Comment: Morristown High’s class of 57 celebrates lifelong bonds

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By Marie Pfefer

I wasn’t sure how I felt about attending my 65th class reunion of 1957 at Morristown High School. When I arrived at the Madison Hotel, of course, my badge was there, and I saw familiar faces who also recognized me.

The 65th reunion of the Morristown High School class of 1957. Photo courtesy of Marie Pfeifer

I enjoyed seeing people I hadn’t seen since the last meeting five years ago. But I miss the people who are no longer with us. Twenty-five percent of us are still living and 10 of us are still working.

Notably, seven classmates still reside in the greater Morristown area: Leroy Aiken, Gail Forman, Carol Lindskog, Kathy Hyland, Bob Swetz, Mina Rizzo and me.

Richie Derrick, class president, initiates our meetings, and Carol loses sleep tracking down and listing missing classmates, dead classmates, and, of course, making sure the information is correct. They are the impetus that brings the class of 1957 together. Richie has always held our meetings every five years, with the exception of our 20e.

The 65th reunion of the Morristown High School class of 1957. Photo courtesy of Marie Pfeifer

Morristown High School is an enduring institution. It opened on Maple Avenue, December 13, 1869. Our elders cannot claim family members that go back that far, but by Gunnar Johnson father was an alumnus of the class of 1928.

The mothers of Gail Gannon Forman and Gail Pratt Coen and Carol Emberley Lindskog’s father were Class of 1930 alumni.

Richie Derrick shared his happy memories, “the camaraderie we always had, the great faculty, the football games, the pep rallies, the parties and the balls.”

Richie, a dentist in Mendham for over 40 years, shared the story of our recently deceased classmate, Frank Paganowho was so inspired by Professor MHS Percy Cowanwho brought Shakespeare to life for his students, that he chose teaching as his lifelong profession.

The 65th reunion of the Morristown High School class of 1957. Photo courtesy of Marie Pfeifer

I enjoyed working on the diffuser and going on a double date with my friend Johanna Kipping. I had to insert this between my after school job at Retail Credit and now deceased Nancy Lonero and Kathy Archangel.

Leroy Aiken, who gave an inspiring invocation to open our 65e Reunion of the class of 1957, recalled his experience. Due to the culture of that time, he felt deprived of the knowledge necessary to attend college.

But through his own persistence and hard work after high school, he attended Northwestern Bible School (no longer in existence) in Essex Fells, to pursue the ministry, satisfying his desire to deepen his spirituality. He is currently an associate pastor at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Boonton Township.

The 65th reunion of the Morristown High School class of 1957. Photo courtesy of Marie Pfeifer

We are identified as the “silent generation”[1] because we did not take to the streets to show our disagreement with the lack of equality that exists in our current culture.

We are a generation of people who have silently demonstrated our ability to succeed, sometimes against overwhelming odds. Many of us devote our efforts to our children so that their generation can succeed in finding their place in our changing world.

Some of us are already looking forward to our 70se in five years.

[1] The Pew Research Center uses the years 1928-1945 as birth years defining people as the silent generation who will be ages 77-94 in 2022.

The 65th reunion of the Morristown High School class of 1957. Photo courtesy of Marie Pfeifer
The 65th reunion of the Morristown High School class of 1957. Photo courtesy of Marie Pfeifer
The 65th reunion of the Morristown High School class of 1957. Photo courtesy of Marie Pfeifer
The 65th reunion of the Morristown High School class of 1957. Photo courtesy of Marie Pfeifer
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