DARIEN, Conn. – Fifty years after graduating from Darien High School, the class of 1963 still knows how to have a good time. It will reconvene for the sixth time with plans for a weekend full of remembrance and revelry.
“There are certainly groups of people that have special bonds,’’ said Janet Menard Clarke, one of three class members who helped organize the reunion. Sue Coon Heidbrink and Judy Gegenheimer Hyers were the other chairpersons.
“Some special things went on with our class and people seem to be excited about coming back for the reunion. Boy, 50 years, how could that happen? Where did the time go?”
The celebration begins Friday with a meet and greet at the Piedmont Club. The class visits the high school on Saturday for a tour of the school, a speaker forum by classmates and a football game with special recognition at halftime. The guests will celebrate on Saturday night at Wee Burn Country Club with dinner and dancing, and the class will visit The Water’s Edge at Giovanni’s on Sunday for brunch. The restaurant was the site of the graduation party for the class.
“This was one reunion I really wanted to get to,’’ said Clarke, who lives in Andover, Mass. “There was a lot of work done over the Internet. Sue called me up and invited me to dinner, and asked if I would help chair the reunion committee. We both looked at our husbands and said what do you think? Here we are, and it’s been absolutely marvelous working with the people on the committee.”
The highlight for her at reunions is seeing the diverse and successful careers of her former classmates, Clarke said. “One of our classmates is the set director for 'Hawaii Five-0,' another is the president of the Philadelphia Zoo and one was the chairperson of Greenpeace,'' she said. "There are a lot of exciting, caring people who are involved in a lot of volunteer activities. Re-meeting them as adults is fascinating.”
Another member of the class, Martha (Denny) Petersen Shogi, had a 31-year career in the CIA and worked in Moscow at the height of the Cold War.
Hyers, a local Realtor with William Raveis Real Estate Rowayton, said she anticipates 95 members from the class and 125 people at the weekend reunion. There were 263 students in the class, 33 of whom have passed away. The Class of ’63 at Darien was the first to go through three consecutive years at the then “new” high school. Now, Darien High School has another totally new “campus” opened in 2005.
Three cheerleaders led classmates on the fight song at the 40th reunion, Clarke said. “I don’t think so,’’ she said when asked if she’ll lead her in class in any cheers this weekend. “But who knows what will happen.”