Bruce Pause of Schenectady remembers autumn baseball at Mont Pleasant High School.
“During your study hall period, you could go down to the auditorium,” Pause said. “They had a TV set up on the stage. You could sit and watch the World Series. Back then, the World Series was always during the day.”
“Back then” was the early 1960s. Petta’s Kitchen on Duane Avenue, Johnnie DeMarco’s Original Pizzeria on Michigan Avenue, drive-in theaters and house parties were among top diversions for members of Mont Pleasant’s Class of 1962.
The class will gather for its 50th anniversary reunion on Friday, Oct. 19 and Saturday, Oct. 20. The first night will be an informal get-together at Petta’s. The Saturday dinner and dance will be held at Mallozzi’s in Rotterdam.
Members of the reunion committee have their memories ready.
Patty Venditti Pause — she and Bruce married on July 2, 1966 — remembers dances during the early days of rock ’n’ roll. “We used to practice in each other’s garages,” she said. “The twist, the pony, the stroll. We used to have a bonfire for our pep rallies, which was a huge thing.”
Pizza was one favorite. Ice cream was another.
“We used to love to meet in groups and get ice cream for 10 cents at Bob’s Sundae Bar on Upper Broadway in Bellevue,” Patty added. “You could make your own sundae; it was like a new thing. We went there often, it was like 35 cents, maybe 50 cents, for the sundae.”
Tom Versocki of Glenville was one of the big men on campus. Versocki was a center on the Mont Pleasant football team that won two games, lost five and tied one in the fall of ’61. Versocki was voted to the School Boy All-American third team and later played as a collegian at Holy Cross.
The Jukebox and the television
Off the field, Versocki remembers house parties and the good Italian food at Petta’s. “We used to feed the jukebox,” he said. “One of the big things for us was Ray Charles and Dave Brubeck — we wore out the Petta’s jukebox playing ‘Take Five.’ ”
Carol Weidman Versocki, Tom’s wife, thinks of cherry Cokes and Sokolov’s department store on Broadway at Hegeman Street when she reaches back to 1962. There was also a color television set at the Weidman home, and that caused a minor sensation for teenagers of the time. “I gained a few friends,” Carol said, remembering the western drama “Bonanza” in particular. “It was the program that I can remember came on in color.”
“The Lawrence Welk Show” was always on. “There wasn’t any choice in the matter,” Carol said, remembering her parents’ preference.
Marie Qualantone Palmer of Clifton Park recalls parties in Central Park. “You’d meet kids from all over the city,” she said. “We’d go into the Casino for ice cream or food. I still remember going up to Central Park to swim in the pond.”
The kids from 1962 also remember their teachers. Students liked their instructors so much, they often stayed after school just to shoot the breeze with them.
Any class member who’d like to shoot the breeze during the 50th reunion can contact the committee at MPHS62@hotmail.com or call Tom Versocki at 882-9717 or 399-7897.