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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.

 

 

 

 

Carl Remick

Larry Casey

Robert Alexander

Judy Foye

Dean Phillips

JoAnn Schwartz

Elaine Williams

Jane Feffer

James Bilodeau

Andrew Mosco

Joseph Alukonis

Kathy Riley

Robert Nellson

Peggy Burke

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                              

 

 

                                                          Peggy Britva

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    rick_eaton@hotmail.com

 

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 have fond memories of Peggy's mom, a lovely person and an artist.  Once, after I had admired her work, she sent me home with a note pad she on which she had hand drawn flowering vines.  Peggy's older brother Andy was a sweet guy, and I expect I had a slight crush on him as others have mentioned.  Andrew was, in Peggy's own words, a good brother. It was a tough loss, as was the death of her mom and dad.
Peggy and I used to talk on the phone for hours on end (secretly and late at night in my case).  We laughed about the silliest nonsensical things.  Peggy's dad was Boris, a name we unsophisticated and immature girls, found immensely amusing in those cold war days.
I remember a coed (birthday?) party on a summer evening in Peggy's back yard, when we hormonal teens danced to "slow music.  I was impressed by the "glamor" of evening, when we all felt so grown up, although of course, we were not.
Thanks to Liz and Laura for forwarding their memories.  I wish we had been able to spend more time reminiscing at the reunion.  So little time to make up for many lost years. Thanks to Rick for continuing to be involved.  Thank you Pam for being an incredible support to Peggy.

Elizabeth Levins

 

I remember my brother driving us to school and we would roll up our skirts and put on make-up.
I remember Peggy's mom and how nice she always was to us.
I remember Andrew and having a crush on him, but he was too serious and too smart to notice me.
I remember the experiments Andrew was doing in his basement and when his father got sick, he blamed himself.
I remember the happy, giggling girl become so sad when they died.  She was never the same.
I remember being her friend in her sadness and wondering how she could go on.  She didn't talk too much about it.
I remember seeing her only once a few years after high school.  Her mother had died and Peggy was all alone.
How incredibly strong I thought she was.
I hope she found happiness in her journey through life. 

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.  

Barbara Bock

 

I 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 laughed.
 Eventually, Peggy got the grim news: Stage 4 Lung Cancer. I told her to hang in there for a possible cure. I knew otherwise, but she seemed to believe me. I made her laugh by telling her that research into the treatment of lung cancer is a place, one of the few, that I do not mind my tax dollars going now that those dollars will help her.

As 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.
 I told Peggy that the clinicians would not be trying treatments unless there was hope. Peggy agreed with me, but I will never know if she bought that theory. We laughed a great deal and Peggy's wit and brilliance did not wane until she could no longer communicate in words. I loved Peggy very much and I always will.

Peggy 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
more smiles and I have to believe that Peggy was on her way to be
with her parents, Rose and Boris, and her brother, Andrew.
 Peggy had the most fantastic time at our Reunion. Look at the photos of her to see her joy. At the end of her life, she knew that her hometown of Swampscott is something of which we can all be very proud. I am proud to have known Peggy and will never forget her.
Pamela (Rosengard) Whalen

 

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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Last modified: 11/09/10