That photo of me sits on a little shelf in my mom’s dining room. Mom is gone now, but the photo is still there in the Cramer Hill home where my brothers live. Its place hasn’t changed. Have I? Of course. That photo is what they call “back in the day.”
I didn’t like that photo at the time because it wasn’t glamorous, but that was how I looked. I was still a junior in high school, seventeen, and I went to a photo studio in downtown Camden for this senior class picture. Maybe some of my Woodrow Wilson High, Class of 1968, remember the name of the studio?
I was nervous. I’d heard stories of how that drape slipped down. How terrible it would be if that happened to me. (It did not.)
The photo was going to be a big deal. It would appear in our yearbook and we would keep our yearbooks forever and ever–or so I imagined. I still have mine and it’s fifty years now.
Everyone would have wallet-size photos made for family and friends. It would be one of our most important photos. A photo would sit on a family shelf for years–no, for decades.
Now I appreciate that photo and I don’t mind that it wasn’t glamorous. Ah, to be young! Wow, so innocent! Oh, to be in high school and to know what I know now!
What I do know is that our class reunion is coming up. Here’s the info: October 20th, Saturday night at Braddock’s Tavern. 39 South Main Street, Medford, NJ 08055 6:45 p.m. to 11 p.m. $75 for buffet and dancing. Cash bar. Check payable to Woodrow Wilson 50th Reunion. Send to Alberta Wolf, 25 Bear Head Rd., Medford, NJ 08055. Please send by October 5th.
I also know that I wish that I had known more classmates. Most of the people I knew were from my elementary school years in North Camden, my junior high years at Vets, my college prep classes and my W-Z homeroom. That sounds like a lot of people, but it was not. We had over four hundred students in that senior class–so many great people–but it was hard for anyone to know everyone.
Yes, I did have friends in high school, but not enough time to be a social butterfly. I worked at Woolworth’s lunch counter at 26th and Federal Streets and I babysat when neighbor ladies went to bingo. (Minimum wage at Woolworths? $1.65/hourly. Babysitting? $1.00/hourly.) I gave my mother twelve dollars a week and bought my own clothing and little luxuries–Seventeen magazine, cakes of Maybelline mascara, those dang Woolworth’s pantyhose that snagged on the school chairs.
It was a busy time of my life. I regret that I didn’t meet more people. I wish I had.
The October reunion will be my chance to meet some people who didn’t cross my path very much in high school. Someone is making badges with our senior photos so we can recognize each other. I told you that those pictures were going to be important.
I hope more people sign up to attend. Don’t worry about anything. Sign up!
I’ve put aside my concern that I’ll look too fat, too old, too tired, too unglamorous. Not rich, not famous, not interesting. Whatever. I figure being alive is celebratory enough for me to go to the reunion.
I’ve even thought that I won’t get annoyed when people say, “You still live in Camden?” Yes, I do. If you want my very long life story, wait until I write a memoir and you can buy the book in hardback. We can smile and hug and say, “So good to see you! You haven’t changed a bit!” That’ll do.
Of course, if you want to see photos of my grandchildren, I WILL be prepared.
Enjoy your day. Enjoy every day, week, month, year, decade. They sure do go by fast, don’t they?
Love to my readers,
Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra, Class of 1968 WWHS, Camden resident
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