50th Reunion

by AquaNew on June 12, 2017

in Stories

By: Rob Gourley of AquaNew

I attended my 50th reunion at Proctor Academy, located in the foothills of New Hampshire, along with 21 other classmates this month. The record-breaking 50th reunion attendance for the school actually represented half the class (in the photo to the left, I am the guy in the center, standing and wearing a dark blue shirt).

Dana and I also met with iconic former professor, Bob Wilson, and his daughter, Patty in their home. Bob understood back then that I needed projects outside of the classroom. He entrusted me with clearing a ski trail with him, and sometimes we detonated dynamite to modify the boulder hillside. Bob showed us a photo of the naval vessel that was torpedoed during World War II.  While he and the other survivors were treading water, the Japanese pilots came back to shoot at them. Bob said that was actually good since the bullets killed the circling sharks! Bob’s arms were burned by the flames from the oil on the surface of the water, and he floated for over a day in the sea until a rescue ship arrived. Today, he is a young 90-something with the same good observant mind.

At age 17, Bob appointed me the youngest Chief of the fire station located on campus. One of my classmates complimented me on the training that later helped him during his Navy service. My former “dorm,” which was a converted large house, was located next to the fire station building and a stone’s throw to the building that still has the machine shop, welding shop and forge … also the place that I learned about the marvel of metals and machines.

I enjoyed seeing old friends and classmates. Most of us still had full heads of hair, which is hard to tell in the photo above while we sported our new Proctor Academy baseball hats!




First Photo Above: 50th Reunion of Proctor Academy, Andover, NH, June 1, 2017.

Second Photo: left to right – Bob Wilson, Bob’s daughter Patty and Rob Gourley

Third Photo: Rob Gourley at the former fire barn at Proctor Academy.

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