Michael Jackson and Billy Mays died last week, both at 50. This month — the year they reach the same age — Staples’ Class of 1977 will party.
Not content to wait another 3 years for their reunion — and perhaps mindful of what happens once AARP find you — a couple hundred former Stapleites will celebrate old and new friendships all day on July 11. And, they promise, long into the night.
The gathering — just 2 years after their 30th reunion — is a tribute to Staples and Westport. And to the realization that growing up here — no matter what they thought at the time — is truly special.
“I moved away right after graduation,” says Eileen Drager. “But what draws me back over the years is the people. It seems the bond we have now is even greater than when we were in school.
“The beauty and charm of Westport is obvious — the beaches, Green’s Farms, the gorgeous homes and scenic, twisty roads. But the people really make it beautiful, and keep drawing me back.”
“Westport was obviously a great town to grow up in,” adds Missy Alward. “We must have been pretty happy, for the most part. I think the drinking age being 18 helped a lot. We were always having parties, and going out to the bars. We had plenty of opportunities to get together.”
That tradition continued at the 30th, with parties at the Saugatuck Rowing Club, Westport Woman’s Club, Compo and Black Duck. But, says Dawn McCabe, both shared memories and the current milestone of “50” are more important than where the class hangs.
“We’ve found that as grownups, we just enjoy each other’s company,” McCabe explains. “The boundaries and cliques that were so evident at Staples disappeared. We’re just the Class of ’77, united by the amazing education we received together, the beauty of our hometown, and the joy of celebrating and laughing about our life’s experiences then and now.”
McCabe is pleased that “conversations are rarely reduced to the trivial sizing up of relative accomplishments. I still have no idea what many of my classmates do for a living. But I do appreciate who they are as people.”
Congratulations to the Class of ’77 on your upcoming group 50th birthday, and day-long gathering. I’m sure AARP joins me in extending best wishes to all.
(Several Staples classes celebrate 5-year reunions this year. The Class of ’79 will gather on July 11; the Class of ’84 gets together July 18; the Class of ’74 in October. The Class of 1944 recently enjoyed their 65th reunion [!] at the Red Barn. For more details on the Class of ’77 party, click here.)