Penncrest High School
Class of 1963


Newsletter Number 2

March 1998


The Count is 100

The official reunion mid-February count is 100. The Official List keepers are now moving into high gear with phone calls, letters, and private investigators. If you have ever wanted to be an investigator and relish the authority to professionally annoy people on the phone, this is your big chance. For every wrong number that irritates a stranger, there will be a few good ones, and the reunion list will grow. If you don't have time to make calls, at least send us your leads.


We need some recommendations for contests or simple achievement awards to be presented at the reunion. Here are a few suggestions for awards that you may want to consider before sending in your own recommendations:

Dumbest Investment of the Last 35 Years- note that this is the dumbest not the worst. You will know that you qualify for this achievement award if you can demonstrate a loss of dignity as well as money. Additional credit will be given to anyone ridiculed by the national news media.

Most Married- not to be confused with married the longest. Compute the number of married years in all relationships by totaling all the combined years of marriage you and your spouse have accumulated. Because we're from the 60's cohabitation counts and may be added to your total.

Worst Reunion Experience- this award will be presented to the person that can relate the worst reunion experience at any school.

Most Children at Home- you can participate regardless of why they're there.

Most Years of Graduate Education Without a Degree- additional credit will be awarded for each change of major and school transfers.

Oldest Working Car Award- we're looking for those antique autos built before 1963, or better in 1963.

What's in a Name?

Does anyone know the origin of the name: Penncrest? I've heard stories about estates with that name and attribution to William Penn. But I can't imagine William Penn having any significant contact with the area- he was so intent on imaginatively laying out the streets of Philadelphia. (Having visited New York and Boston, I think we're lucky he owned a straightedge.) Did William ever stand on the top of a hill overlooking the future sight of Penncrest and marvel at the view? It's possible, and in retrospect we were fortunate for the name Penncrest when it could just have easily been christened Bill's Hill, Penn's Pinnacle, or Willy's Peak.

Betty Getz Kraut

Betty was the first to respond with class information. Unlike our Official List Keeper, she has saved names and addresses from the last reunion, which makes the hunt go so much faster. Her impeccable research has lengthened the list with the most difficult to find classmates - women who no longer have the names we knew.


Did anyone happen to own a camera between 1957 and 1963? If you send me those period pictures, I'll print them in future issues of the newsletter. Current photographs are also of interest if you happen to be standing beside a recognizable structure, or if you are confident that we'll recognize you.

If you or your parents were in the forefront of technology, I'm certain you have some wonderful 16mm film. If you do, keep it, nobody owns a 16mm projector anymore.

New Pictures

Let's prepare to document our reunion. Do we have any amateur photographers out there, or professional ones for that matter? Of course, we'll need photographic ground rules such as no picture taking without fair warning.

What would you prefer video, stills, or oil paintings? We need to come to some sort of consensus in the next few months.

On Location

How do you feel about selecting a Philadelphia hotel for the reunion? A hotel location sounds like a good idea. Does anyone have a recommendation for a site closer to the Media area? Then again, we could consider a moveable feast. One hundred alumni automobiles in a convoy cruising old neighborhoods. We are currently considering locations near the airport, close to Media, as well as downtown. So please forward your recommendations as soon as possible. At the moment, time is probably of the essence. We need to block some rooms.

About 35 Years Ago

Khrushchev demonstrated the quality of Russian shoes by banging them on a table at the UN. Black and white television was a necessity before it became an art form.

We would have been more accepting then of ketchup as a vegetable, in fact, many of us would have accepted it as an entire food group. Gasoline was less than 25 cents a gallon, but we still let our parents fill'er up. I believe we've seen a steady increase in automobile accidents since the stabilizing fins were removed from cars.

Plastic was getting sturdier and more desirable until its fame peaked with the recommendation in the film The Graduate. We may never again see cultural icons to rival Rocky and Bullwinkle. (It's a tough call deciding if we liked Rocky better as a squirrel or a boxer.)

No major graffiti incidents occurred at Penncrest while we were there (unless of course you include the Marple Newtown lion with the painted yellow streak), no cars were ever highjacked from the parking lot, but there were a few bomb scares.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll

Do we need a theme for this reunion or are we beyond that? I believe "Moon River" is the all-time theme record holder, but it would be impossible to find all of the crepe paper required to make it work. The Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll idea sounds too much like the old days. I don't remember if the phrase describes what we aspired to, of if it was a warning. Please feel free to submit theme ideas. Just be certain they don't involve any crepe paper, significant quantities of balloons, anything obviously illegal, or any songs that contains the words "angel", "teenager", or "Blueberry Hill."

Maybe we should consider a technology theme and actually have a pre-reunion with an internet chat room. We can probably get our own web page organized before the 50th.

If we do decide on a theme, I just hope the hotel or restaurant has a sense of humor and does all the decorating.


It may be hard to believe, but any item you saved from 35 years ago is now officially an antique. We may want to consider bringing some of the "good stuff" to the reunion. It would be interesting and probably jog a few memories. At this point I'm vague about what constitutes genuine Penncrest memorabilia. It may include issues of the Media News Comment or the Bulletin. There are probably a few sports programs, play announcements, or other items from dances or class trips. (I think we had at least one class trip.)

One striking thought is that if you saved every comic book, baseball card, doll, or silver coin you...but enough of that fantasy.

The Search is Still On

A number of us are planning to get back on the phones in mid to late March. If you can help, please let us know. Each time you reach an old friend you get an opportunity to exchange a few memories. Though it is difficult to catch up on nearly three and a half decades in a few minutes, you do get the highlights. We've already heard some wonderful stories and can imagine the reunion going far into the night.

Remember you can help by finding parents, siblings, and friends of our classmates. Every clue helps.

Back Page

In the April 1996 newsletter, I posed a number of questions about our Penncrest experiences and dwelt on the past. But memories are just that, and they lack the intrigue and mystery about what the future holds. I anticipated the once-in-a-lifetime events. Perceiving them as life's critical landmarks. I waited my whole life for Haley's Comet. I thought it would be incredible to read the history columns of magazines when they started to discuss the late 1940s--talking about a time when I was alive. I thought these passages in some way automatically gave you new perspectives. I had vague expectations of what this would mean in my life. But when these things happened, they seemed to have little meaning beyond simply reminding me that I was just a little bit older. Therefore, with nothing lost and nothing gained, I continue to wait for the world's fundamental changes.

One day of cloudy weather kept me from seeing the comet and the circumstances of May 1945 in Scientific American did little to keep my attention. The fact remains that there are too few events that significantly change our lives and we learn to cherish, or regret, the ones that do. However, there is the certainty that we will never forget those days and what we hoped they would signify.

At the half-century mark we earn the privilege of telling youngsters what they must do and what it was like when... My guess is that most of us fight this inclination, because we are also children of the 60's. After Korea and WWII, our generation had its own wars. Many made the commitment to protest and others were drafted. Which ever side you were on, one conclusion is clear--the world changed forever. Vietnam was not the only war. We fought just as hard against authority and what we perceived as excessive control over our lives. Not old enough to drink or vote we were always eligible for the draft. I don't know how history will say we fared in Vietnam. But it is apparent that our nation is reluctant to ever do anything like that again. Some went, some waited, some left, and we still remember classifications and draft lottery numbers.

I think we all eventually win the battle over authority, all generations do, until we slowly gain some wisdom and evolve into responsible adults. Awakening we find that we have broken the vow to never become our parents. How wonderful it is to see our children grow into adults of which we are very proud. Even so, we can be confident, that they will have something to recount to their analysts, and we won't be there to defend ourselves. So what will the future hold? Retirement seems to be on the list and we hope we made the best decisions concerning IRA's, stock plans, and pensions. We'll probably hear the old ant and grasshopper story a few thousand times right before we call it a day and retire. Though my guess is that we are mostly considering our next endeavors.

Where to retire is one of the really difficult decisions, but not even close to the question of what to do after retirement. Fortunately, I can imagine what I will do after retirement while the act of retiring is much too complicated for me to contemplate now. (Maybe the best time to retire is when we are told to.) But until I'm told it's time, I've got too much to do and I hope it always remains that way.

Updated on 12/11/12