Old classmates reignited friendships and shared memories of their teenage years as the Hicksville High School Class of 1964 came together recently to celebrate their 50th reunion at the Holiday Inn in Plainview.
Among the attendees was Bob Cheeseman who met his wife, Lorraine (Kirwan) in middle school. They were serious throughout high school and married soon after. Bob said, “I enlisted in high school and went into the Air Force. I did 30 years active Air Force and another 15 after that. I retired in 2010 as a Brigadier General. After I retired, my wife received a certificate from the Governor of Texas and was designated a Yellow Rose of Texas.”
Lorraine and Bob moved to Texas many years ago and drove to the reunion. “This was a big deal for me and my wife and we didn’t want to miss our 50th,” Bob said.
Cheerfully, Lorraine said, “We would come to school with giant curlers in our hair with scarves over them. Then we would go to the bathroom and comb out our hair.” She said, “The girls wore skirts and heels and the boys wore jackets and ties.” Lorraine said she had a 1952 red Chevrolet convertible that didn’t need a key to start it. She coyly explained, “It was broken and you could just use your nail or a bobby pin to start it. I wouldn’t mind when friends just jumped in and waved and took my car!”
Donna Lee Basso, a retired teacher, also met her husband Greg, while attending Hicksville High School. Greg worked for the Grumman Aircraft Corporation assembling war ships. The pair didn’t get married until 10 years after. Donna said, “We met in homeroom. I sat in front of him for four years and all he saw was the back of my head! He dated the girl that sat between us.”
When asked about being a baby boomer in a time of change, Greg said, “I went to Columbia University and the anger was so deep against the war. The protesters shut down the campus. It was rough. The girls didn’t feel it but the guys did. Not in ’64, the war was just starting.” Donna said, “We felt the assassination of Kennedy. It was very frightening. My mother didn’t want me to leave the house when I got home from school.”
When asked about their fondest memories from high school, Donna and Greg both credit their teachers. Donna said, “I think about our Latin teacher, Mr. Goldberg and our Driver’s Ed teacher.” Greg says, “I was inspired by both of them and can still hear their phrases in my ears today. Our teachers were important to us.”
Lorraine and her classmate Maureen Uss share a story that will bind them together forever. Maureen explained, “We were in 7th grade and on a swimming trip in Wading River when I got scared while in the water. It was Lorraine who saved me from drowning that day.”