Celebrating 50 years of the Class of 1971 BHS
by Tim Sheehan, December 31, 2020
So, 2020 is coming to an end, a journey in time that has seen so much turmoil, despair, loss, and frustration that should never be repeated again. There are lessons to be learned from the combined experiences of all the events of this year. Lessons that can eventually lead to the healing and peace that is so desperately needed for this time and for all time.
I want to digress from the calamity called 2020 and venture back 50 years to 1971 and the dreams and aspirations of my classmates that came to fruition on a warm June evening in Belmont MA.
50 years have passed since the class of 1971 came together in the new field house at Belmont High School to celebrate a journey that began in the Payson Park, Butler, Burbank, Kendall, Winbrook, Saint Josephs, Saint Luke’s and Sacred Heart grammar schools. We became a blended family at Belmont Junior High School, and the old Belmont High on Orchard Street to become the first class to graduate from the new Belmont High School. Ironically it looks like the first class to graduate from the Newer Belmont High could possibly be the class of 2021.
This class forged friendships in our neighborhoods, our playgrounds, our teams and in our memories. Memories that still to this day remain committed to the notion that in that era the simplicity of life was the cornerstone to who the Class of 1971 was and still is to this day.
We dove under desks in the late 50's as the air raid sirens went off, we watched in 1962 as the Cuban Missile Crisis brought us to the brink of nuclear war. Some of our Dads were veterans of World War II and Korea and we watched every Memorial Day as they marched down Grove Street to the Belmont Cemetery to honor those who gave all.
We gathered and marched in solidarity to the State House in Boston to let our voices be heard over the invasion of Cambodia. We watched as the war in Vietnam came into our living rooms on a nightly basis with the body counts cited in every broadcast. I hope for our class and all the classes to come the specter of war can eventually fade away never to be repeated in our world.
We witnessed an invasion of a much more pleasant sort, The British Invasion spearheaded by the Beatles and the Stones. The still yet to be identified miscreants that played the Fish Cheer from Woodstock over the public address system as we strolled to classes. Open campus, and the freedom to be self-determinant in how we spent our time in school. In our sophomore year we said goodbye to ties and a dress code and hello to tattered and frayed Landlubber bell bottoms that were secured by the double brass fabric belt.
So as 2020 fades into the annuals of time, Happy New Year with the hope of a healing and peaceful 2021. I could go on but in the words of a very trusted friend it is time for me to W.T.B.
To my classmates of 1971 We Still “Have A Lot Of Living To Do.”