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The Port Washington Pink Flamingo Club gathered in Lake Worth, Florida on March 1. Special thanks to Linda Ragusa–Demeo, Linda Rickerts-Byrne (Class of ’73) and Larry Wurzel (Class of ’71) for helping to organize this event. We are Schreiber’s “Reunion Junkies” for our classes. (Contributed photo)

Flocking To Florida

Though our Port remains home in our hearts

By Andrea Mastrocinque-Martone

Once a “townie,” always a townie.

If you were lucky enough to grow up in Port Washington in the ‘50s through ‘70s, those of us know the power of the bonding that took place during those ‘boom’ years will appreciate this read.

Eight years ago, many Port folks began to migrate part or full time to Florida, saying goodbye to long, hard winters and embracing all the sunny state has to offer. But as much as Florida is appealing, nothing can beat the lure back to Port Washington, where we all shared our roots growing up.

Class reunions remain a well-attended, lively event every five or ten years, but now that Boomers flock to Florida, the thought of reuniting periodically in Florida prompted a group of us to form “The Port Washington Pink Flamingo Club.” For years, we have gathered in various spots in Florida and welcome those in the classes of 1967 through 1977. To date, there are 200 plus members of our group.

Fast forward 50 plus years since graduating from Schreiber High School, and even more time that has passed since we shared crayons in elementary schools at Manorhaven, Salem, Guggenheim, Flower Hill, Merriman, Salem elementary or St. Peter’s schools.
Life is indeed a fleeting moment.

In early March, 40 Port Washington High School “Flamingo’s” gathered at The Beach House at Lake Worth Golf Course to reunite with childhood friends from Port Washington, a gathering that holds significant value since it fosters a sense of connection, nostalgia, and emotional well-being for a group of 60 to 70 plus aged “old folks.” Far from feeling old (though our physical bodies remind us that we have aged), we gather in gratitude, recognizing that, it’s great to be alive. We’re appreciative of the years growing up in an idyllic North Shore community where everybody knew everybody, and—as older adults—we all have an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for our roots. Being from a small town (well, in those days) has taught us so many important lessons that will carry with us for the rest of our lives.

The act of reuniting with childhood friends can also serve as a form of self-reflection, allowing us to see how we have grown and changed over the years. It provides a chance to appreciate the journey we have taken (even the painful ones) and the paths we have chosen since time together in Port Washington. These reunions can be a source of inspiration, motivation, and encouragement as friends share our successes, challenges, loss, and aspirations, creating a supportive “Port” network that transcends time and distance.

Furthermore, reconnecting with childhood friends from one’s hometown can offer a unique perspective on life. It reminds us of simpler times, carefree moments, and the innocence of youth. This rekindling of friendships can bring about a renewed sense of gratitude for the past and present, highlighting the importance of treasuring relationships that have stood the test of time.

Reuniting with childhood friends from Port Washington is not just a pleasant social gathering but a meaningful experience that enriches lives in profound ways. It reinforces the significance of friendship, memories, and shared history, nurturing emotional connections that are deeply rooted in one’s identity.

I truly hope that if you’re reading this, you will consider joining us in the near future for another Port Washington Pink Flamingo gathering. If you live part time or full time in Florida and graduated from any years from the late ‘60s to late ‘70s, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. Retired educators from Schreiber especially welcomed. You helped shape our life journey and we will never forget you.

Join our Facebook page (Port Washington Pink Flamingo Club) or write: [email protected]

Life. What a trip.

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