The Way We Were

Most high school reunions follow the same pattern. There are squeals of recognition (or puzzled, who-the-hell-are-you? looks). There’s dinner and dancing. Maybe a slide show plays in the background, but no one notices.

At the Staples Class of 1982 reunion earlier this month, everyone watched.

Soreyrith Um created a 14-minute video that will intrigue anyone remotely close to that age — whether they grew up here or not. Along with dozens of photos — some from the yearbook, many taken by Soreyrith himself — he’s integrated video from Kirsten Gill Bartie.

Though a few things have changed — the guys’ shorts are cringe-inducing, the cars are vintage, and there’s a card catalog in the library — what is remarkable is how little is different.

Tracy Rodino and Betsy Gross, outside the now-defunct Sport Mart on Main Street.

Hair styles, sweatshirts, goofing around in the cafeteria, boys and girls hanging all over each other — teenagers from 1982 are almost interchanageable with those in 2012.

A video from 1952 — 30 years earlier — would be almost unrecognizable.

I’d love to hear what today’s high school students think, watching the boys and girls who are now men and women, the same ages as their parents.

Or, in some cases, actually are their parents.

One thing kids will immediately notice: all the alcohol. Senior Skip Day was held at Sherwood Island, and nearly everyone was drinking in public.

Then again, the legal age was 18…

(Click here to view Soreyrith and Kristen’s remarkable video.)

9 responses to “The Way We Were

  1. John McCarthy

    From my unscientific count, the class of 1982 has at least 30 kids at Staples. They are all forbidden from watching this……(so they will now all rush to watch it.)

  2. It’s funny to think that the classes of 1981 and 1982 spent most of our time at Staples tiptoeing through messy construction zones as the “new Staples” was built around us. Dust to dust!

  3. Trish Erickson created a superb video for ’71’s 40th reunion last summer (although admittedly it was composed solely of still photos, including some yearbook pics).

  4. A job well done!

  5. One FABULOUS Video!! 1982, Last Year of Assisting with Football at Staples!!
    Seeing ALL of those faces again INCREDIBLE!!
    Loved every second of it!!
    Think about it, how many video cameras were out there in 1982??
    Congrats Staples ’82!!

    Tom Wall
    Staples ’70

  6. Three cheers to the Class of ’82 for a fabulous video. The feel-good movie of the year was made in Fairfield County, Connecticut!

    And, yes, I felt that the life of high school teens in Westport graduating in 1982 looked interchangeable even with my class, seven years earlier. It was just a remarkable town in which to grow up.

    Feel-good *is* good, because a few days ago, I was sad about Westport.

    I drove up and down the length of High Point Road this past weekend. It was the first time in several years I had visited, because I now live near Boston and my Mom now lives in Bridgeport. I found on my cruise up and down High Point that the house at #20, which is the third of the three houses in which I was raised in Westport, is still there and looking ever as much as it had during my time in high school. But it was completely surrounded by McMansions. My old house looked small, even tiny. I looked at my partner, also a Westporter, and predicted that #20 will be torn down and replaced within five years.

    My belief is that the scale of the new residences and the glamour of global trendy brands on Main Street has to create a town fundamentally different from the Westport of the mid- to late 20th Century.

    Perhaps some of those people in the Class of 1982 who now have children at Staples would like to comment. I’d like to be told that I’m all wrong, that the fun, the wonder, the angst, and the joy of being a Westport youth in the 1970s or 1980s is still available today.

    — Doug Davidoff
    Staples ’75

    • Had a similar experience to Douglas’s this summer driving through Westport — it’s probably inevitable and they call it “progress.” We didn’t stay long as my heart sunk for a bit– I’m sure our last home on Bridge Street will be destined one of these days to demolition “dozers.” Westport was idyllic in those days — not sure it is today. But the current residents seem to like it so… It is what it is and I no longer lament my old town. We moved to PA when I was 13 and remarkably — The Phila. Mainline and out beyond has changed much less than Westport. I can find many many old haunts still the same and more of that “same old feeling.” Not sure all change has to be so big and glamorous but more refined and subtle — imo of course. Westporters are entitled to their town the way they want it.

      Doug, I think I was in kindergarten and first grade with you before I moved over to Saugatuck El. I think my mom was friendly with your parents.

  7. Awesome. And they weren’t drinking Pabste Blue Ribbon to be ironic. Those were the days!

  8. Beachwalker 13

    Tears in my eyes