Penncrest High School
Class of 1963


Newsletter Number 1

April 1996


The Reunion is Around the Corner

If you're still counting, our 35th reunion is around the corner. It seems like a worthwhile idea to commemorate the occasion by starting a newsletter to keep everyone informed about where we are and what we're doing. The newsletter will be a permanent (but irregular) publication that we hope will serve as a vehicle to bring us together again. Accordingly, there will be announcements, interviews, news, and of course we will always print the newsletter using an adequately large typeface which many of us have grown to prefer.

So far the only decision we've made about the 35th reunion is that it will be held in 1998, unless everyone gets down to the appropriate reunion weight before then. In fact, we will offer a prize to the person who attends the next reunion and reports the largest weight loss. Your picture will be your proof.

We Need Your Help Big Time

According to the office at Penncrest we are a very difficult class to keep track of, which explains why we have a total of eight names on record. The fate of our list from the last reunion is a very sad tale. Our class list was being guarded and maintained by Rick Hevner high in an office tower in center city Philadelphia. Remember the movie, Towering Inferno? Our list was there. Last we heard, the EPA said that our list was exposed to a very high dioxin level. Then they shredded the list and scattered it over a remote landfill.

So much for the old list, it's time to start again. Included with the newsletter is the current partially reconstructed list. As you can see, we need all the help we can get. Fortunately, there is a company attempting to create the complete Penncrest Directory and they have a professional staff researching names and addresses. Fortunately, they will help us.

How to Reach Us

At the moment we are working together to locate everyone, but it isn't easy. So if you have any information about a class member, or a parent, brother, sister, or friend please contact either Rick or Sandy at the following numbers:

Rick Hevner
Home (610) 827-2256
Work (215) 564-8280

Sandy Sorkin
Home (973) 744-6838
Work (973) 744-2900
Fax (973) 744-2129

If you don't have time to help us search for people, assign the task to a parent or child, and I guess grandchildren should also be included. Please review the list and get back to us as quickly as you can with additions or corrections

Name the Newsletter

There is an unwritten law that is now written: every first issue of a newsletter must have a name the newsletter contest. So go forth and name it. The first prize winner will receive a choice of a free subscription to the newsletter or a personal portrait drawn on a napkin at the reunion by the second place contributor. Second prize is a felt tip pen and small supply of napkins.

We would also welcome any thoughts regarding newsletter topics, or format. If you have a story, or wouldn't mind a short interview please call or write to Sandy.


What's a reunion without committees? At the moment the only committees are the newsletter committee and the list committee. The members include:

Newsletter Committee:
Editor, Sanford Sorkin
Contributor, Richard Hevner

List and Calling Committee:
List Keeper, Rick
Other List Keeper, Sandy

Reunion Planning (Proposed):

As you can see our resources are spread thin, and we welcome any and all participation. Just call us and you can become the State Chairperson for your State; if you want to be a Regional Coordinator just tell us what they do and the position is yours. A complete list of committees will be in a forthcoming issue.


Do you want a home page? The technology is here. It seems strange to ask the question, but the time has come. If you think we should have a home page please send your thoughts to:

Hard to imagine, but when we were at Penncrest, the Franklin Institute was running a UNIVAC with tubes and they boasted that it could compute an entire company's payroll in under 3 days.

And Some Questions?

Should we consider a class gift? What would it be and how much would it cost?

Would you prefer a reunion dinner or a weekend reunion with dinner one evening followed by a picnic the next day?

Where should we have the reunion? The Media area is the most likely choice, but we can consider a hotel in downtown Philadelphia, or any other city for that matter.

Do you think we could arrange a tour of Penncrest? Do you want a tour of Penncrest?

When is the best time to schedule our reunion?

Any recommendations or suggestions will be included in the next issues of the newsletter. (If nobody gets back to me with ideas and suggestions, I will fabricate them and report them as fact.)

Reunion Planning & Startup Party

Rick Hevner will host a reunion planning party at his farm in Chester County, PA when we get a few volunteers. He has a beautiful horse farm out in the country with plenty of room. At the moment, he is waiting for the committee volunteers and some suggestions regarding the best time to schedule the party.

And the Year Was 1963

The US Supreme Court ruled that all defendants are entitled to council and decided that it was unconstitutional to recite the Lord's Prayer in public school.

We had one movie house in Media, a train to Philadelphia, and a trolley to Upper Darby. Fifteen cent hamburgers were introduced with ten cent fries.

The Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed and Dr. M. L. King made his "I have a dream..." speech. Coca-Cola introduced TAB and DeBakey used the first artificial heart during an operation.

We heard about Camelot and then about Viet Nam. You could get your driver's license the day after your 16th birthday. There were no computers at Penncrest--the only technology we saw was a language lab.

Fly Me To the Moon was a popular song until the Beatles invented real music and gave us I Want To Hold Your Hand.

In sports the LA Dodgers beat the Yankees 4-0 in the World Series. The Phillies didn't quite make it.

Penncrest High School held its fifth graduation ceremony for the Class of 1963. Many of us went to PHS from 7th to 12th grade. Most of us went to school in buses; we saw split sessions, and never actually saw any construction on the new wing.

1963 saw the last recorded attack by the Boston Strangler and President Kennedy was assinated.

Penncrest 1963

I've spoken to a number of people about class reunions and am somewhat nonplussed by the reactions. In retrospect it is obvious that not everyone loved their secondary school experience and many students wanted the agony of high school to end so they could get on with their lives. Overall, I guess I was very lucky to have enjoyed the high school years, which is probably a tribute to friends and the times and not the direct result of any special action on my part. It is also probable that many of my memories have been "enhanced" over the years, making the good ones better and burying the bad ones.

But thirty-five years has most likely changed us all. We will remember our old friends and meet others who we barely recognize, taking a few moments to remember exactly who they are (and what they looked like) and then to recollect some mutual experience. The reunion is our time to meet again and find that many of our old friends have traveled all over the world accumulating stories; formed families across the United States and joined communities; some of our classmates have probably made significant contributions that we have read about in our newspapers while others have much more local influence--making their significant contributions in the community. The 35th Reunion is the time to meet our friends again--to relate our stories and to listen to others.

I am sure that many of you remember the 25th. I remember it being special because it wasn't a competition, it was a reunion. I received so many warnings about what to expect, that it was heartening to see how our class came together after so many years without missing a beat.

Another surprise was that so many from the Class of 1963 still live in the Southeastern part of Pennsylvania. It must still have a lot to offer for so many to remain. I don't get to the Media area very often, and I'm told that there are malls now, and sleepy Rose Tree Road is a thoroughfare--a shortcut to the mall. I guess there are still teenagers swimming at Springton Reservoir watching for patrolling guards, and I wonder if Gradyville ever made it onto a map.

Before this, and before the Media Bypass was built, our whole community was easily isolated from the world by snow storms. A single tree across the road would keep us at home an extra day. It's true that the snow was deeper in those days, but that's a story for our children and we are expected to improve the deep snow episodes before relating them to grandchildren. Now it's difficult to imagine a parent allowing a child to hitchhike (maybe we weren't allowed?) or play in the woods, and we will always have the memory of the days when it wasn't necessary to lock the doors at night. I don't personally have that particular memory, but it seems popular and expresses the nature of the times very well.

We will have our 35th Reunion in 1998 and I am confident that we can complete the class list so that everyone gets an invitation. Please do a little research and phone Rick or me. If the calls come in, by the next newsletter we will have new committee members, new ideas, and hopefully some new stories to tell.

Updated on 12/11/12