A Hoboken Class Reunion……..#267…( 2006)



Gary and Fran Finding no rush to check out of the Holland Hotel in the morning,  Gary trekking to the lobby to secure the complimentary pastries, gathering a diet Pepsi for Fran and a cup of coffee for himself.  the couple awaiting Fran’s high school classmate Vicki and husband Sal Mattessich, who graciously agreed to accommodate the Willson’s move, having reservations at the reunion hotel.  The Mattessich’s having driven 380 miles from Hubbard Ohio to attend the Hoboken High School 1966 Class reunion.   Departing the Holland Hotel,  Sal at the helm,  the two couples traversing the highway to Rutherford and the Meadowland Hotel located a mile from Giants Stadium,  home of the National Football New York Giants and Jets.   Gary enjoying the excursion  finding humorous moments during their peregrination,  Vicki administering corrections to Sal’s driving,  whom as a truck driver most of his life was quite able, Sal apparently used to his wife’s-comments,  taking it all in stride.   Arriving at the Renaissance Meadowland Hotel,  their reservations confirmed,  the desk clerk noting Fran’s name,  asserting that a Bob Santangelo had inquired about her,  Bob a Hoboken High classmate    .

Fran’s mother Gladys

Fran’s father whom she was named after – Francis Marion Harriot

Francis Harriot in postal uniform

A somewhat older Gladys Helen Harriot


Hoboken Post Office branch named for William E.J. Harriot after Sinatra's demise

Hoboken Post Office branch named for William E.J. Harriot changed to Sinatra after the stars demise







Hoboken Post Office Letterhead

The wives huddling together, then informing Gary and Sal they wanted to return to Hoboken, having been years since they traveled down Washington Street, designated 40 years ago as the Avenue.   Fran anointed as a native of Hoboken, espousing from a full-time working mother Gladys  and her father, Francis Marion, whom she was named after and upheld a family occupation as a member of the Postal Service.   Her grandfather William EJ  Harriot a Hoboken Postmaster, the Hoboken Postal Branch named in his honor, but later a casualty of the misaligned passing tributes to Hoboken disavower Frank Sinatra.  The town having currently evolved from its past, the once primary residence of  3 and  4 story walk-up apartments now converted into exclusive condominiums with elevators, Fran discerning that this wasn’t the Hoboken she grew up in



The travelers stopping at Stan’s Sporting Goods,  a convenience still remaining from the past and with Fran’s return, Gary was now sporting a Hoboken Red Wings hat.  A second stop at the Hoboken Museum, the two couples entering thru the alcove on Hudson Street, a single hostess seated at a desk welcoming them.  Gary perceiving the historic photographs of the military shipyard repair docks from both World Wars.  Posted was a tribute to the once proud Hoboken factories of Lipton Tea,  Maxwell House Coffee, hostess confectionery,  the infamous Bethlehem Steel Corporation and the historic Delaware,  Lackawanna and Western train stations,  all from a past era enhancing this small community of one square mile.   Hoboken  a paramount  contributor to the  commence of the nation, but its industrial presence no longer standing, the town just a footnote of its historic past



The couples stopping for a bite to eat,  then to attend the high school open house, a large welcome sign posted to greet the returning graduates.  The assemblage filing into the auditorium for a welcoming ceremony from the school officials.  the alumni  dispersing to walk the halls and rooms of memories,  exchanging the anamneses of teachers and specific events of forty years ago.  Gary a meaningful witness to the afterthoughts of those who cherished the past and throes of  youthful exuberance    . The school tour fulfilled, the two couples and  most of the touring group journeying the two blocks to the  high school athletic field,  the Red Wings football team hosting the Emerson Cavaliers.   A special area  cordoned off for the 1966 alumni,  the school band playing the national anthem, the public address announcer presenting special recognition to the attendance of the alumni.   Gary a high school football enthusiast, soon discovered the Red Wings team was in a different league than the struggling  Cavaliers,  a light rain beginning in the second half,  but like true Red Wings fans they stayed to its conclusion,  the Red Wings winning the game 61 to zero,  a gift to the attending alumni.   The evening events coming to a conclusion, Sal and Vicki returning the couple to the Renaissance Hotel and an appreciative night’s sleep,  the morrow reunion festivities awaiting    .



The couple dressing for the occasion,  Gary appropriately in a suit and tie, Fran stunningly radiant in her dress,  the couple perambulating downstairs to the convention center, Gary somewhat surprised at the number in attendance.  The dimmed lighting and music of the sixties resonating,  a free alcohol beverage bar that included champagne and vintage wines was available.   The buffet was unbelievable, including calamari and escargot.    Fran acquainting many fellow classmates that she hadn’t contemplated in years, including Karen Jensen, Fran Sneyers and Nick and Rita Herr.   Gary being introduced to the amenities from Fran’s past, the current Hoboken Chief of Police Carmen  La Bruno and finally Bobby Santangelo making his presence known.  The evening coming to a conclusion with an elevator ride to their room,  the couple weary, but dexterous for their return home    .



The morning dawning,  Fran and Gary meeting again with Sal and Vicki whom generously proffered their transportation to the Newark Liberty Airport,  a Boeing 757 awaiting the their flight home.  The couple for the second time discussing about a stay in Denver for a day,  Fran in the past desiring to acquaint a long time special friend.  John Madden,  whom for over the  past thirty years was a practicing attorney,  their friendship beginning in the 60’s when he was a member of the acclaimed Serendipity Singers.   The prestigious 7 57 lifting off the ground,  Gary able to see the illustrious observance of Hoboken, the island of Manhattan and New York City,  the remembrance of this visit forever leonine,  a memory not to be forgotten.  Reaching the throes of the morning blue sky,  the winged vessel heading westward,  the magnificent view of the terrain passing beneath the expeditious craft,  Gary as usual a sentinel of flight , mesmerized by the flow of the earth’s contour,  its splendor a captivating scene,  the hours passing as an abeyance.



An arrival at Denver International Airport, the largest area airport in the United States, providing landings of over 600,000 aircraft per year,  but not a hub for any major airline with the exception of low-cost Frontier Airlines which caters to only 76 destinations.   The weather was once again a factor for the couple to question a layover with thunderstorms and rain,  electing once again to postpone their visit, the couple boarding their scheduled United Airlines flight and continuing on to San Francisco.  The 737 United flight from Denver to the west coast was one of familiarity, Gary once again affixed to a window,  absorbing the wonders of flight, descending over the north bay area on its final approach,  the 7 37 setting down on runway 10 R,  their journey about completed.   An hour wait before boarding a United Express Embraer 1 20 turboprop craft,  the last leg of their flight.  Again the familiar terrain of the Altamont Pass and the Central Valley coming into view,  their journey to Modesto fulfilled, all that remained was their taxi ride home



Returning to work, Gary having thoughts about their journey east,  realizing that for Fran, it wasn’t just a class reunion, but a Harriot family reunion and a way-stop in life,  to acknowledge the past, recognize the present and  forecast the future”.   Gary having discovered thru the years that One never knows the value of a moment Until it becomes a Memory    .



One Response to “A Hoboken Class Reunion……..#267…( 2006)”

  1. Bill Harriot Says:

    Fran…I knew your parents very well – Aunt Gladys and Uncle Frank.
    William E. Harriot, aka Cousin Bill.

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