Paul's 50th high school reunion (Northfield-Mount Hermon)

Sunday, June 6th, 2010
NMH Dinner

In 1960 Paul graduated from Mount Hermon School, a boy’s boarding school in western Massachusetts that is situated on old farm land near the Connecticut River. In June 2010 Fran and I returned for my 50th reunion. We saw the sights and people that influenced me during those formative years. My time at Mount Hermon was a positive growth experience, and I probably learned as much during my four years there as during any other period of my life. 

The academic regimen was rigorous and the physical regimen was rigorous for 500 boys isolated in the middle of nowhere. With regard to the isolation we experienced, we might as well have been stationed on Alcatraz, (but not as a jail). We actually felt we ran the place, and in a way we did. We had our own farm (where I learned to milk a cow), our own kitchen, our own cleaning staff, our own laundry – with all labor provided by the boys except for some (often minimal) oversight,. We even had our own power plant for electricity and steam heat, with coal shoveled by the boys direct from our own railroad siding.

NMH Barn

Not surprisingly, things have changed somewhat since then. Child labor laws and child safety were not the concern then that they are now. At the time our sister school, Northfield, was located five miles away on the other side of the Connecticut River. The schools have since merged and now have a single campus on what had been the boys’ campus. There was supervised “dating” between the two schools (VERY supervised), and my good friend Shirley was my girlfriend during this period. This 50th reunion was shared with 150 graduating girls of our then sister school.

I will give some observations, as follows:

1. For the reunion we were housed in the dormitories. Amazingly, the dorm rooms in Crossley were indistinguishable from how they were 50 years ago, except for the addition of internet access lines. Can you, or can you not, “Go Back”? I was all set to shortsheet my fellow students once again.

2. As the 50th reunion group, we were the honored class. I was pleasantly surprised that almost all of my fellow students appeared in relatively good physical condition, sane, intelligent, and friendly. However I was the only one to bring a complete set of clothing from my school days more than 50 years ago and to wear them to one of our dinner ceremonies. Perhaps one of the stranger things was that, unless explanation was offered, almost no one seemed to notice anything unsual in my dress. 

3. One morning there was the annual alumni run, and I was the only member of our class to turn out for it.  I can’t say that I ran very fast. But I do remember those hills – exactly the same as they were 50 years ago. It’s the reason why our cross country team was so successful. I joke that I ran ahead of Olympian Frank Shorter...but by about five years (he was class of ’65). After those hills, anything else was a piece of cake.

4. I used to run and ski through the woods. Cross country skiing through those woods was particularly problematic. I’d get lost, or get a ski caught under a limb or root covered by snow, and just pick myself up and keep on going until I found a country road and skied back to school. This in temperatures that were often in the ‘teens or lower.

See more photos.