NORTHFIELD – A group of Northfield women may have actually tapped into the fountain of youth.
Linda Lippencott Braverman, now retired from teaching in Egg Harbor Township, will attest that the return to a younger version of themselves is simple: you just have to keep the best friends from grade school and high school all through your lives.
As they prepare to attend an upcoming 44th reunion with many other Mainland Mustangs graduates from the Class of 1973 along with the classes of 1971 and 1972, the members rely on social media to help them keep up to date on each others lives.
Kathy Guerro Fulford said she knows it will be a fun event and poses the question of Facebook, "What are you waiting for? Send in your checks."
Braverman said that although all of them are connected on Facebook, what really helps keep the friends instantly tuned into each others lives is the chat room they have.
“For the last 8 to 10 years we have had a chat room. It lets us be together even when we are apart,” said Braverman. “Technology really has made the miles and the years disappear.”
The Northfield friends include Denise Moore Weimar, Peggy Stevenson O’Brien, Nancy Small Asselta, Laurie Kennedy Waggenheim, Chris Sylvestro Wodazak, Sue Nugent Adams, Kathy Knupp Bradway, Beth Sherman Loftus, Kathy Guerro Fulford, Carol Higbee Spatz, Leslie Underwood Collins, Linda Lippencott Braverman, Janice Miller Mott and Maria Jones Hayes.
This group of 15 girls all grew up together in Northfield. Some have been friends since kindergarten, others sort of assimilated into the group as they moved through middle school together. They graduated from the Mill Road School in 1969 and Mainland Regional High School in 1973. They had sleepovers, disastrous class projects, cookouts, pool parties, were involved in student government, clubs and the start of girls sports teams.
They were members of Mainland’s first girls' football team- taking on Holy Spirit girls with the football players taking to the sidelines as cheerleaders. In the early 1970s when Title IX was in its infancy, some of the group were standouts like Kathy Knupp Bradway in field hockey and Laurie Kennedy Wagenheim who was on the basketball team.
Braverman said she is fortunate to have these friends.
“Everyone should be so lucky to have this pact. In a world where people are searching for happiness, maybe all they need to do is to reach out to old friends," she said.
Braverman explained this group of friends is a lot of fun, smart, involved women. They have remained that way for all of the years that have come in between baked Alaska in Mrs. Jules home economics class at the Mill Road School, Mainland High School and today, she said.
Those giggling friends in middle and high school have all chosen their own path and gone on to be paralegals, CEOs, law enforcement officers, teachers, nurses, interior decorators, engineers, politicians, coaches and casino managers but remained friends through all of the chapters of their lives.
They were also together through life's tough times as well. One member of the Northfield friends, Dottie Watts Collins passed away, but remains in the heart of the group. They have celebrated weddings, babies and now grandchildren together. Many of the parents who provided the basements and backyards for all the fun times of the past have died, and Braverman said the old friends were the first to offer sympathy.
For the past six years the girls of the Mainland Class of 73 have rented a home in Ocean City for a long weekend for everyone to get together and this year was no different.
Pat Quinn Nobish won the prize for coming the farthest on the last trip, flying in from Kansas for their “girlcation” in Ocean City.
The weekend included cooking, a trip to the spa, karaoke, a stroll down the boardwalk, plenty of reminiscing and storytelling and a reenactment of that circa 1968 baked Alaska dessert.
“It’s all about good friends and the love that is in the room when everyone is together; it turns the clock back-decades back,” said Kathy Knupp Bradway. “We are so lucky to share something so special after all these years.”
The MRHS Classes of 1971, '72 and '73 will have a class reunion at Greate Bay Country Club from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9. Tickets are $50 and the deadline is Aug. 26. For additional information visit the MRHS Class of 73 on Facebook or email Linda@firstname.lastname@example.org or call 609-484-8142. There are other activities planned for the weekend including a golf outing and a day at the beach.