Upper Merion High School
45th Class Reunion for the Class of 1969

Viking

On Saturday, October 11, 2014 the Upper Merion High School class of 1969 kicked up their heels to celebrate the class's 45th reunion at the Greco Roman restaurant in Norristown, Pennsylvania!

 

                     
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Kay Weiss sent out a survey to all classmates that could be contacted prior to the 45th Class Reunion.

The Survey Says.....

Upper Merion Class Reunion Oct 11, 2014 Survey Commentary delivered by Jean Godsall-Myers


Good evening. Thanks to those of you who were kind enough, patient enough to send in your survey. The sense of our class gleaned from those replies is, well... interesting, to say the least. Let me start with the easy stuff:


Residence:
CA CT FL GA KS MA MI MO NJ NY PA SC USVI - with most respondents in PA
We have lived in: CA CT MA MI NH NY OH PA VT - and minimally also England and Germany.
Many more of us own our homes than rent.

Family:
Most of us have been married once. About half of us have been married or in a significant relationship twice. A couple of us have done even more than that.

Almost all of us have children.
Many of us have grandkids, with one of us having the largest number: 11!
One of us reported having 6 great-grandkids. Go for it!

Education:
Our education beyond Upper Merion has included many associate & bachelors' degrees, about half of those went on to get a Master's degree, and there is a sprinkling of the third degree among the certification alphabet soup: JD, MD, PhD. , PMP, PMI-ACP, ALCM. One classmate offered being trained by his spouse pretty successfully. Another offered training in physical therapy- how many of us would like a spouse to offer us more physical therapy on a different level is a subject not surveyed.

Employment:
Our employment varies quite a bit: doctors, lawyers and
administrative assistant, director / manager in industry, finance world, real estate, academics, health care, media, public service, social work, home-maker, engineer, novelist, marketing, legal system, publishing world, police/security force, and the IT world. At least one of us is out of the work force with a disability. Several of us have switched careers entirely, even more than once.
Our dream jobs include: doing it now, novelist, flight attendant, librarian, and working for Dream Works. And simply retirement.

Speaking of which: one of us retired already in '06, one in 2013, two will retire in 2016, two in 2017, several 2018-22, and two of us expressed: we have no idea when we will retire. One of us will retire when hell freezes over. More of us plan to move when we retire than not.

We volunteer: for children's services and social services, in soup kitchens, for the Elks and Boy Scouts, for teen pregnancy, AIDS, mental health, hospice, church, the Community Chest, Special Olympics, in pet school and community gardens.

Entertainment:
We enjoy reading:
Janet Evanovich's series: Stephanie Plum,
Parker Field by Howard Owen
Mornings on horseback by Teddy Roosevelt
Just pulp stuff
A Breath of Snow and Ashes
Sweetness #9
The Goldfinch
The Culture Clash
Zero History by Gibson
Secret Life of Bees
Poisonwood Bible
Outlander Series
A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
Discipline and Punish by Michel Foucault
Outliers
The Beach House

Our commitment to music is varied: we play the piano, viola, flute, guitar, clarinet, bass guitar, sax, and banjo. At least one of us quips we should be glad that that class member doesn't sing, but otherwise: one of us sings in a rock band, and several of us sing in church, school, and university choirs. As for listening pleasure, we have attended concerts by
Rebe McIntyre
The Wailing Jennies
Beethoven
Cosby, Stills, and Nash
Melissa Etheridge
Neil Young
Cher
Cindy Lauper
Bacon Brothers
Temptations
Moody Blues and
local choral groups performing classical, sacred, as well as contemporary music. And of course most of us have attended the choirs of our children and grandchildren, to say nothing of dance recitals- ah the pitter patter of little feet!

Our negotiating with modern media finds us feeling most comfortable with TV and email. Many of us do facebook (how do you spell: finding out what your kids are up to?). Far fewer do twitter. One classmate added instagram, another added linked-in.

Do we shop till we drop? Well, apparently yes, more than one of us. But otherwise, the trend is clearly favoring second hand shops and ordering things online- take that, King of Prussia Mall!

"Root root for the home team" could hardly be the mantra of the Class of '69. We do root for the Phillies, Eagles and Flyers, but the scope extends to the Tampa Bay Rays, the NY Yankees, Washington Redskins, Atlanta Braves, St Louis Cardinals, Nittany Lions, USC Trojans, Michigan Wolverines, and the Boston Red Sox.

We nurture our hobbies: sailing, fine wood working, collecting nutcrackers, geneology, needlework and crocheting, reading, shopping, travel, tarot, collage art, hiking, camping, fish ponds, gardening, canning, exercising, joga, jewelry, aging policy, creative writing, singing, cooking and spending time with family and friends.

Nutrition/Health:
Our nutrition is another matter. Only a few are vegetarians and vegans, or dealing with lactose and gluten intolerance. One of us is a pescatarian. Most of us drink coffee- and just look around to see about alcohol. The use of tobacco is quite limited. But the sweet tooth continues to exist and favorite desserts include pecan pie, Jewish apple cake, ice cream, tiramisu, key lime pie, chocolate brownies, and chocolate cake- or just all of that and more, you count the calories!

We have contributed to the summer home-building of enough doctors- oh, sorry Drs Jan Galla and Kathy Richard and others - the Class of '69 had its share of health concerns: bladder, gall bladder, even gladder wisdom teeth, c-section, osteoperosis, high cholesterol, knees, hip, hysterectomy, appendectomy, lumpectomy, mastectomy, carpal tunnel, and yes, oh my aching back! Thank you for no comments about Viagra.

Faith/Spirituality:
Some give thanks to God for their good health. Some do so in main-stream churches, actively participating. Some practice their faith more privately, uh, even while sailing single-handedly. One of us is in a graduate theology program, one of us tries to live a "present" life.

Political Affinity:
The Class of '69 spans the political spectrum: several moderates, the liberals outnumber the conservatives, but the Tea Party is represented, one of us is adamantly anything but liberal, and of course at least two are independent - presumably thinkers, and voters. One classmate was active in the 2012 re-election campaign (presumably for Obama).

Miscellaneous:
So let me turn briefly to the less easily assessed, but perhaps more provocative issues at the end of the survey. The Class of '69 respondents assessed fulfilling their yearbook goals. There were a few sarcastic answers: Wow, I had some? Ha! as well as non-descript yes, I guess so, and no, I would be shocked, no idea. More insightful would be:
-Remarkable progress in fulfilling goals, considering point from which I started.
-Done
-I have had a generally happy and comfortable life and for that I am grateful. I have two wonderful children and am lucky to live near them and their families. I am looking forward to phasing out of full-time work and spending my time on something more interesting.
-I wanted to "live life, laugh and be happy" . I have accomplished that. I didn't say it, but I wanted to be happily married and become a mom. I accomplished that.
-I'm sure I wrote something puerile like rich and happy and the answer to that is comfortably and reasonably.
-An interesting way to get there, but I would say I have met my goals- definitely leading a different life!

Some of those comments ran parallel to perspectives about how life has changed since 1969. You can judge the humor, mental health, and profundity for yourself: "How has your perspective about life changed since 1969?"
-I see greater value in doing my homework and staying out of jail
--I grew up
-survival
-Yes
-It sucks big time!!
-HAH, not enough space. and -I've learned that questions like this cannot be answered in a few words or a couple of lines.
-learned I'm just another "bozo on the bus"
-It really hasn't had any fundamental changes.
-being happy then and now
-become more liberal
-Family is #1, friends are a close second and having a good time is a solid #3.
-better understanding of "why"
-I knew nothing about the world. I have probably become more liberal as I have gotten out in the world and made up my own mind about how things should be.
-I can't believe I have gotten this old! It is amazing how easy it is to be in touch with old friends now with Facebook and email. I think we all have changed a lot in the 15 years since the last reunion.
-I'm still an eternal optimist, although I'm more grounded.

After hearing that, you may be better prepared for what classmates predicted for life when we gather for the next reunion:
-Doubt I'll be alive.
-There will be fewer of us.
- I hope to still be breathing and upright.
-Hopefully I'm not alone anymore.
-It won't improve.
-That things keep getting better
-Live each day like your last
-Let's hope!
-We will feel fortunate to be ambulatory enough to be there! I am looking forward to seeing all my old friends and classmates this time and at the next reunion.
-I predict that more of us will be retired! I am curious about the number of retirees then, as compared to now. It would be interesting to see how many have chosen to pick up a part time/full time job post-retirement.
-I hopefully want to continue to be healthy and happy. Unfortunately we will live through more unhappy world events. 9/11 was quite a shock and I do hope we don't see more of that!
-The Phillies will not win a World Series, Texas will not secede from the Union, and Apple stock will be trading at a lower price.
- I believe we are all continuing to expand in the ways that matter.

So there you have it. A rough, and somewhat rough around the edges, sense of where some of us have been, are, and intend to be. For we were, we are, and we will remain, the Class of 1969. Onward!