The staccato cadence of the failing Cessna engine, sputtering and wheezing in a consumptive fit, caught everyone’s attention. Our class Valedictorian was just about to summarize the bright futures that lay ahead for some us gathered together that warm June afternoon. All eyes of the Longmeadow High School Class of 1972 turned toward the small plane as it suddenly appeared overhead, trailing an oversized advertising banner. Printed in heavy block letters across its surface read, “Congratulations Jeff Grant!” Jeff, a fellow classmate and son of the towns preeminent bagel baker, sat a few rows ahead of me looking like he wanted to disappear.
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Longmeadow High School