Story Share by: Michelle (Gagnon) Marvel, Brockton, MA
As we are all facing such uncertainty at this time, I think about the Class of 2020, and how it has sparked a movement on social media.
The request is simple, but thoughtful: post your senior class portrait on Facebook, no matter what year you graduated.
This not only caught my eye, but I immediately felt both the positivity from this creative effort, but the sorrow as well.
I have enjoyed seeing the many past pictures of family, friends and co-workers.
But, in viewing these beautiful pictures, I wondered how the current seniors must feel, as their big day is, for now, unknown.
I have so many wonderful memories to reflect back on from this special time in life, a time that all generations need to experience.
I was born and raised in Brockton.
My parents bought the home I grew up in when I was 1.5 years old.
I still live in this house, and I have raised my two sons here as well.
My two brothers and I all attended Brockton public schools and graduated from Brockton High School.
( Bob, 1980, Eric 1981, and myself, 1985 )
The memories of that special time are forever ingrained in me.
My mother, Sandy, had all of our senior portraits done at Dodge-Murphy studios on Pleasant Street.
For mine, one of the poses, was done in a large wicker, fan-back chair.
This prop was quite popular at the time with the girls.
The informality of this particular setting was meant to be used as wallets to give to fellow classmates and
My senior prom was at Lombardo’s in Randolph, MA.
The sprawling staircase and enormous, crystal chandelier were so elegant, the impressions they made on me at the tender age of 18, proved to be everlasting.
I had my wedding reception there 5 years later.
A local furniture store in downtown Brockton gave away free Lane cedar boxes to the graduating young ladies in 1985.
I still have this lovely box, it is full of memorabilia from my graduation day.
Inside is the tassel from my graduation cap, the red has since faded from the suns’ powerful rays, as I used to have it hanging on my rearview mirror.
There are also greeting cards from my family, many of them have passed on now, so to see their handwriting and sentiments, well, it is just beyond precious to me.
The plastic top from my cake is also archived in the cedar box.
Another interesting treasure within this box, is a mini, laminated replica of my diploma.
Today, this box sits beside an identical box, my Mom’s, from her Dedham class of 1958 graduation.
My only regret of that time was not purchasing a class ring.
My sons did get them, though, they chose them from the Balfour brochure, and both wore them when their senior portraits were taken.
On the morning of my graduation day, I decorated my 1974 Dodge Charger with red and black crepe paper purchased at Paperama by Westgate Mall.
This store was one of my all -time favorites, and I went in a state of mourning and withdrawal went it closed, There has never been a store since that quite compares to the variety of paper products, party supplies, and novelties you could find in this one beloved place.
As I drove across the side streets of Brockton to my graduation ceremony, the symphony of car horns rang throughout the city.
I also recall the warm temperatures on that Sunday in June, sitting in my chair, the sea of red and black cap and gowns eclipsing all remnants of the football field.
I have beautiful photographs from that day, the ushers in their pretty dresses, lined up perfectly on the field with the graduates.
Fast forward MANY years later, my two sons graduate from BHS, Ryan, class of 2013, and Corey, class of 2016.
It was a full circle experience for me, watching my young men cross the field and accept their diplomas, on that traditional first Sunday in June, pride and nostalgia gushed all at once.
Thankfully my Mom was able to see Ryan graduate.
As we heard The Graduation Song play, and saw the graduates flow perfectly into the stadium, we both choked up.
When the ceremony was over, I put my arm around her and said, “We did it. “
Unfortunately, she passed a few months before Corey graduated, but as I walked back to my car after his ceremony, I looked up and said, “We did it.”
My hope is the class of 2020 will have the same access to this milestone in their life,
They deserve their moment on the field, when it is safe to do so, as it is their time to celebrate and make memories, because, they truly do last a lifetime.
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