By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – Although the building that housed Hudson Catholic High (HCH) was recently demolished, its school spirit continued as the class of 1965 celebrated a 50-year reunion weekend Sept. 25 to 27. They were the sixth class to graduate from HCH and the fourth to include boys.
The majority of them also attended grades one through eight together at St. Michael’s School (SMS), the next-door building that was recently razed. Among those 12-year alumni is Larry Letendre, the reunion committee co-chair.
“Most of us bonded as 6-year-olds in the first grade,” he noted. “A lot of us have kept in touch with each other either via emails or social media.”
They’ve also interacted at several reunions. Classmates have previously gathered at the Hudson-Concord Elks Lodge 959 for five-, 10-, 15-, 25- and 35-year reunions. Each of the first four reunions drew over 40 of the 75 classmates. Their 35-year reunion was held jointly with the Hudson High School class of 1965.
“We might not see each other for years, but then when we get together it’s as if we haven’t skipped a beat,” Letendre said. “Everybody remembers our 15th reunion when they were doing the Limbo. Gerry Brodeur fell backward on his shoulder and an ambulance rushed him to the hospital.”
There are more upbeat memories of their 25-year reunion when Letendre and Nancy Kelly Burbank performed a comedic sketch.
“We poked fun at everything from being raised Catholic to the nuns,” he recalled. “We also had a slideshow and a tape recording of a supposed nun after her retirement.”
Other than two lay teachers, all of the HCH faculty at the time were Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. That’s another topic of their reunion conversations.
“We often talk about the nuns – and most of the time we end up laughing,” Letendre said. “Some of the nuns were over-the-top and probably shouldn’t have been doing the scare tactics they did. But it was the discipline of the nuns as an extension of my parents that gave me the moral fiber that I have today.”
Another memory of the 25-year reunion for them was seeing their classmate Eddie Ginnetti. His band performed at the Saturday night Town Hall dances while they were in high school.
“Eddie has been a quadriplegic for about 35 years, and his brother brought him to our 25th,” Letendre relayed. “Eddie has been a fighter all his life.”
The 50-year reunion weekend began with a casual get-together Friday evening at the Horseshoe Pub in Hudson. Classmates met Saturday morning where HCH was formerly located, now a construction site for Rite Aid and Marlborough Savings Bank.
That evening, 38 classmates gathered with 22 guests at Best Western Royal Plaza Hotel in Marlborough. Joining them were three of their SMS classmates, who began at HCH and graduated elsewhere. Travelling the farthest was Mike Bourque of Texas. Thirteen classmates are deceased.
The reunion planning committee also included Barbara Jagling Richards, co-chair; Nancy Kelly Burbank and Mary Conley Lamburn, memorial board; Joyce Tarbell, greeter; Carol Cennedella Quinn, class photo mailings; and Anne Ordway Wifholm; table decorations.
Letendre now lives in Georgia and was among out-of-town classmates who followed their alma maters’ demolitions on Facebook.
“That campus is where I spent a significant amount of time, so it was very sad,” he said. “One of my classmate’s daughters was able to get a HCH brick for me. That brick will hold a special place with my memorabilia.”
Classmates returned to the Best Western for Sunday brunch to continue reminiscing and create new memories.
“We’ve always felt like a real family,” Letendre said.