There are places I remember all my life
Though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
Of lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I loved them all
And I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I loved you more – the Beatles
I must admit that as I walked through the door at 61 Ravensdale Avenue, there was some trepidation. Would Mary Shiska, who did her best to train wreck our Yonkers TV production class 38 years ago at Fordham, be there to ruin this intimate, “experimental” WFUV reunion of illustrious on-air and production talent? (Not really, but it’s a great opening paragraph).
I should have known better: Wally and Cheryl Walczewski were too cagey for that! Afterall, they had been America’s Couple for four decades. They had promised that Rudy Strauss, the German Ompah band from the Steubenville Parade, and Michelle Seminitore would not be part of the proceedings.
This soirée was what I like to call a “no asshole party.”
And the legends of ‘FUV paraded in: “Packie” Delaney and Joanne Leone, now the Delaneys;
“Chief” Martin and Maryann Pyrch, now the Martins.
Franny Mayer and Gene Maxwell, now the Maxwells;
Bob “Buggsie” Billings, “Sweet” Lou Pintek (everyone named Lou is nicknamed “Sweet Lou”);
Jim Wrynn and his wife Karen, who we’d not met before ;non-FUVers but welcomed special guests and fellow-Fordhamites Julio Diaz and Bette-Ann Liguori;
And, of course, yours truly, the artist formerly known as “Tex” with bride, Fran, now the Cirillos.
This sure beat watching the cricket highlights: India Tour of Sri Lanka 2015 on Channel 229.
A few moments for posterity, and there were countless, in no particular order, and in bullet format:
- Cheryl masterfully duplicated Wally’s signature family kielbasa and sauerkraut recipe, part of a bountiful smorgasbord.
- Maryann has already begun to plan an encore, hoping for 90, but was told in no uncertain terms by this reporter that certain individuals would be barred from the premises.
- Franny was the best damn engineer in the history of the WFUV, and in retrospect was a pioneer woman in sports, circa 1977.
- We dearly missed our old chum “Gentleman” Jim Donaghy, a truly remarkable friend who knocked on heaven’s door way too soon, but was surely watching the proceedings from the “balcony”.
- Just as it was at the Nazareth reunion just four days previously, we all looked exactly as we did 38 years ago, give or take a spare tire or two. We all recognized each other, except when Packie had to maneuver into his authentic Irish brogue by way of County Mayo before Chief reached back into the cerebellum archives for recognition.
- Franny Maxwell wondered why only the guys had nick names. I’m not sure if that’s true, or if it is the reason.
- Several of us wondered why young guys with full heads of hair shave their heads, and young gals with dark locks dye their hair gray? Huh?
- I wondered why the Black Studies course which was supposed to be a “gut” but wasn’t a gut was because Chief has posted up the professor and it was guilt by association with my broadcast partner.
- The twenty-minute group photo op in the sweltering heat could have been done without. Great pictures though!
- We need verification on whether Joanne and/or Maryann ever engineered live sports broadcast remotes on location.
- Wally has a cool beer distributor in Lancaster that includes Hamm’s, Bohemian and Shiner’s; my brew mentor Billings heartily approved.
- Everything was going swimmingly until Billings gave an hour retrospective on the state of New York City and Westchester public and Catholic High Schools. We gave him a mulligan, as a long time principal, his passion for academia is appreciated!
- Wrynn scolded me for stopping traffic when I recognized him on Ravensdale; I told him this is what people do in Chappaqua all of the time, so I decided to try it.
- Franny M., Fran C., Cheryl and I plan to have the next reunion at Stew Leonard’s in Yonkers.
- Billings and this writer smoothly went into an in-stereo Mary Kopetski imitation after four decades: “Oh, Tex, that poor player made an error. I’m so depressed.”
- A tall order for next time, we may need a detective: tracking down Matt DeLieto, Tom Croghan, and assorted others.
Wally called this reunion an “experiment” – defined as a procedure to make a discovery or demonstrate a known fact. Known fact demonstrated, no experiment necessary: the memories and friendships have lasted a lifetime. Wally and Cheryl, ya done good!