Together again: Class of ’69 gathers, still rocks

Classmates from Ridgefield High School’s Class of 1969 — too many to name — got together for a 50th reunion weekend Aug. 2, 3 and 4.

Classmates from Ridgefield High School’s Class of 1969 — too many to name — got together for a 50th reunion weekend Aug. 2, 3 and 4.

Contributed photo / Hearst Connecticut Media

Old friends, familiar faces, fond memories, the angst of high school forgotten and the gleam of the good times burnished through years — 50 of them.

Remember the time that…

Over a hundred members of Ridgefield High School’s Class of 1969 gathered for their 50th reunion Friday Aug. 2, through Sunday, Aug. 4.

“To watch everyone smiling, talking, hugging and enjoying each other was such a wonderful gift. Priceless!” said Debbie Megin Light, the reunion’s chief organizer, leading a committee of nine classmates.

Saturday’s night’s dinner drew at least 108 people — some 80 classmates, plus spouses and guests — to Michael’s at the Grove in Bethel. There’d been 115 expected.

About 40 classmates showed up for Friday’s “icebreaker” at The Ancient Mariner in Ridgefield, and a similar number attended Sunday’s farewell picnic at Putnam Park in Redding.

Some faces were tough to place, others looked like they’d just walked out of math class — well, almost.

Back in ’69, there were 243 graduates from Ridgefield High School — still on East Ridge Road, with senior homeroom in the auditorium recycled and preserved today as The Ridgefield Playhouse.

‘Extra mile’

Of the 243, the committee tracked down 177, with 33 missing. Another 33 were confirmed as deceased — their names on a poster at the reunion, and their memories honored with a moment of silence and a prayer.

Much of the talk was of the old times, and the craziness of youth — and so much that’s happened since.

It had been decades since the class got together.

“I actually started thinking about the reunion several years ago but didn’t do anything until October 2018,” said Light. “I thought I could do it myself with the internet, but was extremely mistaken so the committee formed in January 2019.

“What an amazing group! The committee consisted of myself, Pam Cavallo Miller, Frank Lancaster, Karen Roberti, Garry Johnson, Dennis Brennan, Steve Devlin, Meris Delli-bovi, and Jimmy Carboni,” she added. “Outstanding group of people!

“They went the extra mile to find every classmate and people that had been missing for many years and actually confirm them. It was a difficult undertaking, but they did it.

“What people didn’t realize is that for every name there might be as many as 30 people throughout the U.S., never mind other countries, with the same name. Then we had to find the right one that was in our class and wait for them to confirm by phone, email or snail mail. It took us eight full months to do this and get responses.”

From Colorado to Florida

The committee provided attendees with names and addresses of classmates they’d tracked down, whether or not they came — excluding only a few who asked to be left out.

“The three days went by so quickly but so special,” Light said. “We had people come from Canada, California, Colorado, Florida, and many more places ... It was truly a very memorable reunion and I think the best one yet.”

Quite an event it was, with dinner and drinks and old times coming back to life.

Eventually, inevitably — helped by Ridgefield deejay Sean “Big Daddy” McKee — Saturday night devolved into group dancing, first at the reunion and later at a hotel where many were staying.

Classmates were singing along with the old songs — Twist and Shout! Satisfaction — jumping around, still rocking, shaking stuff that hadn’t been shaken like that in years.

Not all were in step, on time, or in key. But they were together.