It was 1966. Lyndon Johnson was president; the U.S. was at war with North Vietnam, and John Lennon declared the Beatles were more popular than Jesus.

It was a tumultuous year as Andrew Warde High School’s Class of 1966 graduated as the civil-rights movement pressed its campaign for racial equality and the hippie “flower-power” culture took root.

Nearly 50 years later, Warde ’66 classmates were together again for a reunion at the Patterson Club, reminiscing, leafing through memorabilia, clinking glasses and kicking up their heels to songs from their youth by bands like the Beach Boys, Dionne Warwick, the Supremes and Frankie Valli. Music was provided not only by a deejay, but performed live by four classmates — Ron Kaplan, Alan Kaplan, Jason Eisenberg and John Rich — known as The Valiants back in the day.

Ten classmates planned the reunion, including Randy Kalfus, Sandy Rossitto, Bill Dobi, Melody Zolan Tierney, Bonnie Edwards, Keith McEachern, Dina Greene, Malcolm McKenzie, Jeff Abrams and Larry Hoffman.

Rossitto recalled that the classmates “were fun, easy, everybody got along, played ball together. There were Jewish kids, Catholic kids, we raced cars on 95. There were Diddy’s, who wore mohair sweaters and were the cool kids, and the Rods, who were preppies.”

Among the most accomplished classmates was Bart Walman, who became a lawyer for the Major League Baseball team, the Seattle Mariners. Locally, residents might be more familiar with Class of ’66 graduate Susan Barrett, a member of the town’s Police Commission, who previously was a state legislator and served on several other municipal boards. She leafed through a yearbook and pointed out a photo of herself — twirling a baton.

Regarding the Valiants, band member Eisenberg recalled of the group’s gigs, “We played all the school parties, from Bridgeport to Easton, Westport, Fairfield and Trumbull. In 1965, we opened for Jay and the Americans at Andrew Warde.”

More Information

More photos of the Andrew Warde High School Class of 1966 reunion online at www.fairfieldcitizenonline.com.