In Memory of Departed Classmates
A Memorial Fund has been set up in Memory of the Following Classmates who are no longer with Us. If any classmate would like to reflect on the memory of any classmate below who is no longer with us please feel free to submit text to be published.
FOR THE CLASS OF SHS 1968
by Paula Rudnick (Levenback)
Cold, hard sun on Salem Street,
Snow mounds browned by sand and passing dogs,
Seagulls wailing over tall white spires,
Seaweed drying on the rocks at Phillips Beach.
Inside brick buildings, lockers slam,
Footsteps clomp up battered stairways,
Book stacks shift from arms to hip and back to arms,
Hopeful smiles dart toward freshly razored faces.
The aching, minted, damp sweet breath of youth,
Secret shames and hidden longings,
Hear me, take me, love me, want me,
Turquoise pens and yellow pencils scratch assignments
Next to names of boyfriends, girlfriends, private crushes.
Every slouching, pimpled, cowlicked silhouette,
Reflected in the dappled grey of endless hallways.
Dreaming of the day when they would leave that place,
Become themselves, the selves that they could be
Outside that gym, those cafeteria walls.
How strange to find, four decades later,
That girl from homeroom, boy from math,
The ones you danced with at the prom,
Wishing they were someone else,
Are now the hands you want to hold, to hear the stories --
Old connections, cleansed of pain and need
Memories that you were there together
All that’s left, but still a comfort.
David Myers 11/06/2008
Peggy Britva 1/20/2009
Rob Parlow 5/18/2009
Gerry McGettrick 12/14/2009
Sally Martin Fisher 08/04/2010
This morning, I learned that Peggy Britva is no longer with us in this plane, or in this life, however it is that we exist. I had lost track of Peggy Britva for 40 years, until through Project Reconnect, I called her in June, 2007. In September 2008, she told me that she was not well. I asked her, if I could share her news with our class, which would give you an opportunity to let her know that you cared about her.
Peggy changed her mind about how she felt about our class as some of you called or wrote, and even visited her. As November approached, she decided not only to join us at the 40th Reunion, but to attend both nights. I will admit that when I first called her, she did not remember me and I barely knew her when we were in school together. The woman I met at the Friday night casual gathering was smiling and enthusiastic to be there. Many of you enjoyed seeing her. Unfortunately, over the two months, her prognosis became a reality and her health declined quickly.
Our lives may be a little like a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece represents a tiny segment of our life as is intersects with another’s. Only when all the pieces are displayed, can the beholder see the full picture. In some cases, the puzzle is done before the picture is complete. In a couple days, you will be able to view (http://shsclassof68.net) some personal reflections written by a few of our classmates, describing their memories of their experiences with their childhood friend, Peggy. These are the pieces of the puzzle as Liz Levins, Liz (Mendozza) Chamberlain, Barbara Bock, and Laura (Hofeller) Friedmann knew Peggy. Pamela (Rosengard) Whalen and I got to know Peggy, only recently, and these past months have been deeply emotional. I invite all of you to use the “Reply All” function of your email to share your own thoughts and memories of our friend. If you have a memory of any aspect of your past that Peggy’s life intersected with yours, please accept this invitation and share your piece of Peggy’s picture. I am copying Peggy’s friend, Marilyn, on this message. She only saw the picture as it was after Peggy left Swampscott. Her puzzle is missing our pieces. The missing parts of Peggy’s picture lay in your participation. Please do not hold onto your piece, share it with us. by Rick Eaton firstname.lastname@example.org
Reflections and Memories of our friend, Peggy Britva
Peggy and I were close in junior high. She and I lost touch, as I did with most
of my schoolmates, when my family moved to Pennsylvania.
I remember my brother driving us to school and we would roll up our skirts and
put on make-up.
Laura (Hofeller) Friedman
I remember thinking having an artist for a mother was really cool.
I remember Peggy coming home from her guitar lessons and taking the time to teach me how to play.. we used to sing Joni Mitchell songs together as a duet.
I remember spending many times whiling away the hours at Peggy's house just dreaming about the future.
I remember the shock of her brothers death and how we all tried to cope with understanding.. especially Peggy.
I also hope she found happiness in her journey and I'm glad she has loyal friends to support her now.
Liz (Mendozza) Chamberlain
When I went to the Friday night SHS 40th reunion, I had not seen Peggy in more than 40 years. Our friendship began when we were 10 years old. Her family had just moved to Swampscott from Maine and we became fast friends. We spent many days walking to J.M. Fields to buy records, taking the bus to Lynn to attend religious school and buying penny candy before we arrived there. It was always a challenge for us to figure out the different ways of consuming a dollar's worth of fireballs, red hats, licorice and all the while thinking that our teachers would never know. Peggy especially loved candy necklaces because when the teacher turned his back, it was very easy to quickly bite off a few pieces.
Fast forward to the high school reunion, Peggy and I reminisced about our days as Beatles fans. At 13 years of age, we were absolutely convinced that we would marry them, she to Paul McCartney and I to George Harrison. Somehow we came to the realization that maybe we were not going to marry the Beatles. However, we did envision them attending our weddings. We were fortunate to attend both Beatles concerts when they performed in Boston. Before the first concert, we dutifully arrived at 10 in the morning to stand outside of the Madison Hotel waiting to catch a glimpse of them. It wasn't until that evening when we finally got to see them on stage. Unfortunately, we barely got to hear them over the pandemonium. We spent many hours listening to not only Beatles music but the music of many of the British rock groups that were popular at that time.
One of the first memories Peggy asked me about at the reunion was the day we went to see A Hard Day's Night. We took the 6:00 a.m. bus to Lynn and stood in line outside the movie theater until the movie started at 10:00 a.m. We had decided that once the movie ended, we would try to find a place to hide so that we could see the movie again. As soon as the movie was over, a lot of people scrambled to hide behind curtains, etc. Somehow, Peggy and I managed to hide underneath a stairway and even though we heard the ushers hauling off protesting fans, they never discovered our hiding place. Which meant that we got to watch the movie for a second and third time that day.
As we entered high school, our paths separated. Over the years I heard through different sources that Peggy's family had passed away. A few months before the reunion, she had written to me and described her life after high school. She struggled throughout her life over the loss not only of her parents but especially her brother, Andy. It was very apparent that her days living in Swampscott were some of her happiest moments. Only in the past few years had she managed to attain some happiness with her job as an anesthesia technician at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and a sense of peace with her life.
I regret that I will not have the chance to renew our friendship for many more years to come. But in addition to the memories of our childhood we talked about at the reunion, there was a short period of time at the end of the evening that Peggy and I sat together and just laughed about all the, "Do you remember when" stories. That is the way I want to remember my friendship with Peggy.
called Peggy the day that Rick informed us that the classmate who was ill was in
fact, Peggy Britva. I do not think she knew my name and had to hurry off the
phone due to the severe pain. She at that time had not yet gotten a diagnosis of
cancer. I never looked back and continued to call her morning and night. One day
she was very
blunt in a comical way of getting to the point, and
that made me laugh. After that, there was no turning back as we made each other
laugh with memories of and insight into High School. I reminded Peggy that she
and I used to laugh in school at the oddest things. Although I do not think she
remembered me, our sense of humor jived and no matter what the conversation, we
sick as she was, and weakened by her treatments, there was no stopping her from
voting in the November national election. She refused to accept a ride and she
walked to her voting place. She never told me who she voted for, but she was
determined to do that. It was important to her.
and I shared the same heritage, although she had the uniqueness of parents from
Eastern Europe whereas most of us had grandparents who had imigrated to America.
Peggy was brilliant, artistic, witty, honest, loyal, kind and compassionate. She
loved her job at Brigham and Women's Hospital and it is sadly ironic that she
ended up a patient at that facility. She trusted her close circle of friends and
it helped so much, as she had no family on whom to lean at any time, including
during her illness. I hounded the Hospice every day and they treated me like I
was a family member calling in to check. Oh, do I wish Peggy had had family
members to 'hound" anyone about her. No such luck. Tippett Home understood as
they stated that family members do call many times a day when they cannot be
there and I appreciated their comforting me. They would whisper to Peggy,
"Pamela loves you" and told me that Peggy would give one of those famous Peggy
smiles. I hope that Peggy heard them. Eventually, there were no
Peggy....I didn't know her that well but only decided to attend our reunion after speaking with her on the telephone. I knew then that we only have so much time on this earth and every moment is precious. Therefore since I couldn't predict where I will be in ten years, I decided that it was very important for me to attend our 40 year reunion....And thanks to Peggy, I did and am very happy that I made the trip to Boston....THANK YOU PEGGY.....Jan (Hoffman) Golden
The Class of 1968 has purchased a lilac bush in the Memorial Garden near the town hall in memory of the above classmates who are no longer with us. If you would like to contribute to the fund please send a check made payable to:
"SHS Class of 68 Memorial Fund" and send to Alice (Carroll) Howard, 50 Devens Road, Swampscott, MA 01907
We would like to thank the classmates who recently contributed to this fund:
Ralph Baker, Yudis Bennett, Naomi (Phinney) Boyleston, Maureen (Boyce) Gill, Derek Gregory, Richard Halperin & Martha Rossman "In Memory of our Dear Cousin: Jane (Feffer) Simoncelli August 25, 1950 - February 2, 2007 , Bonnie (Epstein) Hechtkopf, Alice (Carroll) Howard, Evelyn McDowell, Ellen Musinsky, Beth (Champion) Phelan, Alan Rosenfeld, Richard Weil, Ronny Cocotas and David Myers, and most recently Anne Moretsky Perchel and Paula Levenback Rudnick.
The Reunion Committee has designated $1,000 of the above fund to go toward a scholarship for a deserving student at Swampscott High School in memory of our class of 1968 Classmates who were lost to soon. My their lives be remembered in the education of a special student rewarded the scholarship.
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