While Sputnik orbited the earth in 1957, the Viet Nam War continued, the Dodgers left Brooklyn, and West Side Story opened on Broadway, those of us who entered Midwood High School in 9th grade went to the Kensington Annex on 18th Avenue, some of us taking two buses to get there.
Those who came in as sophomores were either detoured to Kensington or welcomed into the main building, which was bursting at the seams as it was (with 1200 and 1500 students in the upper grades). As we struggled to win Sing as sophomores in 1958-59, NASA was created, Nelson Rockefeller was elected Governor of New York, and Elvis had started serving his stint in the military. The United States gained two more states — Alaska and Hawaii —and passed the first Civil Rights Act. We witnessed the beginning of school integration, and Sidney Poitier debuted on Broadway in "Raisin in the Sun."
In 1960, USSR Premier Nikita Khrushchev banged his shoe at the United Nations, Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain won the National Basketball Association MVP and Rookie of the Year, and New York Yankee Mickey Mantle broke the home-run record, while Midwood bestowed a humanitarian award to Dr. Tom Dooley (in person) for his work in Laos and Viet Nam. The Fantastiks opened at the Sullivan Street Playhouse, and we took the SATs.
In 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated President, the Berlin Wall was built, Alan Shepard became the first American in space, President Barack Obama was born, and, in our own race with time and space, we graduated from Midwood High School.
Between 1957 and 1961 — between noshing on burgers at Wolfie’s and malteds and egg-creams at the Sugar Bowl, hanging out in front of Cookie’s, Artie's pool hall and the pizzeria on Avenue J…singing "Wake up Little Susie" and "The Purple People-Eater" and crooning "Georgia on My Mind" and "Blue Moon"…dancing the Fish and Twist, the Lindy and Sroll…watching American Bandstand and TheDick Clark Show, listening to Murray the K and Cousin Brucie...watching episodes of "Have Gun, Will Travel" and "The Twilight Zone"… whispering about "Peyton Place"and "A Stone for Danny Fisher" and chortling over the zany humor of Mad Magazine — between all that, we managed to grow up.
Somehow, between Kensington, the cafeteria, B71, the halls of Midwood, and graduation on that hot, sticky day on the field of Brooklyn College, we turned into men and women, and moved on.
But we never forgot. In March of 2011, an enthusiastic committee of six alums banded together to make our 50th reunion a reality. We returned to our Brooklyn roots the weekend of September 24-26, and celebrated our Midwood High School years.
There were more than 1100 of us in the Class of ’61. So, 120 of us returned to Glenwood and Bedford Avenues in Brooklyn to mark the 50th anniversary milestone together. We found in the course of that weekend, that rather than having diminished in importance, the memories and the bonds of our days at Midwood High School had come to mean more, since time, wisdom and experience had empowered us to reflect on and appreciate what we had and who we were.
With joy, we discovered how very pleasurable the sharing and the getting acquainted and reacquainted is. And we began a new tradition for the Class of '61 -- that of reuniting, in two's, three's, and 100's in person across America, by phone, email, and here on this website.
This is the place, fellow sons and daughters of the Blue and White, our special place in cyberspace...