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Wanted: Purdys Central High Grads Through '67

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Attention: All ye who attended Purdys Central High School or Purdys Elementary School. Pier “Peter” Guidi, Class of 1962, has teamed up with Ed Juengst, ’60 and Purdy Outhouse, ’59, to organize an all-class reunion in September.

“When you’re in your sixties and seventies, memories become important,” said Guidi, now 69. “People visualize the past. Maybe they remember standing on the corner, smoking their first cigarette or maybe their favorite teacher. Mine was Miss Eichner in the eighth grade. She was just a fabulous person. She wrote the book, ‘When Our Town Was Young: Stories of North Salem's Yesterday.’”

Guidi, who has been living in New Jersey since the 1960s, recently came across an old yearbook and decided to construct a history of his old school. He set up a website and asked people to send him yearbooks, which he then photographed page by page.

“My goal is to publish all the yearbooks online. People can stare at each other and remember the past. If you peel away the layers of the onion, there’s a human side that’s captured in the yearbooks.

He has been in touch with the North Salem High School Library, the Ruth Keeler Library and the historical society, all of them happy to help in whatever way possible.

People also are sending old photographs.

“Someone sent me a letter and a picture of the first grade class in 1951,' Guidi said. "They were my classmates, but I wasn't living there yet.”

The Guidis came to Croton Falls from the tiny republic of San Marino when young Pier was 9. The transition was simple in that the entire country of San Marino equals the town of North Salem in size, although the population is denser. Pier spoke no English, so he was placed in second grade and moved up to his peers as his language improved.

On his website, Guidi mentions his dismay to find his alma mater had fallen into disuse in 1981. He has just happily learned of its conversion to the Westchester Exceptional Children’s School.

If you attended Purdys Elementary or Purdys Central High, check out the website and set aside the date of the reunion, Sept. 29-30.

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