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04/01/21 04:24 PM #23    


James O'Neil

Chris, I can't pretend to even imagine the pain you've gone through and I and am profoundly sorry for your loss. The son of one of my cousins passed away last August from and overdose. He had been clean and sober for about 5 years and by all accounts was doing well. Part of the problem with the stuff that's out there today is all the crap they're lacing it with especially fentanyl. If I have a slip and drink a bunch of beer, I'll probably survive.  Opioids aren't that forgiving. I look forward to seeing you at the reunion.  Jim







04/01/21 04:53 PM #24    


Pauline Harwood (Wright)

Jim ,  I never really knew you, but I'm impressed with your candor and openness .Our family has had its share of ups and downs with addictions

I'm not going to out anyone , but I went to  Al anon for years . And am totally empathetic to addiction problems, I think by the time we are 67-68 we have lived through a lot and are grateful to be alive and healthy if that is the case.

let all the barriers come down . And hopefully by October we can embrace our fellow classmates with fondness for a special time in our lives 






04/01/21 04:54 PM #25    


Pauline Harwood (Wright)

Ps, Chris , I like the Needham Community Council idea 


04/01/21 08:04 PM #26    


Beverly Arbuckle

I too would add my vote for the Needham Community Council.  They do a tremendous lot of good, and Sandy Robinson is a wonderful advocate in the work they accomplish.

Also... Thank you Jim for the courage to speak up so openly and honestly... it does a lot of good that you can do so.... and the same for my dear friend Sue Pike, who has been very helpful with her insight and support.  Hearing it from Al-anon is one thing... hearing it from your best friend whom you grew up with hits it home even more so for healing.  I was married for almost 25 years to an alcoholic, and the abuse which this can entail.  The collateral damage done to the families is life-altering...I cope with PTSD as a result.  It is a family disease indeed which scars us all.  However, the more we can speak openly about it and share - the stronger we become, which is a huge help for people like me.  To know I was not alone, that many others were walking a similar road made all the difference... this went a long way in helping me regain my own life, once more.   I appreciate the suggestion of a safe haven.  Even now, after several years, I can get a little tense when alcohol is being consumed, out of concern that someone will, however inadvertantly, cross a line.  This is a learned behaviour on my part, which will take time to unlearn and move beyond.  Al-anon was a life saver for me, and... my daughter.  Chris, my heartfelt condolences... you have walked thru the fire and made it across to the other side - and hopefully now know a brighter day.  My own daughter struggles with addiction issues, and as a parent this is heartbreaking to watch.  She had two suicide attempts, and continues to work at over-coming the demons which haunt.  It is a daily battle, as you know.  And for me, there is always the fear, deep in my heart, that a 'bad' day will set her off on a path from which there is not a return.  The knowledge that it has to be their fight, and not something we can take upon ourselves for them as parents, is one of the hardest things to accept.  Oh, for the days when they were little, and we could kiss and make it all better; turning a bad day into a good one.  Sadly life does not work this way... and so we do the best we can... and take things day by day, one small step at a time.

However, walking it together, we do get thru.  As classmates we have so much more in common now, than we did back when.  Life has touched us all - in many different ways... for both good, or not on occasion - and yet, however varied the experiences, it serves to bind us even more closely together... and there is a strength and comfort to be had in this.
Peace to you all.
See you in October!!


04/02/21 05:57 AM #27    


Barbara Bowen (Carr)

Things we never knew about each other....  I am appreciating getting to know you, my former classmates, better at this time in our lives. Chris, I am so sorry for your losses! I can't imagine the pain. Suzanne, I'm glad you're finding yourself in a better place. Beverly, thank you for sharing your story! I had no idea. As we share, we gain strength from each other. I'm thankful to be part of this group! Needham Community Council sounds like it might be a good choice for our class gift!

04/02/21 10:01 AM #28    


Linda L. Marston, PhD

I too like the Needham Community Council idea.  It may be comforting for folks to know that at the last Reunions I do not recall anyone abusing alcohol.  I do appreciate tables away from any loud music so we can hear each other when we talk.  A combination of sit-down locations, and a bunch of stand-at high tops for holding food and drinks, to encourage mingling.  What about some suggested "Theme Signs" like sports, clubs, etc. that folks could pick up and bring to a table?

Did anyone else go on that French Class trip to France in (I think) Junior Year?  That is still one of the best trips I ever went on.  I would love to share some memories at Reunion with anyone who might remember that trip.  And, the Science Class (Biology?) day trip to a Boston School (Roxbury?) (Elementary?) to share some classroom learning.  Does anyone remember that?  



04/02/21 11:17 AM #29    


Janet Gilfoy (Stark)

Good Morning

I'm reading these posts and everyones honesty is wonderful. As you have all said addiction is a family disease. My dad, my brother, cousins I could go one and one.

COVID has been particulary tough for many. I'm a hospice RN and have seen first hand pt's dying alone because families cannot be at bed side. This has taken a tole on me and I probably consume more alcohol that I should. I would be honored to come to a meeting during reunion weekend. I certainly need to step up.

In a lighter note I would also vote for food pantry or Needham Community Council. During these hard times when familes are out of work these are the places some get their food.

Look forward to seeing everyone.





04/02/21 02:04 PM #30    

Heather Mick (Carito)

I too am moved by everyone's honesty and willingness to be vulnerable. And I think Beverly is correct when she says we have so much more in common now than we did in h.s. Many of us have been personally affected by the opioid epidemic. I lost my oldest son 5 years ago to an overdose of heroin & fentanyl. He was 33 and lived with me. I'm the one who found him. I'm also the one who saved him from an almost successful suicide attempt in 2010 that put him in the ICU for 2 weeks. He was an alcoholic with mental health issues. I think my 28 year-old daughter will be ok, but I worry about my 35 year-old son. I did go to Al-Anon for awhile, until I discovered Learn to Cope, which is specifically for parents & loved ones of opiate addicts. 
I have found things that keep me going and I try not to dwell in the past. I really look forward to seeing everyone at the 50th! I don't know much about the Needham Community Council, but feel that any organization that treats  mental health, addiction or food insecurity is worthwhile.

Heather Mick-Carito


04/02/21 04:10 PM #31    


Suzanne Pike (Seri)

Thank you, all of you, for speaking out about your own personal struggles w addictions, and those of your children.  I hear so many stories about ODs and esp during this pandemic.  I've lost many friends to the disease.  Zoom keeps me going to mtgs, and I've met people all over the world w the same issues.  

Hoping our reunion will be a joyous time to celebrate our lives-every day is a gift.  I especially can't wait to hug people.  Hoping that by Oct we will be allowed to hug...mask or not, depending on what medical experts say.  I have gotten shorter and chubbier, but I can still give a good hug!


04/02/21 05:54 PM #32    


Chris Pooley

I would be either totally surprised or in disbelief if our class and our families were not impacted by all these issues.  They are part of our lives.  We do our best to help others deal with them and also try to get through for ourselves.

At some point over the past few years I realized there is only one person who wakes up every day with the goal of having Chris Pooley enjoy a productive, fullfilling, and happy day (life).  That person is me so this is a job I am trying to get good at.  Sounds selfish yet, as the airlines say, "put your mask on before you try to help others".  

Needham Community Council IS a food pantry.  They do brilliant work for Needham residents.  While it is hard to believe there are food issues in Needham, they are very real and the NCC provides a wonderful safety net.  

Be well my friends!

04/03/21 07:20 AM #33    


Barbara Bowen (Carr)

Speaking of class trips--Does anyone remember the chorus trip to Montreal? I remember walking, arm in arm, with classmates up Mont Royal, the underground market, & buying a velvet painting from a street vendor. That painting still hangs in my bedroom to this day!

In terms of COVID--Yesterday, I was able to help my younger son secure a vaccine appointment! By the end of April, all adult members of my family will be able to hug each other! Since I live alone & haven't had a single hug in this past year, that is very good news!


04/03/21 01:55 PM #34    


James O'Neil

I am so impressed by the strength, compassion and grace that I've seen in these posts.  Unfortunately, no one is spared when it comes to mental health and substance abuse issues and clearly the Class of '71 has not been spared.  Pauline, you're right, we didn't really know each other and that was probably a good thing for you.  When I read about people who struggled with and suffered from alcoholic family members for years, my initial response is guilt because that is the kind of havoc and pain I brought on people I care about.  My only comfort comes from the fact that, having worked the steps and my program of recovery, that person no longer exists.  I am simply incapable of doing the things I did, as long as I do not pick up a drink.  My life today is very fulfilling. When I come around, people are actually happy to see me (for the most part) and I am a fully participating member of my family for my wife, my kids, my grandsons and our Husky, Brady, a dog named after a GOAT.  I certainly couldn't say either for a very long time.  My life far exceeds anything I could even imagine when I was drinking.  For many years, I tried quitting by myself and it never worked. It started with walking into a room of very happy, welcoming people and realizing that whatever it was, I wanted what they had.  I kept coming and, one-day-at-a-time, with their help, the fog lifted and things got better.  Eventually, I started getting healthy enough to start helping other people just like me.  Today, I can look at all of these posts and see the strength and compassion for what it is and realize I want to be a part of that.  I am very proud of all of you and and proud of being your classmate.

04/03/21 03:37 PM #35    

John Dewey

Another good organization is the Council on Aging.  In my town (Hanover Ma)  they helped me with fining the best Medicare plan for me.  I played cribbage there every Monday, and when I missed a few weeks, they called me to see ifeverything was o.k.  They called me once an month to see how I am coping with all the COVID restrictions.

Every week when I was leaving cribbage folks would be lined up for their weekly lunchon.  For many folks this was the only socialization all week.  Hopefuly this will start up again.

I am sure Needham's COA is just as caring.


Just a thought.  Thanks and be well.

04/03/21 04:15 PM #36    


Pauline Harwood (Wright)

Jim, back when we were in high school I was probably co dependent, and wouldn't have even noticed, I thought it was normal!  50 years later I've learned a few things about setting boundaries and taking care of myself and letting go with love. yes forgiveness is the greatest gift I gave myself !  I'm so happy that you went thought the hard part and came through the other side to have joy in your life! I'm grateful I have too . Although not perfect . As life never is, being grateful is another gift I've learned , grateful that out class has so many warm people .  I'm going through kind of a tough time right now with one of my sons , and one son isn't talking to the other, it breaks my heart. 







04/03/21 04:16 PM #37    


Pauline Harwood (Wright)

Ps, I'm not dancing on a bar this time, I just had a hip replacement 

04/03/21 05:30 PM #38    


Suzanne Pike (Seri)

I feel like I know all of you so much better now than I did in HS.  Love the posts!  Life on life's terms is what I call the stuff I go through; this too shall pass.  Every day is a gift.  Every NHS reunion is a blast! (Rockets, blast, unintentional pun)...

I remember the trip to Mtl, I ended up at McGill U, I remember where I stayed for that trip too.  Sooo much fun.  I think my pic in black/white was taken on a ledge up on Mt Royal during that trip, or right when I started college.  Derf was smoking a cigar on the bus, we were sleeping in the was a band/chorus trip that I was on.  Guess there were other trips too.  Fun times!

04/06/21 12:40 PM #39    


Janet Gilfoy (Stark)

I also went on the Montreal trip. The family I stayed with didn't have anyone in chorus.  Does anyone remember Mr Narducci cutting his hand and not being able to conduct one of our songs? I didn't have many friends in high school so I really didn't hang out with anyone.

I response to class gift I think Community Council is great but would anyone be interested in food donations to local food pantry? I know some of out classmates are coming from a long way away but maybe there could be a bin for groceries. We can find out what items they are in need of closer to October. Just a thought.

Everyone stay safe.


04/06/21 03:59 PM #40    


Melinda Bliss

I was on both the Paris trip in 1970 and the Montreal band/chorus trip in 1971.  Janet, you and I should have gotten together, because, while in chorus, my host student had no interest in hanging out with the visiting kids.  Her parents were nice though!

Linda, the Paris trip was by far one of the highlights of my life!  It created a life-long love of travel, culture and Paris/France for me.  I've been back twice.  Margie Wallace and Connie Stratton were my roommates.  Margie and I still reminisce about it when we see each other and she reminds her grandkids that we went there together when we were in high school!


04/07/21 07:02 AM #41    


Barbara Bowen (Carr)

Nice to hear your memories, Mindy & Janet! Funny, I don't remember my host family at all, just the things we did there. I tend to be a person who has a few close friends. I kept in touch with my best friend from high school for many years & then, she dropped the connection a few years ago. Made me sad, because we live close enough that we could get together, particularly now that I'm retired. I'm in touch with two college friends--one continuously & one who I reconnected with, a few years ago, on Facebook.

Another high school memory I have is the only time I skipped classes (boring childhood!) to sing Christmas carols in the halls of NHS. Were any of you there with me?

04/07/21 03:14 PM #42    


Linda L. Marston, PhD

Melinda, thanks for recalling the trip to France.  I need to find my old pictures.  I bought a small oil painting, probably at Montmatre, and a barometer with a molded metal depiction of Mont Saint Michel in Normandy, both of which are still hung up in my home today.  When I had few possessions in my college dorm rooms and later apartments, I had those momentos to remind me of how fortunate I was to be able to go on that trip.  

04/07/21 03:36 PM #43    


Suzanne Pike (Seri)

The band/chorus trip was the one I was on, then I attended McGill U, then I spent time in Levier, France living w a French family who didn't speak English.  That was the point of staying there.  It was a small village, and a group of us Americans aged about 20 or 21 all stayed w families.  Mon dieu, my French got really good back then!  Montmartre was a fun place to go, our group went to Paris, as well as on a camping trip to the south of France.  Perpignan, other places that apparently had some houses of ill repute, to put it delicately.

Our family went to Paris quite a few yrs ago.  Our dgtr thought it would be funny to push me gently sideways so my sneaker came in contact w a large pile of merde du chien (dog poop).  All the shopkeepers were at their doorways as we walked by, so I had no curbs to scrape it off.  We assigned her the job of washing it off my sneaker when we arrived back at the hotel..ah, pre-adolescence!  Fun times!

Mindy and Janet, and Margie (I'm in contact w her via Words w Friends), we could have fun w languages!  Duolingo online and on phones helps me learn Portuguese, but I've been lax about doing my lessons lately.

Hope you all are using your French-Janet, you may have had some French-speaking pts?  I had some when I did VNA in Cambridge.  Now, my French is pathetically pathetic.  Michele Hartigan speaks it fluently, she's on the website here, maybe she'd like to have a conversation w anyone wanting to brush up on their French.

Have a good afternoon/eve/night/day depending on where in the world you are!

04/08/21 03:12 PM #44    


Melinda Bliss

Linda, I too have prints from Paris - one from Montmartre for sure, the other two are from, I don't know, maybe a tourist trap or the Louvre.  I dont' recall.  All matted and framed and two were hanging on my wall until I got one I liked better a few years ago.  I also have a doll from Chartres that sits prominently on my bookshelves to this day. 

Sue, I'm FB friends with Michele, and that's where I practice my French a bit.  I'm studying Portuguese daily on DuoLingo, due to my food pantry work.  Spanish and Portuguese have come in very handy in my work there!  Why I can speak "foods" in 4 languages!  I only speak un peu de francais with the manager there, for our own amusement.  I too play Words with Friends with Margie and Anna Fontecchio and am always happy to try my luck with other friends.  I've also noticed over the years how many of my long-term friends were language majors as I was, even though we followed other career paths.



04/09/21 07:27 PM #45    


Suzanne Pike (Seri)

Melinda, that's really cool!  They say there are no in Falmouth, there are lots of Portuguese-speaking people.  Brazilian Portuguese is different from that in Portugal and Cape Verde.  I find that the words aren't pronounced the way they're written, so it's harder than Spanish.  Italianate Latin and Italian also aren't spoken the way they're written .  Esp the words chi and ci-totally opposite what you'd think they'd sound like.

Looking back over the past 50 yrs, we've had so many wonderful experiences!  Hard times too-but we have each other, such a big class, and we never have to be alone again.  Gratitude is wonderful.  Haven't seen you on Words yet, but the game recommended Margie as a player for me, so I messaged her, and now we play too.  Knowing other languages definitely helps think up big words.  My nursing training also adds to my word vocab, but my husband defeats me by more than 100 pts most of the time, and his first language is Hebrew.  He uses strategy.  Gah!  I play our son too, and Anna.

Duolingo is funny-sometimes they have ridiculous sentences to translate.  Flies love chocolate.  Who is going to say that????  I love chocolate-would rather say that!

Happy language-learning!  So glad you write to Michele-my French got sooo rusty, I'm surprised she understands what I'm writing.

A bientot!

04/10/21 02:56 PM #46    


Melinda Bliss

Sue, I totally agree with you about Brazilian Portuguese!!!  I took a class at the local voc-tech school and got nothing out of it for a number of reasons, including that everyone there except I spoke some BP already.  So, I tried again with DuoLingo.  Things are definitely NOT pronouced the way they look, and I found if I didn't say things correctly, I got puzzled stares from clients at the food pantry!  The DL sentences ARE bizarre, but the repetition helps this old brain.

I have a cousin-in-law, a retired teacher who also beats me 75% of the time at WWF, as do two work friends of Jim.  Margie set me up when I was looking at knee surgery, so I have no idea how to invite anyone!  She might have done it through FB.  Now, I just accept invitations when I get them.  Sad!

Take care and I'll see you on the Cape or at the reunion!  50 years, unbelievable!



04/11/21 06:34 PM #47    


Suzanne Pike (Seri)

Sim!  And how, Melinda!

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