Gate Of Heaven – The Way We Were

It has been a classic high school prom song. Immortalized by the voice of Barbara Streisand, ‘The Way We Were’ perfectly captures the nostalgia, radiating from many of the families and alumni of Gate of Heaven Grammar and High School. Scores, if not hundreds, of Gateys walked through the school this past Sunday viewing what is now catalogued as memorabilia and souvenirs of what nearly every visitor said “were the best days’ of their lives. The lyrics, “misty water-colored memories, scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind and smiles we gave to one another” just about say it all.

Chalk boards, hardware, press doors, hand rails and such were in demand and being prized. A list of those interested in these items was created because most of these uniquely treasured artifacts have been inventoried to auction off or be sold for the benefit of restoring the church organ.

Ambassador to The Vatican, Ray Flynn and a group of fellow alumni, were at the black board practicing their ‘Palmer Method’ cursive handwriting, thanking the Sisters of Saint Joseph for teaching them reading, writing and arithmetic. The names of their teachers, many of whom have passed from this life, were written on the boards. Father Bob Casey was on hand to greet many of the visitors and witness the nostalgic moments.

Former teachers, students, families, most with tears in their eyes reminisced, and curious friends and neighbors listened as they harkened back to a disciplined and life-affecting time in their lives. Others were sporting varsity letters, uniform patches and jackets that they had dug out of their attics, having saved these iconic symbols all of the years. Some even had their report cards with them – the ones with A’s of course.

Reunions were being discussed. Lunches, coffees and even dinner invitations were being made between those who hadn’t seen each other for years and now realized that they live close by each other. Some traveled from New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Many were from the South Shore. It was a day of “mixed emotions”, as one visitor stated. “Oh, to go back in time to a simpler time.”, said another.

“Can it be that it was all so simple then, or has time rewritten every line. If we had the chance to do it all again, would we? Could we?” As author Aaron David Miller said, “Time is the ultimate arbiter of what is of value in life.”.