Hurricanes to take trip down memory lane at 45th reunion

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“We can’t return,” reads a line inside the 1974 Gryphon. “We can only look behind from where we came!”

On Saturday, June 15, there will be plenty of looking back – reminiscing of what was and wasn’t – when the Class of 1974 from Warwick Veterans Memorial High School holds what’s being billed as a unique and fun-filled trip down memory lane.

Debbie Anderson Petisce, whose career included working for the Warwick School Department as a teaching assistant for 36 years and was a nationally certified pharmacy tech for three decades at Kent Hospital, has issued the call for “all Hurricanes forever” to attend the 45th reunion and what promises to be the beat bash in the unique Class of ’74’s history.

The reunion will be held at the Tri-City Elks located at 1915 West Shore Road in Warwick, and as committee members noted “just a few doors and stone’s throw from our alma mater.”

Petisce, who has teamed with classmates Marie Martini Genest, Sue Theriault Hartington, Chris Furlong Murphy and Ron Wheaton in planning the reunion, also announced “this will be a pig roast-luau with baked beans, potato salad, corn bread, apple sauce and salad and the cost is $60 per person.

Craig LaChapelle, a member of the Trip-City Elks, has taken on the task of preparing the night’s dinner and will cook the pig on the premises. A cocktail hour will begin at 6 o’clock

Chuck Holmes, a popular Warwick resident who is known for his musical talents, will serve as the reunion’s disc jockey and as Petisce said earlier this week “if we have a favorite song or type of music to play, he’ll meet that request all we have to do is make up a list.”

The 45th committee is also planning to have lawn games such as corn holes, horse shoes, darts, etc. on the well-manicured green grass of Rossi Park that’s located in the rear of Lodge 14.

“Unfortunately, we’ve had some members of our class pass away,” Petisce went on. “So we’ll have a memorial honoring those classmates.”

Tri-City’s famous tiki bar will be open and Petisce said “our great friend Dawn Kidd has volunteered to be the bartender and is looking forward to a fun-filled night.”

“I’m really looking forward to seeing our classmates,” offered Wheaton, who has enjoyed success as a cabinet salesman for years. “Our 40th reunion was special; this one will probably top that and I hope we’re all around for the 50th.”

During a recent reunion committee meeting, Wheaton disclosed that his favorite music back then was David Bowie while Hartington said she liked Chicago and Petisce enjoyed the Rolling Stones. As for Genest, her favorite was Elton John and Furlong said, “My favorite back then was Rod Stuart.

So, the Class of 1974 from Warwick Veterans Memorial High School, which had not one but two valedictorians (Donna Lamoureux and Judith Forcier) and three salutatorians (Joseph Bellucci, Joseph Romano and David Dowler) was unique in a number of areas from academics to athletics that included winning championships in girls’ and boys sports.

Thus, many members of the spirited class will gather once again to reminisce and remember when they attended one of the best high schools in the state, a school that has since been closed and is now a middle school. Yet, as Petisce and committee members want it known: “Those memories will live forever.”

Anyone who’d like to reserve a ticket for the June 15 reunion should call Petisce at 739-5956.

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