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I Grew Up In Manhasset Reunion

The Third Annual “I Grew Up In Manhasset” Reunion was held on Saturday, Sept. 7. Manhasset High and St. Mary’s graduates from the 1960s to the 1980s gathered to reminisce and share stories of their childhood and coming of age in the town they loved—at a time when the town itself was also growing up during the postwar, baby-boom era.

The concept of holding a town-wide reunion was the brainchild of Jeff Famiglietti and Meg Horton, who came up with the idea after joining an “I Grew Up In Manhasset” Facebook page that was started by Anabela Da Silva in 2010. On the page, boomers share Manhasset memories through conversational threads that range from describing weekday afternoons at Town Hall Pharmacy with George’s famous cherry colas to remembering Al, the patrolman who safely guided students across Northern Boulevard from Plandome Road on their way to St. Mary’s schools each weekday morning.

This year’s gathering was once again organized by Famiglietti and Horton with assistance from Betty Klein, who after reading the book Manhasset Stories: A Baby Boomer Looks Back, written by Manhasset native and former Strathmore neighbor Suzanne McLaine Rosenwasser, was inspired to keep up the new tradition by running last years’ event.

McLaine Rosenwasser and her husband, Mike, traveled from Atlanta to join in the festivities this year, and she reflected that afternoon on how the Facebook experience has reconnected her to so many “old and new Manhasset friends.” A few nights later at the Manhasset Public Library, McLaine Rosenwasser hosted a delightful evening of reading excerpts from her new book Manhasset Stories – More Baby Boomer Memories, which was attended by several of the reunion revelers.

Klein was quite surprised and delighted to open Suzanne’s new book and find her name and the “I Grew Up In Manhasset Reunion” mentioned in the preface.

This year’s gathering began at 2 p.m. on a beautiful, sunny September afternoon at the gazebo at Mary Jane Davies Green, the original site of the Plandome Road School where many of the participants attended elementary school. Although there were people from the Tristate area as expected, several people traveled from New England, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida.

All of the invitations, correspondence and advertising for the reunion was held through social media, primarily through the Facebook page.

The Manhasset FB page started with 40 members, but has grown to over 2,000 from all parts of the country and corners of the globe. Joe Igoe, who grew up in Strathmore, posted on the morning of the reunion that he would be toasting those attending the party from his favorite local pub in Richmond, England.

Mark Sheehan, who grew up in Plandome on Shore Road and now hails from Sydney, Australia, posted his memories of attending last years’ reunion: “The minute I came up out of the LIRR station, I knew I was home. Seeing old friends from St. Mary’s and MHS was a bit like turning back a clock I’d not wound up in over 40 years. What I learned that night was that no matter what graduating class we hailed from, we all agreed with one voice, Manhasset was a very wonderful place to grow up.” Sheehan is currently completing his own version of Manhasset Stories entitled Plandome Road, which is scheduled for a U.S. release in 2014.

After enjoying the afternoon sun and conversation on the Green, the group converged on several favorite local restaurants in town for dinner, most notably Edison’s, the former site of Publicans Restaurant, which was featured in the book, The Tender Bar: A Memoir, written by Pulitzer-prize winning Manhasset native J.R. Moehringer. Publicans was the favorite baby-boomer gathering spot during early adulthood, especially during the holidays when students were home from college.

The reunion party reconvened in the early evening at Green’s pub on Plandome Road and the group enjoyed the sounds of favorite tunes from the 60s and 70s spun by Rusty Yardum, a 1973 MHS graduate.

The highlight of the evening was a presentation honoring Buddy Kilmeade, the father of Brian Kilmeade, cohost of Fox & Friends morning show on the Fox-TV network, and his brothers Jim and Steve. Buddy was the owner of Kilmeade’s Manhasset Hill bar, also a favorite pub on Plandome Road, and was a beloved figure to all who knew him. Klein and Horton presented the Kilmeade brothers with three long-lost framed pictures of their father behind the bar at Kilmeade’s, taken in the 70s during the bar’s heyday.

Tim Meehan, who had worked at Kilmeade’s in his youth, spoke eloquently about Buddy’s days behind the bar, and what a wonderful and kind person he was to all who graced the threshold at the “Cave,” as it was fondly called.

This tribute was so well received and enjoyed that the reunion committee is considering remembering and honoring other individuals, who had such a positive impact on the people of Manhasset, as a standard part of future reunion events.