By Matt Mattei
For Sunday Dispatch
PITTSTON — Fond memories and curiosity brought members of the Pittston Area class of 1985 together on July 3 as they celebrated their 30th anniversary class reunion at Cooper’s on the Waterfront in Pittston.
The celebration was held in the restaurant’s Forest River Room, which was adorned with blue and white table linens and red and white floral bouquets displaying school pride.
A group of around 55 people, comprised of members of the class and their significant others, showed up to mingle with and meet classmates of three decades earlier, and as people arrived, the room buzzed with the jovial conversations of long-time friends and the surprised reactions of people seeing each other for the first time in many years.
The class has held a gathering every five years since their initial 10-year reunion, and according to the class’s vice president, Kelly Reigner, the number of attendees who traveled from out of town for the event equaled the number of participants who still live locally for the first time in those 20 years.
Reigner, who travelled in from Chicago for the event, has played a significant role in organizing the reunions and said that the turnout that they appreciate every five years is a tribute to the kind of people with whom she graduated.
“We just had a great class,” she said. “Everybody got along … it was a good mix.”
Jerry Lombardo, who lived out of town for a while before returning to the area to settle in Dallas, was attending his first class reunion in the 30 years since graduation, and he was grateful to be able to see old friends.
Like Reigner, Lombardo alluded to the unity of his class, but he also expressed pride in his hometown. “We all bonded,” Lombardo said. “Everybody knew everybody’s family, so it’s just that bond. I think it’s the Pittston bond.”
Tina Reese of Pittston Township was another 1985 graduate who was attending her first reunion. She spoke of how social media keeps people easily in touch today, but that she was hopeful to reconnect with anyone with whom she might have lost touch.
“I really don’t know who’s going to be here tonight,” Reese said with an air of excitement.
The group enjoyed a meet and greet over cocktails, and the evening’s menu included plenty of hors d’oeuvres and a carving station. As glasses were emptied and refilled, the catching-up conversations bubbled with laughter over stories of the past and the present.
Sandy Insalaco of Yatesville was in attendance with his wife Geralyn. Insalaco, who has been to previous gatherings, enjoys the class events, because, as he explained, he bumps into people from time to time, but the reunions provide a chance to see everyone.
“The people that I graduated with have roots in the community, and a lot of people stayed here, and if they traveled away or moved away, they still come back to see their parents,” said Insalaco. “We’re a close class. We really are.”
For Michael English, reuniting with his old schoolmates is an opportunity to recount his youth. The Pittston Township native spoke like a man who felt invigorated in the moment.
“You actually feel younger,” said English. “It brings back good memories, fun memories … it’s just an alive feeling.”
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