Vince Dacquisto remembers fast times at Mohonasen High.
One of his Rotterdam friends, John Beverly, drove a blue and white Chrysler with big fins and a big 350-horsepower engine. John used to test the car’s speed along a patch of Helderberg Avenue he used as a private drag strip. Vince and other buddies were along for the rides.
“We actually timed his ‘runs’ and he never got caught,” Dacquisto said. “We were all thinking, ‘John — don’t get us killed!’ ”
Dacquisto will cruise down Memory Lane next month, as Mohonasen speed kings, prom queens, basketball stars and pep leaders from 1962 will gather for their 50th anniversary reunion. Dacquisto, along with Diann Barber Englehart, Patricia Barr Alheim and Elaine Smith Allen have been organizing the activities.
The parties will begin Friday, Oct. 5 at the Recovery Sports Grill on Curry Road in Rotterdam, followed by a Saturday dinner at Mallozzi’s restaurant on Curry Road. A Sunday morning breakfast at Tops American Grill on Duanesburg Road will conclude the festivities.
Niskayuna resident Dacquisto, a retired teacher from the Schenectady City School District, and other class members who are organizing the reunion, have stocked up on stories. Vince can tell people about the time John Beverly slowed down long enough to enter the Carman Drive-in with Dacquisto, Mark Mankowski, Bill Droms and Rick Constantino stuffed in the trunk. The guys got caught, and lost their planned discount for the outdoor movie.
Diann Barber Englehart was a cheerleader during her Mohonasen years, and remembers singing songs such as “In the Still of the Night” during bus trips after games. One side of the bus would sing the “shoo-do, shooby-do” chorus of the Five Satins’ song, while singers on the other side of the aisle handled the lyrics.
Englehart, who lives in Rotterdam and owned the Mechanical Testing construction-services company with her husband Al, said Rose’s diner on Hamburg Street was a great postgame gathering spot. Rollarama, the roller skating rink on Hamburg, was another place Mohonasen teens wheeled when classes were not in session.
Patricia Barr Alheim, a retired manager of human resources at CGU Property and Casualty Insurance in Albany, remembers trips to the Rolling Greens Lanes bowling alley. “Hardly a weekend went by when you didn’t go bowling,” said Alheim, who now lives in Ballston Lake. “We walked to a lot of places. Not to school, but we walked on weekends.”
Alheim remembers spending her teen years in a simpler time. “It was just such a wonderful, fun-loving experience,” she said. “We didn’t have to worry about drugs; in my world there were no drugs. You didn’t have to worry about that with your friends.”
Alheim will always remember June 3, 1961, the night of “Orchids in the Moonlight” — the theme for Mohonasen’s junior prom. Young Patricia was chosen prom queen.
“It was just a thrill, of course,” she said. “Even back then, it was a very humbling experience to know my peers felt like that.”