A Great 50th Class Reunion

Trip Start Apr 29, 2010
Trip End Nov 30, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Connecticut
Saturday, May 1, 2010

For the sake of those that don't already know, I attended a girl's boarding, college prep High School in Waterbury, CT half a century ago. I was known then as Karen Purpus, however, when I got married to a Brazilian and moved to Brazil, I became known as Chica Camargo, which is how most people have known me ever since.

And, in case you did not read the previous chapters of my Travel Pod, I had spent the last seven months in Bakersfield, CA and after a couple more brief visits with my grown children, and their children, in SoCal, I flew out from LAX.
Also, if you are an Alumni, you probably have a list of all the classmates' full names, however, due to limited space, I have needed to use mostly only first names for this report.

I took Jet Blue's red-eye flight Thursday night 4/29 from Los Angeles to Boston, which unfortunately, was jammed packed, so I didn't get any rest during the flight. Anyway, I picked up my Hertz rent-a-car and drove the two plus hours to Waterbury.

'Susie-Belle' (my nick-name for her since our freshman year at school) Belfanti Crittenden and I have kept in touch through the years and had been looking forward to, and making plans for, this Reunion for at least 3-4 years. We agreed to meet for lunch, which we did at the Italian restaurant at my hotel. Then I took a nap for a couple of hours.

That evening, several of our classmates, and a few spouses, too, gathered in the hotel  bar/restaurant for a good old catch-up gabfest. We kept adding tables and chairs together as our group grew and it was really a lot of fun.      Saturday morning, those of us staying at the Courtyard, gathered again for breakfast, then drove on over to the school.

When we were students, the school was St. Margaret's School for Girls (founded in 1865 as the Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies and sometime later changed to St. Margaret's) and it had a total of 180 high school students, 80 of which, were boarders.  Then in 1972, St. Margaret's joined with The McTernan School for Boys (founded in 1912) and became a co-ed day school with no more boarders. In 2005 St. Margaret's-McTernan changed it's name to Chase Collegiate School to honor the Chase Family, who helped found both schools and to reflect the school's high academic standards. Of course, most of us still refer to it as St. Mags or SMS.

I had not been back to the school in 50 years and I was sort of surprised how much it still looked the same, while at the same time appreciated all the new buildings and other changes. I think the one major thing that was still the same, and that we all loved, was the back veranda covered with the beautiful Wisteria, which was in full bloom.   Once again, we had our class photos taken on the steps of that veranda.

Soon it was time for us to go into the dining room for lunch. At sometime in the past, the dining room was doubled in size and a large buffet was installed (in our day, the food was served family style at each round table of about 10 students, plus a teacher).

We had a very good turnout for our class... 20 classmates, plus 7 spouses... out of the 42 of us still living (6 are deceased and 3 have lost contact).  Lunch was delicious and awards and speeches were well deserved and interesting.

One of the awards, was given to someone special to me, Tara Sharma Upreti, for her remarkable career acheivements. She came all the way from Nepal and we were friends during our time at school back then.  During my career in the travel industry, I finally was the tour escort for a tour that included Nepal and I tried to find her in Kathmandu. Unfortunately, however, her brother informed me, that Tara was at that time in Bangladesh with the World Health Organization.   

After lunch, we wandered around the main building, now called St. Margaret's Hall, exploring what used to be Miss Fairbanks' (our Head Mistress) suite, as well as, our bedrooms, bathrooms and infirmary, etc.

After 50 years, some of us had a hard time remembering who we each roomed with and where our rooms were located for each year. There were only 12 of us boarding that first year as Freshmen. Margie Mooney Hodges was my roommate that year, Nancy Tolman Stass was my Sophomore roommate and Mary Anne Paolillo Dickinson was my Junior year roommate. Unfortunately, Mary Anne is deceased and Nancy couldn't attend the Reunion due to her husband's bad health and a recent fall. I didn't attend my Senior year there due to my own bad health at that time.

Later there was a Cocktail Party in one of the modern new buildings located beyond the pond and what used to be the Senior House.  The only thing left of that Senior house is the chimney. They tore down the rest of the small house (that was falling apart anyway) and re-built it as an open Pavillion with BBQs and overlooking the sports fields on one side and the pond on the other. I was disappointed to learn that they no longer allow ice skating on the pond, which was about the only thing I liked about winter weather (they even installed a lovely fountain in the middle, that I imagine might also prevent the pond from freezing solid).

Soon it was time for our class to gather on the veranda before dinner.    
Our Class Dinner was held in the Library (where we used to be able to watch the occasional TV show). It was a great evening of good food and lots of conversation and passing around photos, both snapshots from our school days and of each of our familes.

What a great way to finish a very full day, with beautiful weather, and a very successful Reunion.

Sunday morning, again several of us gathered for breakfast and a final farewell to a really fun weekend. 


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