Upon graduation from high school, in those tender years of naivety, we all had aspirations for greener pastures. Somehow, the lands beyond the west shore of the Hudson River seemed like virgin territory and we would be the pioneers to pursue and develop them. Having survived the stages of childhood social development, we stood on the threshold of our adult future with an anticipation that was fueled by the "can-do" messages of our formative years. We would now prove to ourselves and to the world that we were relevant, a plan that would take many of us away from our moorings at Northport.
Some of us went into the service, some got married, some burned their draft cards, some went to college and some went on to higher education. We were young, upwardly mobile and a generation that inspired the acronym "yuppies". Like our American hero Neil Armstrong, we would take a giant step for man...and well beyond the reaches of Newark, NJ.
A 68-year-old Cow Harbor 10k participant who completed the event in 2011 was my own brother a alumnus from the Class of 1961. Upon graduation, he joined the Navy, went to college and found a career in marketing. All of that in one gulp sounds very simple but the previous sentence is a gargantuan understatement. The years that followed included lots of hard work,
living in several different locales, building a family, accumulation of assets, and the personal sacrifices that make it all happen. The old cliche goes, "40 years cut across his back." Not so anymore-- now it's 50 years, a full half-century!
Fair to say, that from 1961 until 2011, rarely did anyone from our generation check the rear view mirror to see what had become of our little town. With a focus on life, raising a family, getting ahead and staying ahead, such thoughts seemed trivial. In the pursuit of success, it is easy loose the big picture of all the things we hold dear to who we are. Now, on the backside of 60, we face a sobering, fearless review of our own social and moral report card. Some of us never really make it to the finish line, others come thundering through with horsepower to spare.
How fitting that the Cow Harbor Run of 2011 served as a mile marker for my own brother's 50 year reunion of the Northport High School, Class of '61, right there front and center on main Street where it all began. Ironically, the finish line and the starting line are in the very same spot.