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Sunday, May 3, 2015

55th West Point Reunion

   From Thursday to Sunday we have been dry camping in the parking lot of the Sheraton/Mahwah, NJ.  It's a big complex mix of commercial offices on floors 2-12 and hotel accommodations above that.  It was chosen for it's proximity to West Point and it's being adjacent to I-287.

     We checked in and confirmed our parking permission with the hotel.  

     Then we found a quiet place to park.  We would be making extensive use of the generator, and this was a perfect spot.  It did mean a half mile walk to the hotel, but we managed with some discomfort.  Friday morning was a bus trip to West Point for facility tours, lunch at Ike Hall and briefings from the Supe, the Comm, the Dean, and the AD.  One of the new facilities is the USMA Prep School.

Then there were some more self-guided tours. 

     The statue is Eisenhower with the Supe's house in the background.

      Here we see the three couples from H-2 and one of the widows who was able to attend.
Friday night was the dinner dance.  Company H-2 did not have enough folks to occupy a whole table, but we did bring our own tablecloth.  The back story behind the tablecloth is worth the telling.  On Valentine's day of 1960 there was a special dinner at the Bergman's.  He was an eye sugeon whose daughter, Jitske, was engaged to one of the H-2 cadets.  The table was set for a dozen: candelabra, linen tablecloth, silver, wine, etc.  Somehow, a bottle of wine was spilled.  Jitske and her mother agreed to write off the tablecloth.  Everyone present autographed the tablecloth.  In subsequent reunions the tablecloth collected more and more signatures.  Jitske embroidered the signatures, so that they wouldn't be lost with fading.  Over the years, many H-2 signatures appeared.  Durelle cross-stitched over many of them.  Now the tablecloth is a wonderful source of many memories.

         The "graffiti" and wine stains are original.  There was no more wine spilled on it this year.  You get less rambunctious as you approach our ages.  By the way, the DJ announced that the first dance was reserved for those who had been married more than fifty years.  The dance floor couldn't  hold them all!

         Saturday was the Alumni Review.  After painful review, I decided to join  the "walking wounded" and join the class after they had marched on.  The next two pictures are courtesy of John and Jackie Fare, Maine camping buddies with whom we shared the day.

     That's me headin' out.  I found a spot in the rear rank and observed what my legs thought was an interminable parade.  Below is a picture of the class of '60 in the bleachers.  The collective contributions of that group are hard to measure.

     After the parade was lunch in the cadet dining hall.  The Fare's live just north of West Point, so we invited them to join us for the parade and lunch in Washington Hall.  Jackie's gift made Durelle's birthday.


     Above is a small section of the 120 foot wide mural at one end of the dining hall.  Later there was a memorial service for our fallen classmates in the cadet chapel.

     It was a grueling weekend for those not well equipped for walking, but we are already talking about our 60th.
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