photo St. Stanislaus KostkaOver the past several years, I’ve thought about the kids I graduated with from 8th grade in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.  We went to St. Stanislaus Kostka School together for nine years.  We all lived in the same neighborhood.  I don’t remember anyone whose mother wasn’t a housewife.  Every father worked.  Parents were not divorced.  No one was born out-of-wedlock.  I was a bit unusual only because my mother died when I was eight.  But, I wasn’t the only kid who’d had only one parent.  My father, by the way, was a widower, not a “single parent.”

When I received the School’s newsletter earlier this year, I called and asked if the School ever had a Reunion or whether it would be interested in hosting one.  I was informed there had never been a Reunion but the idea was interesting.  From that one conversation, the idea grew and I volunteered to track down all the students from 1960-1969 for a Reunion now set for February 2015.

Well, it turned out there were 1400+ kids who graduated during those years.  The Diocese had only 450 boys’ names and only old addresses from the ’60s in its database.  I had to compile the rest of the database from photographs of 8th grade graduations and class rolls made available to me.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours scouring the internet via google, social media like Facebook and twitter, whitepages, zabasearch, voting websites, classmates.com, etc. to track everyone down.  I’ve located over 700 kids so far.  Many I found through some wonderful people on Facebook who sent me the current whereabouts of their former classmates.  I received a couple of phone calls from people who received the notice and they, in turn, told me about other classmates, or those they knew had passed away.

I sometimes feel like a detective who gets a bit of information here and another from there and yet another from somewhere else.    I piece all this information together to come up with a reasonable conclusion about a particular person.  The girls are the hardest to find because women usually change their names when they get married.  It turns out that obituaries of my classmates parents are very helpful to identify the married names of many of the girls.

What drives me crazy is when I call a number that I’m fairly certain belongs to an alumni, based on the location, age of the person, etc., leave a message letting the person know I’m helping to organize a reunion of all the ’60s graduates from St. Stan’s and NO ONE calls me back.  I can’t even say how many calls I’ve made,  and I have to say, only one man in Minnesota called me back and said he wasn’t the man I was looking for.   If I sent a notice to someone and it turned out it was sent to the wrong “John Smith,” I don’t know about it because no one has called and said, “hey, I received your card today and I’m not the person you’re looking for.”  That would be the courteous thing to do.  I know if I were the recipient of a notice for a Reunion, I would immediately call and say I wasn’t the right person – keeping quiet would actually prevent someone from looking for the correct Leona Salazar.  Simple courtesy.

I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.



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