As a teenager, Rit Pidgeon always looked forward to Election Day.
He was sort of a red state guy — and always rooted against the blue state.
As quarterback for Mont Pleasant High School’s Red Raiders, Pidgeon loved the annual Election Day rumble against Linton High’s Blue Devils.
“The night before, we had a big bonfire,” said Pidgeon, who graduated in the class of 1965. “We always had a stuffed Blue Devil football player we burned up.”
There will be no fires next month, when Mont Pleasant’s classes of 1965 and 1966 gather for 50- and 49-year reunions. But there will be stories, hugs and handshakes: The laughs will start Friday, Sept. 25, with an informal gathering at the Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. The main event takes place Saturday, Sept. 26, with dinner and music at the Rotterdam Elks Club.
Pidgeon and his wife, Marie Marmo Pidgeon — Marie is part of the 1966 crew — are helping to organize the party weekend. So is Rachel Elacqua Cameron, another ’65 graduate; questions about the reunion can be sent to Pidgeon at [email protected]
All three organizers have memories of teenage life during the mid-1960s.
Rotterdam resident Rit Pidgeon remembers something thousands of other kids probably remember from their school years — lining up in the cafeteria to buy small cartons of milk for 2 cents each. Chocolate cost 3 cents.
Marie Pidgeon remembers the quests for pizza.
“We used to walk up to Cristello’s pizzeria and there was a Lindy’s pizza in Bellevue we used to go to,” she said. “We had house parties, pajama parties; the girls would get together and have them.”
Boys ever crash them? “It depended on the parents,” Marie said.
And of course, the 1960s dress code was in place for Mont Pleasant. Girls wore dresses or skirts; no pants were allowed. “The guys all wore chinos or a nice pair of slacks,” Marie said.
Rock and Unity
And yeah, yeah, yeah, rock ’n’ roll was big. Elvis and the Beatles were big. So were Simon and Garfunkel and the Kingston Trio.
Cameron, who also lives in Rotterdam, remembers unity. “The number one thing for me was we learned to get along with everyone,” she said. Race, religious beliefs and socio-economic status were all respected. Teachers were also respected, Cameron said, and kids learned the value of teamwork. Mont Pleasant’s words of wisdom: “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Serve” were remembered by many.
Cameron misses the dances of the era, like the “Stroll” and the “Mashed Potato.” And the formal affairs.
“The senior ball and junior prom were both held in the cafeteria,” Cameron said. “We decorated like crazy. It was an honor to be on the decorating committee.”