Saturday, December 02, 2006

Thank You

I hope that the peace and joy of this holiday season was amplified in some way for each of you who attended the Reunion events, or who couldn’t attend but who followed the news of our class here on the blog, or who were moved by the buzz to re-connect with even one old friend for a conversation, laughs and reminiscence.
This is my Amherstian Rhapsody: I have never attended a class reunion, and honestly I did a very poor job of keeping up. In fact with two single, fleeting exceptions after leaving town in 1980 I did not speak with a member of our class for 25 years – no sinister reason; I just never looked back. Until fate brought me back to Amherst a year ago, and I began to catch myself looking for and finding the old connections, and recognizing people.

And wow, how bizarre - they recognized me:

I saw Bob Brandts’ article in the paper and walked into his office at the Bangs Center and compared notes as prodigal sons of Amherst who’d gone off to see the world and come back to find home…. I ran into Peter Teraspulsky late one evening at Stop & Shop as we both reached for the same pint of Ben & Jerry’s in the freezer…. I called Chris Collins to seek advice about my kids' "new" schools.... I found Dave Mazor, another prodigal son of Amherst, back home and hard at work on a fascinating service endeavor in a basement at Amherst College…. I looked up Janki at a memorial Evangeline Darity event on a snowy night at the Amherst College Octagon…. Ran into Justin Griswold in the hallways of ARHS parents’ night…. Like Ted Hughes’ “Iron Giant,” scattered in a million pieces after falling from a cliff and whose hand then picks up first an eyeball, then an ear, and crawls around the beach reassembling itself, I began to find my way in my hometown. When Jim Barr, Nick Cournoyer, Dan Winslow and Carl Bergquist asked for a volunteer to carry the organizing duties, I knew I had to do it. It was several months of countless hours and hours of effort, and I got the best end of the experience every single minute. I’m grateful to all of you.

Thank you, Amherst, for being the same great town in 2006 that you were when I loved and left you in 1980.

Thank you ARHS for being the same tremendous school you’ve always been. Even if peanut butter cornflake cookies have given way to a 'peanut-fee zone' in the cafeteria. Even if Freshmen are no longer in the Jr. High … OR the high school! Even if the school regularly appears on O’Reilly Factor every time the Theater department decides to present or to cancel a show. Even if the team name “Hurricanes” nearly bit the dust after Katrina swamped New Orleans. Even if the streakers now cover their private parts. Even if the Principal no longer wears a dashiki.

Thank you ARHS teachers for being the same wonderful and inspiring leaders you were then. Our debt of gratitude to you can never be properly repaid.

Thank you classmates whom I never knew well before working together on the Reunion, or knew in HS and didn’t stay in contact with for 30 years: Terese Keohane, Mike Fusia, Bruce Cleveland, Mark Conlon, Mike Mascis, Heidi Laufman, Jill Weinstein, Michele Matusko, Dan Winslow, Mike Sacco, Karen Elliott, Nancy Drake, Lee Leonard, Elly Newcomb.

Congratulations classmates who fell in love with each other, married, and came to celebrate together at this 30th reunion: Craig & Karen Elliott Merrill who’ve been together since high school, Dave Mazor and Kathy Matthews who re-kindled their friendship at the tenth reunion and then married – and now live around the corner from me! Steve Schwartz and Annie O’Connor who re-met at the 20th and married, and now have a beautiful daughter. Time will tell whether this 30th reunion was as fruitful an event, for some pair of classmates.

Thank you to my incredible wife Lisa, who allowed me to shirk putting-to-bed duties for two months as I tried to keep up with reunion emails, and who never failed to brighten on cue no matter how many times she heard me shout “Sweety, you won’t BELIEVE who I found today!!” What forbearance and devotion. Thanks for bringing me back home, sweetheart. ILY!

I enjoyed the class dinner very much, as I hope each of you did. There was not nearly enough time to talk with everyone, and I completely missed several people I’d really looked forward to speaking with – John Gibson, Jeremy Wolff, Jon Waldron, Pete Ziomek – and badly shortchanged many others. I’m sorry, and I hope we’ll talk more, soon. I got to sit down with Anne Feaster, with whom I hadn’t spoken since 1976, in the very same room where we’d gone to the Prom together 30 years ago – and how droll that our class's Prom theme song was Seals & Crofts’ “We May Never Pass This Way Again.”

During our class dinner last Saturday, I had to laugh as I looked out at many of my old Little League, Youth Football and ARHS soccer teammates, and recalled their fathers on the sidelines 30, 35, even 40 years ago. This time, I felt I was attending an awards dinner with Dick Bergquist, Homer Barr, Vic Fusia, and Stan Ziomek – but where were their sons, my classmates? I mean seriously: did anyone else see Carl Bergquist standing in ¾ profile, wearing a windbreaker, arms folded, and not think they were seeing champion UMass baseball coach Dick Bergquist? Déjà vu.

In weeks of preparing for the event I got to share in everyone’s countless stories; their travels, travails, losses and joys. I marvel at the accomplishments and the strength of our classmates. I am so happy to be home again, where everything is exactly where - and as - it is supposed to be. I wish every one of you, and yours, a very happy holiday and a year filled with peace, good health, and new surprises.

And everlasting youth.


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Amherst Elementary School P.E. Anthem

Feeling rusty and out of shape? Turn up your speakers, step back from your desk, hands on hips, and hit it! Inspired by Bob Brandts' successful "LSSE Diet"; dedicated to Don Johnson, Randy Crowley and Bud Kneeland. More (click here, and then scroll down to October 3).

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Reunion Photo's

The "ARHS76" group photo pool is now open on Flickr, where you can view photos and post your own for classmates to see. To browse or share great snapshots you or others took at the Reunion, please send me a note at so that I can have the service "invite" you -once you respond to the invitation - it's FREE - visit Flickr and search for the group "ARHS76".

[Jill Weinstein, Janki Darity]

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Reunion Revelry

Thank you one and all for attending and making the 30th Reunion a fantastic event!!! Pictures (and instructions for how to upload your own pix) and The Theory all should be uploaded and available by Tuesday 11/28; Survey results and classmates Contact List will take a little longer to compile and load. Add your comments below right. See you again ... in 2036?
[Above, l-r: Seth & Delia Sherwood, Mike Fusian Lisa Tarmey; Below, l-r: Steve Schwartz, Annie O'Connor, Elly Newcomb Trousdale]

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Update on ARHS Streakers

Furor, student unrest grow.... See also Nov 3 post, waaaay below

Parking CHANGE for Campus Center Hotel Guests

If you are booked to stay at the Campus Center Hotel, or if you plan to drive to campus to the Dinner on Saturday, see this notice from UMass about closure of the Campus Center Parking Lot and availability of alternate parking facilities, with map. Call the Campus Center at (413) 549-6000, ext. 0, if you have questions.

What is This ?

... Rumor has it that this confection was invented in, by and for the Amherst school system:

How many Calories From Fat?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Be True To Your School!

Alumni & Alumnae: stop by the Alumni Association table during the Amherst-N'hampton football game on Thanksgiving morning, Thursday November 23 to introduce yourselves and to purchase fine ARHS wearables. Show your school spirit!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Amherst Cinema Reopens on Reunion weekend (click)

The beautifully re-designed Amherst Cinema will re-open on November 22 in time for the class of 1976 to enjoy fine NEW films - "For Your Consideration" and "The Queen" - and stylish renovations. Make a point to visit the Cinema to support the rebirth of this important institution and to re-live memories of the movies of you watched there in high school. Class of '76 grad Dave Mazor is a member of the board for the Amherst Cinema Arts Center.

The Cinema will feature movies on three screens and will also regularly present children's, artists' and community activities. Not presently on the docket: Rock Concerts ... however, do any Classmates - aside from Tom Vinskey - recall a freak occurrence in 1974(?) when "The Raspberries" played a live show on the stage of the Cinema?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Surveying All Classmates

Take the Class of 1976 survey! Responses tallied and reported at the Reunion Dinner. If you've not already done so, click here to participate.

Read a harrowing account of a one man's trip back down memory lane at another H.S. reunion...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Honorary Alumni/ae

Where are these people, and others who went to school with you but don't appear in the yearbook:

Steve Bischoff ... Dan Cetto ... Annette Creekmore ... Tom Freisem ... Ron Fuller ... Alan George ... Greg Giannetti ... Richard Guinness ... Luke Hunsberger ... Toby Lieberman ... Amy Longsworth ... Mark Montgomery ... Anne Morrison ... Bob Mudge ... Adele Richards ... Matt Ripa ... Ellen Roy ... Adine Sagalyn ... Rob Siegel ... Aaron Trehub ... Fred Tutman ... Lizzie Weston ... Alex Will ... Nat Zartman ... Jimmy Zuptnik

Moved away from Amherst before graduating? transferred to private school? entered the services? graduated early? finished their HS credits at U.Mass, Hampshire College, or the alternative high school? hit it big in Hollywood? ran off with the circus?

ALL are welcome at this Reunion... Who else is missing? and who's the guy with the hair, above?

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Memorial to Deceased Classmates

At 11:30 on Saturday morning, November 25, 2006, Amherst Regional High School class of 1976 alumni will gather on the grounds of the high school to plant a tree in memory of classmates who have passed away during the past 30 years. The Reunion Committee confirms that the following friends from the class of 1976 have died:

• Sue Blanchard
• Leeann Kielbowicz
• Libby Grant Kroon
• Tom Maisner
• Michele Walas

If you have information about these or any other classmates as relates to a memorial, please contact the Committee at right away. Thank you.

Friday, November 10, 2006

School Seeks to Rebuild Archive of the "Graphic"

Under the guidance of English teacher Chris Herland, students at ARHS continue the tradition of journalism at ARHS, covering campus news, sports nad opinion as well as national and world issues of interest to the student body. Mr. Herland and the Graphic team hope to put the newspaper online soon. In addition to making new issues avialable via the internet, the school is actively working to create an archive of past issues. Sadly, no copies of the Graphic, from our day, are currently in the school's possession.

*** If you have saved copies of any old Graphics from the 1972-1976 period, or know friends, brothers or sisters who may have copies of The Graphic that could be donated or scanned and copied for posterity, please contact

Monday, November 06, 2006

ARHS on "As Schools Match Wits"

Airing on Saturday evenings from 1961 to 2006, "As Schools Match Wits" was hosted by Phil Shepardson until 1991. While ARHS has a long history of superlative performance on ASMW, the trophy-winning 1975-1976 team was undoubtedly among the best ever to represent the school. Under the bold leadership of John Warthen, the mid-70's Amherst Regional ASMW team devastated its western MA peers, winning way more than its share of points and matches in this televised brainpower tournament. ...Anyone remember Peter "The Vindicator" Chametzky?

WWLP-22 in Springfield recently canceled "As Schools Match Wits," the longest running high-school quiz show in TV history. Sign the petition here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

"Streaking"? but I thought that stopped in 1976...

Not since our day: Naked flesh on ARHS grounds horrifies the community

But some applaud the affront to authority....

Sunday, October 29, 2006

MESSAGE BOARD (add your own comments)

See the ARHS Alumni Association message board with news from class of '76 grad's by clicking here.

Click on "Comments," below right, to read messages from your classmates, and post your own comments RIGHT HERE:

Friday, October 27, 2006

Reunion Events, Nov. 23-25 (click here)

Thursday, 11/23: ARHS Football (Home) vs. Northampton, 10am

Friday, 11/24 (informal): Meet returning grads - The Pub (15 East Pleasant street, in the Carriage Shops), after 8pm

Saturday, 11/25:
10:00am-- Tour of expanded Amherst Regional High School
11:30am-- Memorial Tree-planting on ARHS grounds
6:30pm-- Dinner and music, Amherst Room, (UMass Campus Ctr)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Distinguished Teachers

Meet the Emeritus contingent:

Did you know that 5 fondly-remembered faculty who taught at ARHS during the 1975-1976 school year are now distinguished veterans teaching ARHS students today? If you recall our yearbook "The Goldbug," faculty and staff were sorted not by department, but by zodiac sign. Certainly you remember that Jane Baer is an Aquarius, Dael Chapman is a Pisces, Marc Gerstein is a Sagittarius, Tom Gralinski is a Cancer, and John Warthen is a Taurus.

Check out what students say about their ARHS teachers in 2006.

** TEACHERS: the Reunion Committee is trying to get word of the November 25 Reunion Dinner out to our favorite ARHS teachers and staff. Are you in touch with old colleagues? Please e-mail with contact information that will allow us to invite everyone we remember!