Friday June 28, 2002
Class of '62 reunites after 40 years
ago, Springfield was a different place. There was one stop light,
one strip mall, and Robert E. Lee High School was comprised of two
Lee's class of 1962 gathered last weekend to reflect on their high
school years, Springfield's evolution from sleepy suburb to major
metropolis was a hot topic of conversation.
the change, however, the people seemed to remain the same.
"The biggest thing is it wasn't so different, people still had
a kinship they had before," said Bonnie Bennett McCabe, who
hadn't seen many of her classmates in four decades.
The graduates of 1962 were the first class to spend four years at
Lee, which first opened its doors in the fall of 1958. While there
are many links, including the green-tiled walls, connecting today's
school to the one they attended proved challenging.
Lane LeBosquet recalled eating lunch in the classrooms since the
cafeteria was not complete when the building first opened.
all, 125 members of the 292-person class gathered for a
weekend filled with laughs, smiles, hugs and tears. In
addition to swapping stories and cracking timeless jokes, the
former classmates mingled with old friends and filled in more
than a few gaps in time.
"I was fascinated to hear who married who, did what and
went where," said Larry Curtis, class president.
"There were some amazing adventures."
"It was the people who were the real delight of the whole
affair," Curtis added. "You forget how good of
friends you were 40 years ago, how nice your friends were. ...
And 40 years is a lot of gossip."
While most graduates remembered some things differently,
several key events--the upset victory over McLean in football,
the senior class trip to New York and a prank that involved
placing a car on the school's roof--appear to be etched in
Other stories making the rounds involved the basketball game
that changed a player's reputation, outings to Washington
D.C.'s Brickskeller bar, and the horrifying sound of a
homeroom teacher's metal-tip high heel shoes walking down the
Besides having a chance to catch up with former teammates,
acquaintances and lab partners, students also met with the
teachers and staff that helped to shape their lives.
"We had a lot of freedom in that school, but we knew the
limits. That's because of the teachers and faculty that
groomed us," said McCabe, whose class graduated when gas
was less than a quarter a gallon and John F. Kennedy roamed
the Oval Office.
People returned to Springfield from all parts of the country,
including Florida, Texas, California, Louisiana and many other
locations. The festivities began Friday with a party at the
Hilton and continued with a picnic at Lake Accotink Saturday
afternoon followed by an evening tour of the renovated high
school. Although Lee is still undergoing renovations, the
changes to date were enough to throw some of the former
students for a whirl.
"At first, I kept getting lost," said LeBosquet
after taking the tour of the school. "But then I was able
to find my way."
Not only were the attendees attempting to locate their former
classrooms in a school that has continued to expand, but they
were busy identifying faces from decades ago.
"What was wonderful was, after a little bit of
disorientation where you felt dizzy, we were able to find our
way around like we used to," said Curtis, relating the
experience to being spun around blindfolded and then trying to
pin the tail on the donkey.
LeBosquet organized the reunion as a way to reach out to old
friends in the wake of Sept. 11. She began making arrangements
in October and the confirmations began rolling in shortly
"I thought we all should get together and go back to a
quieter, more peaceful time in our lives," she said.
Publishing Inc. - Fairfax/Fairfax
Station/Burke/Springfield/Annandale Times 2002