on Prom Night.

PINK FLOYD…
THE GRATEFUL DEAD…
THE BEE GEES…

…And THE DEFRANCO FAMILY
…And THE ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA

…All on Radio and Vinyl.
Music Videos had not gone mainstream and it would be another three years before the launch of MTV
with THE BUGGLES’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.”

Posters of DAVID CASSIDY, BOBBY SHERMAN, BILLY DEE WILLIAMS, and DONNY OSMOND were hung
on bedroom walls.

THE BAY CITY ROLLERS’ fifteen minutes had ended.
THE JACKSON FIVE’s Youngest Brother, MICHAEL was about to begin work
on his first hit solo album, “Off The Wall”…
FREDDIE PRINZE was already dead.
SuperStar ANDY GIBB would be with us only another ten years.
RON O’NEAL was SUPER FLY

SUZANNE SOMERS was the Blonde in the ThunderBird
LINDSAY WAGNER was THE BIONIC WOMAN
PAM GRIER was FOXY BROWN
And FARAH FAWCETT defined Women’s Hairstyles.

DALLAS (The original one) premieres on television.
Homes standardly have televisions… one.

The Supreme Court rules that Pension Plans cannot require Women to pay more.
EDITH WINDSOR and THEA SPYER are together just over ten years,
living a quiet life, thirty-five years before their relationship will lead to
securing Equal Rights in the Supreme Court’s 2013 Ruling against DOMA…
SONIA SOTOMAYOR had graduated two years before we arrived as Freshman.
By the time we graduate, she is already at Yale Law School on her way to
making History.
And she would serve on the Court which would rule in favor of EDITH WINDSOR,
Striking down the so-called “Defense of Marriage” Act.
(Historical Note: The Defense of Marriage Act was authored by three men
            who have seven marriages among them.)

O J SIMPSON is a star FootBall Player, holding the record for the single season
yards per game average, still unsurpassed,
and has just been traded to the San Francisco 49ers.

The first Spam is sent: a Digital Equipment Corporation marketing representative sends an unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail to every address of ARPANET (progenitor of what would become the global internet) on the West Coast.
We are only vaguely aware of Computers.
All of our Assignments have been written by hand,
Or occasionally typed on a typewriter.
MRS. ZIMNEY attempts to teach us about computers,
Sketching out the run of a DOS program on a BlackBoard.
We are a little lost.
Perhaps this computer thing will be only a passing trend, like the 8-Track…

Postage for a First Class Letter vaults from 13 cents to 15 cents.
A cup of Coffee costs 15 cents.
And to think how we rolled our eyes at our parents when they told us
what things cost when they were kids.

The price of a Gallon of Gas was 62 cents.
It had doubled since the first Oil Crisis in 1973, and would double again within the next three years.
EXXON had not begun the price gouging and record profits of five million dollars per hour
that have become its signature

The Mormon Church strikes down a 148 year old policy of excluding Black Men from the Priesthood.
Aren’t they progressive!
TREY PARKER is Nine Years Old.
MATT STONE is Seven.

The Movie GREASE is released starring a 24 year old JOHN TRAVOLTA.
THE BEATLES have been gone for 8 years.
PAUL MCCARTNEY’s WINGS releases its first retrospective album.

ABBA…
STEELY DAN…
EARTH WIND AND FIRE…

We play Albums.
On Record Players.
These Record Players have an outdated setting for 78 revolutions per minute.
Most of us don’t even own any 78’s.
We are the 33 and 1/3 rpm Generation.
We are Cool!

The Supreme Court rules 5 to 4 upholding the FCC ‘s right to reprimand NY radio station WBAI
for broadcasting George Carlin’s “Filthy Words.”
The Seven Dirty Words you Could Not Say on Television are:
Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits.
And in those days, you actually could not say them on television.
We had seven stations: 2,4, and 7 were the main Networks
9, 5, and 11 were local stations.
Channel 13 was Public Television.
…and sometimes Channel 21… sorta’kinda’…
And that was it.
We read Books.
We played outdoors.
We went to PIZZA BEAT on Central Avenue
Or THE GROUND ROUND
Or sometimes just down to the BAYCHESTER DINER,
We conversed
Face to Face
And Looking into One Another’s Eyes
Taking such interactions for Granted,
And never realizing that this could become a Lost Art to Future Generations.

Flip-Flops are worn, but only at the Beach.
There is no requirement to wear seatbelts.

We have no Anti-Bacterial Soap.
No Ziploc Bags.
No StarBucks.

BRUCE JENNER is an Olympic Gold Medal Winning, World Record Breaking Athlete of Seeming Integrity.
KIM KARDASHIAN wasn’t born yet.
Neither was SNOOKI.
…The World was a Better Place.

ABC premieres WORLD NEWS TONIGHT with a fresh-faced Canadian Journalist named PETER JENNINGS.
BOB DYLAN is booed off the stage at the Newport Folk Festival for playing on an Electric Guitar.
JIMMY CONNORS is the Biggest Name in Tennis.
MUHAMMAD ALI beats LEON SPINKS in 15 for the Heavyweight Boxing Title.
His identity under his born name, CASSIUS CLAY, is still a recent memory.
It would be another 20 years before SPORTS ILLUSTRATED would declare him “Sportsman of the Century.”

STEVE TYLER, Lead Singer of AEROSMITH is injured in Philadelphia when a fan tosses
a Cherry Bomb onstage.
STEVE’s Father, VINCE TALLARICO, is our Beloved Music Teacher.

LAUREL & HARDY in MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS is broadcast Every ThanksGiving Morning.
THE WIZARD OF OZ is broadcast every ThanksGiving Night.
And if you miss ‘em, you have to wait another year to see them again.
There is No On Demand.
We learn to Do Without.

DIFF’RENT STROKES premieres on NBC with a ten year old GARY COLEMAN.
CHRISTOPHER REEVE is SUPERMAN, and he seems Invincible.
BRAD DAVIS stars in MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, thirteen years before he would die of AIDS.
The AIDS Crisis was brewing in the shadow of our Innocence.
Who would have guessed that several of our own would Lose their Lives in this way…
Or that in the years after Graduation, our Sexual Coming of Age would transpire
against a BackDrop of this Grave Magnitude.

STAR WARS was released the previous year, and it would be another four years before its first sequel.
JOHN BELUSHI stars in NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE.
And THE DEER HUNTER wins Best Picture

Syria engages in conflicts with Lebanon and Palestine.
We are largely unaware of such things.

Meanwhile, at 1991 Needham Avenue in the Bronx…

I was Class President
MISS COOKE, along with the Late BOB POVEROMO, was the Moderator of Student Government.
She told me that I was not their preferred candidate to win.
Sorry, MISS COOKE.

We were Children
Born into the EISENHOWER KENNEDY Era
We were Living the American Dream
NIXON seemed an aberration.
JIMMY CARTER was President.
We Graduated.
Ready to take on the World.

Two years later,
The REAGAN-BUSH Era would officially Begin.
We would be in College
Living the aforesaid American Dream
For which our Parents and Grandparents had sacrificed So Much
While lurking in the Shadows was a Neo-Conservative Movement, repudiating the “Lessons of Vietnam,”
and embracing what they call the “Lessons of Munich” which extol the virtues of
Preemptive Military Action.

Our History Teachers imparted that Americans had never gone to war under a Republican President.
It seemed so much safer.
Sure.
And “Tea Party” sounds so much nicer than “Mob of Racists and Homophobes.”

There was a Chess Club, a Stamp Club, a Math Club, and a Band.
There was a Sign Language Club, an Auto Club, a Ski Club, and an Afro-American Club
of which I was a proud Member.
There was a Photography Club, a Karate Team, a Guitar Club and a Liturgical Guitar Club.
TFL, a PIUS X Guild, The Works, Vaya, The Emerald Society, The Drill Team, Student Government,
Cardinal’s Players, Countless Sports
And an ITV Club for those with a Cutting Edge Technological Bent…

In only two more years, SONY would introduce the Walkman Radio.

PAT SAUER is making English Magic.
DENNIS MAIKA is making Intelligence Sexy Again.
GUY PACE has inspired our Creativity.
ANNE GEVLIN and BOB BAISLEY are providing the Loving but Firm discipline every teenager needs to bridge over to a healthy adulthood… They do this while still seeming like our Friends and Kinda’ Great People…
They practice what would grow to be a Lost Art.

We had a new Principal Senior Year, The Reverend WILLIAM T. WHITE, who came to us from Stepinac.
There he had met a student, KEVIN MAHONEY, who in 1998 would settle with the Archdiocese of New York
regarding his claims that WHITE sexually abused him.
The Archdiocese paid $100,000 in an attempt to end the matter quietly.
We had no idea this had gone on.
Most of us had no idea of the extent of the Scandal in the Catholic Church
Or how big it would grow.
And the Catholic Church had no idea how disappointed we would be
In how they would handle it.
What would JESUS Do?

The Photo Lab shelves were stocked with Yellow Boxes of Kodak Film
We didn’t carry cameras in our phones.
We didn’t carry phones.

We spelled “You” Y-O-U.
“Okay” was lengthened into “Okie Dokie.”
“To” was  T-O or T-O-O or T-W-O.
Conversations didn’t happen in Letters
CU
U2
K
Imagine if SR. VERONICA LEIGY were still teaching today.

We were the Last of the Baby Boomers
On the Cusp of Something New
It wasn’t until some years later The New York Times would specify the Baby Boomer Generation as a term
referring to those born between 1946 and 1960, in the Baby Boom after World War II.
We were born the Very Last of that Generation.
But what would be Next?
Who were we?
Our Lives would Define that.

And they had already begun to do so.
There had been The GI Generation in the Early 1900’s
And The Hard-Timers
The Good Warriors
The Silent Generation
TOM BROKAW’s Greatest Generation
Then The Baby Boomers, 1946-1960
And since then
The Hippie Generation
The Me Generation
The Baby Busters
Millennials
New-Boomers
Generations X, Y and Z
The i-Generation

Depending what you Read, the Group that followed us,
Generation X or The Baby Busters, begins in 1965…
And The Baby Boomers had ended by 1960…

So, here we are
A Generation without a Name
In this Limbo
Defining Ourselves

And together, we found our way to become
The Class of “78

We had Family Dynasties: Lynches and Nankos and Morleys and Alvarez’…
One Student kicked a Candy Machine.
The administration got word that it was that Kid with a particular Last Name.
They went to his Brother, mistakenly, and told him that he would be expelled
and transferred to another school.
Protecting his brother, he quietly accepted the transfer to CARDINAL HAYES.
And never said that it was not he who did it.

There was the Editor of THE PILOT, who wrote an Article deemed Controversial
For which she was called into the Principal’s Office and berated.
But she had the Courage to stand her Ground.

There was the Girl expelled for Drug use.
She was a Good Kid.
She told me when she left, she would really miss the people here.

There was the Girl who thought she could fly.
And she went to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
And she did.

There was the Guy who believed he could make a Theater Company out of Nothing, and He Did.
And it still stands.

There was the Girl who believed she could become a Minister –
and though she had to leave the Catholic Church to do so,
She did it.

There are Bankers and Doctors and Nurses and Editors-in-Chief.
There are Lawyers, Artists, and Sports-Enthusiasts.
There are Parents, and though it hardly seems possible, Grandparents…
Loving Mothers and Proud Fathers…
There are People of Color, and Gay and Straight People,
People of So Many Spiritual and Religious Convictions,
Married and Divorced,
Single and Partnered,
Democrats, Liberals, Republicans, Independents, Working Families Party Members…
If you added up the Miles all of us have travelled in our Lifetimes from 1991 Needham Avenue
over this past 35 years, no doubt you would circle the Globe many times over.
And the number of Lives we’ve touched…
The Words said
The Joys and Sorrows and Wonderment of a Generation…
A Generation without a Given Name
A Generation Still Making a Name for Itself
35 Years Later
Now In our Fifties
Done with our Survival Dance
We Embrace our Sacred Dance
Here in this Second Half of Life
We shall Make Our Mark
Both Individually and as a Community.
We have already Begun

And while it may take us a LifeTime,
All we have been through and all we have accomplished thus far
has only served to prepare us for what lies ahead
In 1978, we were Ready
In 2014, we are Game
With Life Lessons Learned,
We are Eager and Willing and Raring to Go
To Learn More
To Do Better
And to Leave a Better World Behind

With a set of Values rather Old Fashioned
And a Set of Strengths heretofore unknown
And a Dash of Wisdom Those Coming up behind us have not yet earned
We are the Children of the Sixties.
We don’t agree on Everything
But we are People of Faith
And we Believe in a World of Diversity and Possibility and that
GOD’s Love is For ALL People, NO EXCEPTIONS
And while we’re still around, we’re gonna’ have some FUN!
And although the Annals of History may not designate us separately
History shall Benefit from our Having Been here
And Being Nurtured by Time and One Another…

And World,
You have not heard the Last of Us…
You may have left us Unnamed,
But You may see One Day in the Future
That we have succeeded in Defining Ourselves
And Redefining You.

#  #  #

Leave a comment

4 Comments

  1. Rochelle

     /  January 1, 2014

    I’ve missed you! and this is why…

    Reply
  2. Ronnie Bromm O'Rourke

     /  January 2, 2014

    Thanks for the memories, what?

    Reply

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